Staying on top of critical brand monitoring not only helps to improve an e-commerce company’s reputation but also provides concrete business benefits. Monitoring the company brand used to be the exclusive province of large companies, but monitoring tools have become increasingly common and affordable for any successful e-commerce company regardless of size. Three key areas are of utmost importance: monitoring minimum advertised price compliance, social media chatter and review websites of both companies and their products and services.
The concrete benefits of monitoring online prices, reviews and chatter include:
- Finding strong evidence of what customers really think about a company and its products
- Discovering the mindset of customers
- Detecting online complaints and negative reviews and trying to mitigate the damages
- Rewarding loyal customers and thanking them for positive mentions
- Finding out how well keywords are working
- Checking out opinions and reviews of company competitors
- Building a stronger brand through multiple sources of data
- Managing the company’s reputation when it takes a hit
- Elevating the brand with key social influencers and industry thought leaders
- Getting better intelligence on industry trends
- Finding ideas for marketing content
Minimum advertised price is the price that e-commerce manufacturers and suppliers set as the minimum price at which business associates, drop shippers and resellers can advertise the company’s products. Most manufacturers work closely with retailers, and B2B companies work even closer with buyers. Setting a minimum advertised price caters to business associates that follow the rules. If unauthorized or unresponsive customers sell a company’s products below MAP requirements, other companies become upset because of the unfair advantage. Additionally, the undercut prices can devalue the product and the product line across all sales channels.
MAP levels the playing field for resellers, dropshippers and other business associates. How companies set the minimum price should leave associates with a comfortable profit margin, so companies need to check if that’s true if there are multiple MAP violations. Monitoring is critical to success, and it needs to be in place before associates start selling the company’s products. Enforcement is also essential.  Ultimately, manufacturers stand to lose profit over the long-term outlook if they don’t respond to MAP violations. The best strategy for enforcing MAP guidelines includes:
- Emphasizing MAP Guidelines
It’s important to stress MAP policy and explain that the minimum prices will be enforced. Send initial warnings to any violators and a final notice to repeat offenders.
- Automated MAP Monitoring Software
Automated MAP monitoring software can sift through the tremendous amount of data involved with monitoring multiple business associates and e-commerce sales channels. Many types of software now use machine learning to detect more violations based on experience.
- Custom Monitoring Apps
Apps can monitor prices across multiple sales channels including marketplace platforms like Amazon and eBay. Automation is increasingly critical for monitoring prices, reviews and social media mentions, and custom apps can handle automated monitoring with the lowest cost of any monitoring tool except manual detection.
- Manual Monitoring
Manual monitoring might be possible for limited sales of specialized products, but the job is usually too overwhelming in the typical e-commerce marketing atmosphere.
- Monitoring Services
There are companies that will monitor MAP and other areas of e-commerce as consultants. Unfortunately, these seldom integrate fully into company software to enable automation unless the company provides a monitoring dashboard. This solution can be pricey, but it might be the best option for some companies.
Resellers and associates aren’t limited to competing on price. They can compete on many other factors such as customer service, product descriptions, supporting content, clever videos, product demonstrations and how-to guides. 
Social Media Monitoring
Monitoring social media can generate a wealth of marketing insights into a company’s existing customers and prospects for the company’s products and services. Social media provide access to some of the best brand advocates available – loyal customers and brand advocates who praise the company and/or its products. Social media can supply user-generated content that companies can use in marketing initiatives.
About 80 percent of the time that people spend on social media is spent on a mobile phone. Videos are especially easy to use, so companies can get better results by using videos in their marketing. Videos already make up more than 80 percent of social traffic.  Any monitoring tools used on social media must be capable of monitoring videos to be successful. Most MAP monitoring tools have versions that will work for social media and review site monitoring.
Social media monitoring provides the following e-commerce benefits:
- generating a pipeline of sales leads
- Discovering opportunities to respond to customer complaints and win high marks from platform members
- Keeping track of trademark and content use
- Detecting inaccurate or misleading advertising
- Identifying important trends
- Finding MAP violations
- Curating information about websites that comment on the company brand
- Engaging with a broader range of potential customers
- Finding people with large followings to target for endorsements
- Receiving and sending feedback
About 63 percent of members of Facebook and Twitter log into these platforms to get their news.  LinkedIn has an even stronger effect on business issues, hiring and building a network of contacts.
Review Site Monitoring
Review site monitoring provides strong insights about customer opinions about a company and its products competitors. Automated apps and monitoring software can trigger alerts, feed into a custom dashboard and be manipulated into custom reports based on various reporting criteria. Mobile apps rank as the easiest way to monitor review sites and streamline the monitoring process. Apps can be set to monitor from 1 to 20,000 locations including Google, social media platforms, review sites and industry websites.
Some of the best tools to monitor online reputations, MAP violations and social media and review sites include free tools, freemium tools and paid technology.  These include:
- Google Alerts
Google offers several free tools for marketing, SEO and reputation management. Google Alerts ranks as one of the easiest and most useful tools for online monitoring. Just enter the company name to get alerts for each mention of the company.
- Social Mention
Social Mention is a great tool for monitoring social sites. The website offers information about the strength, sentiments, passion and reach of social mentions of a company and its products.
This resource provides real-time and historical information about the company brand, and it’s an excellent way to start brand monitoring. Companies can find out what people have said about the brand currently and in the past.
- Review Push
This is a form of management software that can be customized to monitor multiple social media and review sites.
Manual Monitoring Won’t Do the Job
Manual monitoring works in a limited way, but it won’t catch even a small part of every online mention. Minimum advertised price monitoring is even more complex to do manually, and many significant violations can slip through the cracks, devalue company products and cost a fortune in lost revenue. That’s why custom monitoring tools and apps are the best bet for brand monitoring.
MarketMole provides an up-to-the-minute holistic view of what’s happening in your market, including product pricing, product reviews and trending topics. Our market intelligence tools can be applied to any pages on the web, sending you notifications about stock levels, pricing and competitor pricing, negative reviews, MAP violations detection and more.
Contact us to learn how we can help you save time and make more money.
Learn more about MarketMole and our services.
References: Intelligencenode.com: Minimum Advertised Price: A Win-Win for Retailers & Manufacturers
https://www.intelligencenode.com/blog/minimum-advertised-price-win-win-retailers-manufacturers/  Econsultancy.com: What are minimum advertised price policies?
https://econsultancy.com/what-are-minimum-advertised-price-policies/  Netbase.com: 59 Social Media Stats Every Marketer MUST Know
https://www.netbase.com/blog/59-social-media-stats-every-marketer-must-know/  Searchenginejournal.com: 10 of the Best Tools to Monitor Your Online Reputation