MSRP: Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price

By Thomas Bennett Financial expert at Priceva
Published on May 30, 2022
In this article, you will find out the definition of Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. Also, you will find out how to use MSRP for optimizing your ecommerce business. You will see examples of using MSRP and get recommendations on setting MSRP with our software.

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price Definition

MSRP is short for Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price may also be referred to as the list price or recommended retail price (RRP).

Characteristics of the MSRP:

  • The MSRP can be up to 75% of the maximum retail price on the market.
  • The MSRP is often linked to the cost of tobacco and alcohol products, which is set by the regulator.
  • The MSRP requires mandatory control by the regulator or manufacturer who sets it.
  • The MSRP is more strictly monitored by suppliers, although sometimes the RRP and MSRP may overlap.

Suppliers use MSRP monitoring to identify retailers and manufacturers that manage to lower prices and base price below those approved by the manufacturer or regulator.

Purpose of the MSRP

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is set, adjusted and controlled by the manufacturer of the product owning the trademark. This price serves as a reference point even in the case of resale of goods by means of wholesale trade. The practical application of the MSRP implies consideration by each partner regardless of the terms of cooperation and sales volume. Realization of suggested retail prices allows the seller to make the recommended value either lower or higher - such adjustments are carried out by means of negotiations and taking into account the opinions of all participants of the sales market.

Applications of the MSRP

Determining the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) includes a certain standardization and regulation of the market value, taking into account the peculiarities of the trading region. The main advantages of the RRP-based pricing methodology include ease of application - there is no need to think long and hard about the final value in this case.

How the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price Works

Another name of the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) is the recommended retail price. It is a strategy for neutralizing the commodity’s price variations. It is widely used in ecommerce.

In order to determine the recommended retail price correctly, manufacturers carefully study the activities of their enterprises and business partners. The introduction of such a price implies that the manufacturer pursues a pricing policy that will ensure optimal product turnover rates and prompt revenue generation for all participants in the trading chain.

Failure by stores to comply with the suggested retail price can lead to:

  • A sharp decrease in profits - with a low markup, the store will not be able to cover expenses;
  • Ban on the use of a particular brand - when selling goods on the Internet, sanctions can extend to blocking the entire online store;
  • Blocked shipments - the manufacturer can refuse to ship the product and terminate the contract;
  • Increase in selling price - the manufacturer may increase the wholesale price or not provide any discounts.

Key Factors that Influence the MSRP

Market Share Stabilization

Considering the supplier, direct engagement with the entire market is really important. Most stakeholders have common interests. In order to strengthen and increase the market share, the ease of doing business must be shared evenly. This will help you to get profit for each stakeholder in the chain. During the realization of planned sales, the seller manages to conserve the ratio of profitability using the market share metric. This contributes to the optimization of the pricing structure.

Retail Value Chain

The retail value chain includes some cost implications. The value chain helps to identify the main steps of the product’s way to the customer. Logistic structure and incurred expenses may differ, depending on the product.

Every manufacturer has some permanent costs, for example, payment for raw materials, salary to the staff, and replacing worn-out equipment. All these factors influence retail products.

Customers' Bargaining Power

There is a range of matching factors allowing the buyers’ bargaining power to influence the selling process. These conditions have a huge impact on the price of the product.
For example, the ratio of customers and suppliers is a very important factor influencing the suggested price. If the number of suppliers is bigger than the number of buyers, say, the bargaining power of the buyers will increase a lot.

Product's Demand Status

Customer base demographics is a very important factor for the manufacturer. You must know the composition of the target group, their gender and social background in order to analyze the ratio of supply and demand.

In order to define the goods’ demand density, the manufacturer needs some data-driven insights.

To do this, some manufacturers analyze their annual sales. This is necessary to determine the most popular products and to fill possible market gaps.

Marketing Objectives

Marketing objectives not only define the framework for effective advertising but also set the stage for determining the suggested price, which acts as a beacon for value perception among consumers. This suggested price, often reflected in the sticker price displayed to customers, is a critical component of a product's market introduction strategy, serving as a direct reflection of the brand's positioning and marketing objectives. Furthermore, the recommended retail price, which closely aligns with the MSRP, plays a pivotal role in shaping consumer expectations and purchase decisions, directly influencing the product's competitiveness in the market.

In setting these prices, retailers consider the invoice price, which represents the cost of purchasing the product from manufacturers or distributors. This cost, plus the desired margin, informs the list price, a figure that must be carefully calibrated to cover marketing expenses while still appealing to target consumers. The balance between achieving a competitive edge and ensuring profitability is delicate, requiring strategic planning and market insight to optimize the list price in a way that meets both consumer expectations and business objectives.

