In last month’s issue of The Retailer, Gabriel O’Brien took a strong stance against MAP, calling the pricing policy a myth. As a store owner that has successfully expanded product offerings while hunting for big game-changing margins, I argue the virtues of MAP.

Qualifying The Winners

MAP is a great tool for discovering the manufacturers that want your business. They have the following options: Sell to the retailer, sell to the online “pajama warriors” or they can sell direct to the end user. If I see a manufacturers’ MAP is not enforced, I assume they have chosen one or both of the other groups. That’s fine with me, because I want vendors that offer fat margins.

It’s all about balance. There are some manufacturers who greedily hoard their margins, thinking that their marketing and legacy ought be enough incentive for your business. And yes, to remain relevant, retailers need to invest in a light offering of those products.

Why? Because you want to use the greedy mannies’ marketing to bring in customers. But that is where the relationship stops.

Part of the art of having a store is pitching profit-making product to your customers. You sell the margin-making gear against the greedy manufacturers’ gear. To close a deal, you need to take price off the table. That’s where MAP helps.

Value Over Price

MAP neutralizes price, leaving you to negotiate the value of your gear.

As a retailer, you are responsible for going out into the wild MI world and bringing home products with margin. Real, no-B.S., fat-on-the-bone margin. Your serious money gets invested in those margins. Read it again: your serious money gets invested with the vendors that make you the most money.

Map builds trust, as customers verify your store’s prices using their phones. If you partner with the good-guy manufacturers, then you will benefit from the phone check.

However, O’Brien and I do agree on one thing: MAPs are too low.

A solution would be for more of my fellow retailers to join the hunt for profit. Start gathering price lists from different vendors. Study. Find better profit margins. Talk to your reps, ask them if you are missing the ball on something they offer. Talk with merchants on the iMSO (Independent Music Store Owners). If more retailers shop for better margins, then the vendors will find a way to provide them.

I have some really great product suggestions. If you want to schedule a time to talk with me about my profitable purchasing, e-mail me at, and we’ll schedule a time to talk.

Anthony Mantova is the Owner of Mantova’s Two Street Music (Eureka CA).

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