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Report Reveals Scope of Pricing Violations, Unauthorized Sellers

Arthur Zaczkiewicz

ORIS Intelligence has released findings of a report that show a rampant number of product pricing violations as well as unauthorized sellers. And while the housewares industry has the highest number of unauthorized sellers, the fashion apparel industry has the most pricing inconsistencies.

The report was released as online sales showed double-digit gains this past holiday shopping season, the company noted. “With the continued increase in online shopping comes an increase in pricing violations and violators,” researchers at the firm said in a statement, adding that the latest data shows that for the average brand, “75 percent of their total sellers are unauthorized, with the housewares industry at the highest rate of unauthorized sellers at 85 percent.”

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Authors of the report said, in addition to the unauthorized product selling violators, pricing inconsistency is also an issue “as the average violation rate sits at 14 percent, with the apparel industry showing the biggest discrepancy with 20 percent” of products violating uniform pricing standards.

Pamela Springer, chief executive officer of ORIS Intelligence, said with the growth and proliferation of online marketplaces, “third-party sellers and e-commerce activity comes more opportunity for pricing inconsistencies and violations.”

Subsequently, the data reveals the importance of mitigating pricing issues, which gave Springer an opening to tout her firm’s solution.

“A Minimum Advertised Pricing policy is only as good as the enforcement behind it, so ORIS is continuing to focus on ensuring brands get control of their online presence by helping them understand and catch issues before they escalate,” Springer said. “Our data and tools assist in making it easier to enforce policies and reinforces the complexity and extensiveness of this issue, which is why we are delivering near real-time insights across all channels.”

By way of a case study, Robert Kahn, president of Reliable Corp., which produces and sells garment care, sewing and steam cleaning products, said his company recognized that “we needed help to get control of and more insight into our online presence and pricing.”

“With the advanced tools and analytics in the ORIS platform, we’re able to address non-compliance issues quickly and efficiently,” he said. “Our brand and our authorized partners who’ve invested in our brand are the beneficiaries of this technology.”

Springer and her team also offered retailers and brands some tips to help address pricing issues. This includes making the most of MAPs. “More companies are realizing the impact a properly executed MAP policy has on not only brand integrity but revenue,” the company stated. “In addition, trusted retailers will start ensuring the brands they work with are committed to their MAP policy, and we expect to see retailers that exclusively work with brands that enforce MAP. So it pays for brands to take MAP seriously in the new year.”

The solution provider also said that as more manufacturers enforce MAP, “sellers will continue to be creative in trying to find ways around MAP by playing games.” The company said its data shows that 12 percent of violations “only occur during non-business hours, when retailers think manufacturers are not watching.”

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