Sales & Pricing Practices
Edited: January 16, 2018
Maple Landmark has some very specific policies and practices with respect to pricing and management of sales channels. They come from over 30 years of experience. We try to be as fair and consistent as possible but modern complexities can easily create some head-scratchers. For that reason, policies are subject to change or clarification.
- We are a small company with a broad product line that nevertheless serves a niche market. To succeed and grow we have to meet the market in multiple ways. We will protect no single channel over another.
- We started by selling direct retail and we continue to do so. We have a factory store, e-commerce site, and sell on other web marketplaces. We do respect our dealers and the cost of retailing so, other than discontinued and second products, we maintain our retail prices at a full mark-up above wholesale so as not to undercut our dealers. Our direct retail efforts help us to reach customers with product that may not be well served through typical wholesale channels (due to geography, product selection, and retailer inventory practices).
- We focus on the fact that we are an American manufacturer making high quality products in a sustainable fashion. However, the reality of the toy marketplace makes retail price the primary consideration. The other factors do create some price flexibility in consumer’s minds but it is not significant. Therefore, we cannot ignore import prices and how the differential limits our sales potential or that of our dealers.
- We price our products as tight as possible in the first place, we do not reserve margin to be negotiated.
- We have no interest whatsoever in producing our product anywhere other than here in Middlebury, Vermont—even if it limits our sales. We buy materials, supplies, and equipment with a focus on local resources as well. We have the natural advantage of living where our raw material grows.
- To be competitive, we work very hard to operate our company as frugally as possible. We do not compromise product, employee, or environmental safety and we strive to continuously improve the quality of our products. However, we also focus on efficiency and world-class manufacturing and management practices.
- Just as we look for the best efficiencies in our production, we also have to keep an eye to most efficient distribution practices. The cost of distribution is over half of the retail price. We do not work with domestic distributors or independent sales reps, there isn’t enough margin nor enough benefit to do so. We make doing business directly with us as convenient as possible. We seek the best ways to reach the final consumer, if we cannot reach them with a desirable product at an acceptable price and service level, we cannot survive.
- We do not have minimum advertised price (MAP) program. We do not believe in policies that cannot be readily managed or policed. We believe pricing should be up to the retailer, if they have a more efficient way to reach the market, we will not discourage it. We have observed that skirting MAP’s has also become a big game, increasing difficulty in having one.
We do have concerns about retailers who are sometimes reckless and try unsustainable things. It isn’t only low prices, we see that on prices that are too high as well—something we take offense to because it says the wrong things about the affordability of American-made products. Ultimately those who charge too little or too much are dealt with by natural market forces (insufficient margin or no sales).
We have over 2000 dealers who are successfully selling our product at the standard markup, usually with increasing year over year sales, without the "protection" of MAP.
- We do have one policy that trumps the need for a MAP program. We offer our product at the same wholesale price to all comers. Small retailers have a level playing field, to the extent we can control, with larger retailers. Do not put too much concern in the perceived logistical advantages of large retailers, they aren’t as great as you would think. The big boys advantage comes from their "buying power" also known as putting the squeeze on manufacturers. We don’t cut our thin margins so a retailer can expand theirs.
As a manufacturer of our size and structure, large orders do not necessarily lead to improved economies. Even our case lot sizes are scaled to be accessible to the smaller retailer. This is our way of appreciating customers of all sizes and is the main reason our products are not found in big box stores.
- We have no restrictions on dealers selling online, either on their own websites or on marketplaces, except on the Amazon platform. We reserve the right to utilize online marketplaces directly, though, in doing so, we hold true to our own retail pricing policies mentioned above.
Those dealers selling online sometimes frustrate us because listings can be inaccurate or outdated. We appreciate those who are attentive and cannot support those who are not. If you are interested in drop shipping our product, you may request specific information on that program.