Can DM or Inbox For Price, Hurt or Help Your Business?


We have noticed a trend on social media, whereby when others ask about the cost of items posted, that other business owners respond by way of “DM for price” or “I inboxed you the price”. Now don’t get it us wrong, we completely understand if your items are customizable and require a private conversation to work out the details. However, more and more small businesses are advertising their products as is, but prefer to remain mum about how much they actually costs.

We tried to wrap our heads around this method of doing business and simply couldn’t. We even debated before our launch whether or not to disclose our prices in our own social media posts and decided it wouldn’t hurt. Plus, all the prices were already on the website anyway so why bother to keep it a secret. Then the day arrived when we took that bold step on several of our posts and mentioned our prices and guess what, we survived. We have never to date, turned away any customer by responding DM or Inbox for Price.

Are we losing customers by revealing the cost of our items? Well, one could argue that we may not get a sale or we didn’t work hard at getting the person to purchase the item by messaging them privately. However, we may never really know the answer to that question. Our belief is once the person just wants to know the price, then tell them. If they are really interested they will contact us for further details. Yes, we agree it is a risk but we value our customers’ time and ours.

Last December, we followed the “rule” and messaged two vendors for prices and never got a reply. We did as they asked and received nothing but read message indicators and no response. Asking our potential customers to DM or Inbox for a price, requires them to take another step which they may not be interested in taking. This extra long process may also cause the customer to lose interest in our product. So why risk it?

Case in point. We discovered this amazing boutique, oh my gosh, we could live in this place and tap into our creative side. So we were going through the store, enjoying the vibe, colours and ambiance. Then we came across this item which caught our eye but it didn’t have a price tag on it. Not thinking anything of it we walked up to the Assistant and requested the price. Much to our demise she had to message the Owner a picture of the item in order to respond to us. We were disappointed when we came across two more items sans prices. Sadly, she did the same thing and messaged the Owner. By this time we were frustrated and tired of this type of “Customer Service” and ended up leaving without purchasing anything or getting the prices.

Now imagine our potential customers going through this exact experience. As customers, we like to know the price of items in order to ensure we are being charged fairly. What if you tell us one price for the item and then someone else is charged another price. We need to trust you are confident about your final cost for an item and are not misleading us. Some small business owners may argue that they need to remain competitive by keeping their prices a secret. However, as customers we bank on transparency in order to build trust.

We read a post sometime ago where there were over twenty “Price please” messages and for each one the vendor responded “DM for price”. Much to the annoyance of several persons who commented, they began to turn what could have been a good post into an unpleasant one with harsh responses and opinions. One person even commented if it was reasonable to respond “DM for price” to all the messages rather than simply posting the price, thereby preventing persons from repeatedly asking the dreaded question. Based on the number of requests for the price, it demonstrated that customers were genuinely interested in getting the product. Therefore, small business owners should keep in mind that potential customers may look elsewhere for your item if they are unable to receive a response to their questions.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Own your prices. If you charge $1 million for your product then so be it. You can then convince customers why they should spend that amount and the value they will gain from your product or service. Business owners may argue that by putting their prices out there persons may become critical. This maybe a valid point, however, not revealing your prices can make persons suspicious.

  • Create a price list for your standard items or services and make it readily available to potential customers. The price of an item should not be a secret, your method or technique behind it could be.

  • Be transparent. Once customers trust you they will purchase from you and refer your services.

  • Own your brand. You got into business because you believe you have something the general public will need and would make life easier. So don’t hurt your brand by withholding your price. Sell it the best and most efficient way you can.

Let’s redesign our competitive advantage by changing the focus from pricing to unique ways and methods of building our brand. The feedback and suggestions from our existing and potential customers are important and necessary in maintaining our sustainability in our respective markets.