Production Expenses

Production cost has an impact on the commodity’s final price. The manufacturer’s cost often includes salary to the staff, raw materials, and expenses for storing the goods. Also, the manufacturer has to pay taxes and pay for the shipping. These costs also influence the total revenue. All these impacts are reflected in the MSRP. One should differentiate production cost and expenses for manufacturing. Production costs and daily operations must be considered while setting the MSRP.

Market Competition

Market competition has a large-scale impact on the products’ quality, quantity, and also on the advertised price of commodities.

First, the manufacturer should analyze the consumers’ needs. Then. It is necessary to develop competitive pricing strategies.

Market research shows that lower-quality products have a lower price. A competitive pricing strategy helps the retailer to decrease the price a little.

Setting MSRP

In the eCommerce marketplace, the most effective way to control MSRP is through regular automated online price monitoring and access to information. For many years, Priceva has been helping manufacturers monitor prices in the online marketplace and preserve the value and reputation of their brands. The recommended retail price is a dynamic indicator that manufacturers need to revise from time to time, taking into account the economic situation, online advertisement and market conditions, and competitive analysis. MSRP can be adjusted both upwards and downwards according to audience insights.

In cases where the price increases, not all sellers are willing to change it immediately in the windows of their stores, fearing a decrease in demand and, consequently, sales figures.

Manufacturers and brand owners monitor retail price for their goods from customers. Monitoring can be done manually by company employees, or the manufacturer can turn to third-party services.

The trend toward even more rapid development of the e-commerce market encourages manufacturers to control the prices of online stores. And manual monitoring is no longer an option here. Automating suggested retail price monitoring has become a must-have for every large business.

Priceva provides manufacturers and suppliers with automated monitoring services in order to monitor the recommended retail price in online stores.

Customers receive the collected price monitoring data in the form of convenient Excel reports by email. In your user account on the platform, you can generate graphs, tables and charts with statistical data. Tasks that require a non-standard approach are solved with the help of special software for manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

Failure to comply with the recommended retail price, or MSRP, and advertised price, has irreversible consequences for retailers:
  • Significant drop in profit levels down to 0.
  • Refusal of the supplier to ship the goods.
  • Increase in suggested and advertised price to get a high rate. The manufacturer can raise the wholesale price or deprive the retailer of additional discounts and bonuses.
  • Banning the sale of a trademark. A trademark is an item of intellectual property and the copyright holder can easily restrict its use by sellers. If the demand to remove the trademark from an online resource is not met, the brand owner can go to court. As a rule, the courts side with the brand and, in such cases, decide to block the resource altogether.

The practical application of MSRP pricing has these features:
  • MSRP is not a legal norm and is only advisory in nature. The manufacturer cannot force the seller to change the retail prices of the goods, but can terminate the partnership with them.
  • Formation, adjustment and control of MSRP can only be carried out by the manufacturer during competitive pricing while setting a business goal.
  • The MSRP is a reference point even in wholesale trade.
  • Decisions on adjusting the recommended retail price upward or downward should be made while taking into account market trends and the interests of all its participants. Overpricing can lead to a drop in demand, and underpricing can lead to a market collapse.

Many retailers who have entered the market "seriously and permanently" try to set the RRP for the goods and even keep an eye on how the manufacturer's pricing policy is followed by competitors. In cases where the price falls below the MSRP, the manufacturer's representatives enter into negotiations with the reseller for adjustments. If the negotiation process fails, the manufacturer may impose stiff penalties on the seller who does not follow suggested prices.

The main goal of every manufacturer or brand owner is to develop their brand, maintain their reputation and enter new markets. It is in their interest to regularly monitor suggested prices.

But, many retailers are also interested in getting maximum profit from sales, and this is only possible if all market players adhere to the MSRP. That is why they ask suppliers to influence unfair competitors. In some cases, entrepreneurs themselves turn to companies that provide automated monitoring services in order to subsequently point suppliers to dumpers.


To sum up, MSRP has a huge impact on sales results, and it is very important to follow the MSRP recommendations. It is quite difficult to carry out manual data analysis, so special pricing software for retailers is very helpful when working with MSRP.


Why do we need a suggested retail price?

The suggested retail price is essential for developing an effective pricing strategy. It provides a guideline for retailers, ensuring that their pricing aligns with market expectations and maintains brand value. Failure to adhere to suggested pricing recommendations can result in lost profits and issues with dealerships.

Is the selling price the same as MSRP?

No, the selling price and the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) are not the same in ecommerce. The sale price set by retailers may be higher or lower than the MSRP, depending on various factors such as market demand, competitive pricing, and promotional activities.

Do you have to sell at MSRP?

Selling at MSRP is not mandatory, but it is a recommended business practice. Retailers have the discretion to adjust their selling prices, but diverging significantly from the MSRP can lead to pricing conflicts with other participants in the retail trade. It's important for retailers to balance their pricing strategies with market dynamics and the perceived value of the products.
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