Brands' premium positioning undermined by e-retailers who ignore naming and pricing guidelines

Brands' premium positioning undermined by e-retailers who ignore naming and pricing guidelines

Brands’ potential sales are impacted by third-party retailers who do not comply with brand guidelines on their product listings. Our previous article analysed how online partners fail to follow brands’ imagery and video guidelines (link). This article will examine how third-party retailers ignore pricing and naming guidelines, which undermines brands’ positioning and affects how consumers perceive the brand. 

Premium watch brands differentiate their products with sub-branding that is echoed across their marketing and own eCommerce sites. This is often reinforced by pricing that infers the brands’ premium positioning. However, this is undermined when third-party retailers ignore sub-branding and undercut brands' pricing guidelines. This highlights the need to ensure that online partners present products according to brands’ desired positioning by tracking listing compliance. 

Naming: third-party retailers ignore sub-branding, impacting how consumers perceive premium products

Brands spend time and effort naming their products to differentiate from competitors. However, third-party retailers often ignore this when listing items. This means that products are presented less compellingly, failing to align with wider brand messaging and product positioning. 
Naming example: DKNY’s high-end Chambers ladies watch is titled inconsistently across several e-retailers, none of whom mention that it is in the ‘Chambers’ collection
DKNY’s official site emphasises the 'Chambers' sub-branding, which comprises many of their most expensive watches. However, BeaverbrooksErnest Jones and H Samuel listings all title the product differently without mentioning the Chambers sub-branding, meaning that consumers are not exposed to DKNY's desired product positioning.
Naming example: Citizen emphasise “Limited Edition” when promoting the Red Arrows Navihawk watch, but third-party partners do not follow this guideline
Citizen advertise the Red Arrows Navihawk as limited edition, thereby emphasising the watch as a one-off, prestige item. Yet Ernest Jones and Goldsmiths fail to mention that the watch is ‘limited edition’ in the title.  
Pricing: Brands pricing guidelines undercut by third-party retailers, impacting brand positioning for premium products
It is important to identify retailers that consistently undercut brands' pricing strategies, as premium, quality products are associated with higher price points. Brands should track third-party retailers to ensure that products are positioned in line with the brands' desired luxury image.
Pricing example: Fossil’s Grant Chronograph watch is under-priced on several third-party retailers
The Fossil Grant Chronograph is priced at £115 on the brands’ own eCommerce site. However, Watch Shop and The Watch Hut, both official retailers of Fossil products, list the item at under £90 without highlighting that there is a discount. This means that Fossil's premium price point has been undercut, impacting the brand's image.     
Key insight: brands should ensure third-party retailers comply with naming and pricing guidelines
Brands’ e-retail partners often fail to follow branding and pricing guidelines, meaning that consumers are presented with products that do not match the brands’ desired positioning. Brands should consider tracking third-party retailers to ensure that listings comply with their guidelines so that products that adhere to brand expectations and positioning.
Our next Wave will look at how monitoring reviews and availability can identify key issues for brands and sites to target for specific, actionable improvements.
Can WaveMetrix’s ePresence solution help improve your product listings on third-party retailers? Contact Ed Bristow (


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