Business

MAP: What is it? Why Does it Exist?

Minimum Advertised Price is the lowest price a retailer can advertise the product for sale, online or anywhere in print. These policies level the playing field for all retailers, and eliminate the “race to the bottom” that would occur if retailers endlessly competed to reduce prices.

Author: Cassie Scott

MAP – minimum advertised pricing – policies help retailers stay in tune with the market and margin expectations. In other words, if you understand and follow a manufacturer’s MAP policy, you’ll be better positioned to make more money and run a successful business. The Archery Trade Association is here to help. Let’s dive in.


Manufacturers create Minmum Advertised Price policies all retailers must follow. These policies help manufacturers protect their integrity, maintain their worth and stabilize their brand. Photo credit: Shane Indrebo

What is MAP?

MAP is the lowest price a retailer can advertise the product for sale, online or anywhere in print. Manufacturers create MAP policies all retailers must follow.

Why Set MAP Policies?

According to an article on the Small Business Administration website, one reason for MAP policies is to help small businesses compete and sell on service and value, rather than engaging in price wars with other retailers. The SBA article also states MAP policies protect manufacturers who sell products for online resale.

In effect, MAP policies level the playing field for all retailers, and eliminate the “race to the bottom” that would occur if retailers endlessly competed to reduce prices. The policies also help manufacturers protect their integrity, maintain their worth and stabilize their brand.


Unfortunately, many online retailers dodge MAP policies by selling products in customers’ shopping carts for less than the MAP. That’s because digital shopping carts typically aren’t subject to MAP because they aren’t advertising space. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

So, What’s the Issue?

MAP is not the lowest price retailers can sell a product for. It’s the lowest price they can advertise for that product. Unfortunately, many online retailers dodge MAP policies by selling products in customers’ shopping carts for less than the MAP. That’s because digital shopping carts typically aren’t subject to MAP because they’re technically not advertising space unless specified in the manufacturer’s MAP policy.

In addition, some internet retailers simply ignore MAP policies because they have little or no overhead and don’t stock inventory. In fact, many of them aren’t in business for the long run. They hang around just long enough to devastate product margins and brand integrity by ignoring MAP. Retailers with only an online portal also can’t help customers set up and use archery equipment safely and successfully. Unless their customers find service and support on their own, they typically lose interest in archery and disappear.

Meanwhile, small-business owners with brick-and-mortar shops lose business because they can’t compete with online markets where consumers can easily compare prices with their smartphone or desktop computer. Eventually, the archery industry itself suffers, which has widespread impacts, built as it is on a foundation of manufacturers and retailers supporting hunting, conservation and recreational shooting. Read more about MAP issues and how they affect our industry here.

Can ATA Fight these Issues?

The Archery Trade Association’s Board of Directors and its Retail Council members are discussing how to solve those problems and ensure the longevity of brick-and-mortar retailers, who form the industry’s core. ATA members regularly weigh in on MAP, and the conversation continues. While the ATA works with manufacturers to establish and enforce good MAP policies, you can get involved in several ways.


The Archery Trade Association’s Board of Directors and its Retail Council members are discussing how to solve problems pertaining to MAP violations and ensure the longevity of brick-and-mortar retailers. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

What Can You Do?

  1. Start by following good MAP policies, which means those enforced by manufacturers. When you’re part of the solution, you’ll make more money. MAP policies ensure retailers make enough of a profit margin to justify selling the product.

If you’re still not competing effectively, consider alternative ways to discount without breaking MAP agreements. Offer coupon codes, package deals or services to add value – and great deals –  to your customers.

“If you follow MAP and work within that price structure, you can change from being known as the cheapest dealer to the best bargain dealer,” said David Wilkins, co-owner of Wyvern Creations and an ATA Retail Council member. “You can increase the value of your deal – and keep MAP pricing – by offering range time, free bow tune-ups or other services with a product. That puts you in a better position financially than cutting the cost of a product and disobeying MAP policies, which can have big consequences.”

2. If a manufacturer doesn’t have a policy, or doesn’t enforce its policy, call the company and express your concerns. Encourage them to work with the ATA to develop a MAP policy or improve their current policy.

Ryan Shutts, Cabela’s merchandising director and an ATA Retail Council member, thinks manufacturers should create MAP policies, and retailers should honor them.

“MAP policies can vary a lot by brand, and understanding the details of each policy is important,” Shutts said. “MAP helps retailers and manufacturers align marketing and pricing at all times, and helps ensure the integrity of the product and brand. Our industry is driven by innovation. MAP policies help ensure innovation, which is important to us all.”

Shutts said every business in the industry must work together as a group to be productive and profitable, which includes strong MAP policies and procedures.

Wilkins agrees and said effective MAP policies help prevent archery’s retail base from collapsing. After all, MAP policies give all retailers equal opportunities to sell products, whether they’re working online, in a big-city box store or in a rural one-person shop.

Kurt Smith, ATA’s senior manager of retail programs, encourages retailers to request MAP policies from manufacturers, and open the lines of communication. Then, adhere to those policies and improve the archery and bowhunting industry’s long-term success.

Contact the ATA business office at (866) 266-2776 to ask questions, learn more or voice concerns.

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