Rogue sellers can be a brand’s worst enemy. They undermine sales, damage brand reputation, and create MAP erosion. Unfortunately, they’re also devilishly hard to track down and eliminate. For direct sellers who rely on the goodwill and passion of their down line, rogue sellers can quickly turn joy into grief the first time a prospective customer says,
“Oh, I saw that on eBay for half that. Why should I pay full price?”
WHAT ARE ROGUE SELLERS?
The term “rogue seller” refers to any individual or company that is offering product under dishonest terms. Any rogue seller can cause brand damage by creating a negative experience for the consumer, but the most damage is done by sellers offering stolen, damaged, fake, or steeply discounted product (which may have been obtained via a clearance sale, out of a dumpster, or by some other unapproved means).
Sellers offering damaged and fake product impact brand reputation by delivering poor quality product under your good name. Shoppers may see discounted items and think they’re getting a deal, and then become dissatisfied when they receive the product. Bad reviews, loss of goodwill, and pricing erosion are among the collateral damage.
Sellers offering OM but steeply discounted product create price erosion and can significantly impact sales numbers as consumers select the lower priced option.
HOW TO GET ROGUE
SELLERS UNDER CONTROL
For all the damage they do, rogue sellers can be devilishly hard to track down and eliminate. Sometimes, managing them feels like a game of whack-a-mole—the minute you pop one, another crops up on another site or under a different user name. Sometimes, it’s the same sellers over and over, using new tricks to fly under the radar for as long as they can.
Over time, the chase can wear you down even as it wears your MAP away.
For some brands, the answer is to hire a channel boss to keep rogue sellers under control. This dedicated individual or team's job is to monitor, track, and eliminate rogue sellers as fast as they crop up. Just like an old-fashioned detective, a channel boss knows all the signs that rogue sellers leave in their wake, how to track them through the field (using ISPs and other technology markers), and how to end their damaging behavior once and for all when they find them (by holding them accountable to relevant laws, agreements, and policies).
If your company can justify the head count and you can find a great channel boss for hire internally, this can be a great option for some companies. Another option is to partner with SP Express's marketplace management team, ChannelCode, whose marketplace management services include a dedicated bounty hunting team.
Whatever approach you choose, there’s no doubt that as your brand grows, so will the number of rogue sellers trying to capitalize on the brand you’ve worked so hard to build. Don’t let them steal your reputation out from under you. Together we can hold them accountable, contact us today to find out how.