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SmartEtailing to launch MAP protection service

Published January 26, 2015

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — With the number of MAP policies from industry suppliers rising steadily, SmartEtailing is creating a way for retailers to keep track of the various policies and pricing changes online. SmartEtailing plans to go live with a single repository where any brand that services the specialty channel can post a new MAP policy. The service is free for brands and retailers to use and access.

SmartEtailing will announce this new service at the IBD Summit this week in Phoenix. The service is set to go live later this week.

Any retailer, even those who don't currently work with SmartEtailing, will have access to the MAP service. Those who don't have a SmartEtailing website will need to register to receive a login and password. They will gain access to the site and see the current MAP policy for any brand that's published on the site. For SmartEtailing retailers, the site will be available for them to access on their administration settings.

"It's good that more and more brands are adopting MAP policies, but it's a real challenge for retailers to keep track of and stay in step with," said Mark Graff, co-founder of SmartEtailing, which hosts websites for more than 1,000 bike retailers, many of which sell online. "What we're doing with the MAP protection service is helping create a single source for publishing the policies and for automating the compliance for many of the retailers, and aiding in the enforcement."

Aside from the MAP policies, retailers will also be able to reference the latest price sheets from participating brands on the site. Graff said the site will not reveal wholesale pricing or discount schedules and emphasized that it's a trade site, not a public site — so access will be restricted.

Graff said 14 brands are participating in the new MAP protection service including 45NRTH, Bell, Blackburn, Buzzy's, Civia, Foundry, Giro, iSSi, Jagwire, MSW, Park Tool, Problem Solvers, Salsa and Surly. And he hopes many more sign on.

"This is something we will be building up and we invite any brand that is selling to the specialty bike retailer and has a unilateral or MAP policy to contact us and we'll give them the instructions on how to use the service," Graff said.

An app will alert retailers to updates in MAP policies and prices.

For retailers who use SmartEtailing's online catalog service, their online pricing will automatically adjust to comply with updates to pricing and policies. Retailers can override the pricing, but they will see a warning screen that lets them know the price is different from the latest minimum advertised price published by the brands.

"Our three brands — Giro, Bell and Blackburn — are fully committed to this," said Bernie Doering, senior global vice president for action sports at BRG Sports, the owner of those three brands. "It's an excellent idea and a big help to the brands because even though we provide many opportunities for dealers to access the policies and the pricing grids and we send them out multiple times a year, there are still many who cannot find them or claim they never got them."

Retailers who want to register for access to the site and are not currently working with SmartEtailing can email for information.

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