Imagine this, you are scrolling through  Instagram and you come across a beautiful set of scented candles that will  perfectly fit your recently redecorated living room. You click on the  post, read the description and everything checks out but you then realise there are only 3 pieces left in stock and by now you are sure you it’s a must-have.

You quickly comment  “I can’t believe you have this in stock, is it possible to get one? If yes, how much?” So that you can quickly grab one of the last pieces before they are out of stock. 

Two days later, in the middle of the night, you get the response “DM for price.” [ahaha!! *insert laughing emoji]

For those who don’t know, DM in the digital retail space means Direct Message. When an online vendor asks you to DM them, they are simply asking you to move the conversation to a private message. We have definitely come across amidst social media galavanting. 

Most online  businesses (Facebook and Instagram ) that sell items such as clothes, shoes, household items and the like, have the tendency to ask you to “DM for price” when you enquire about their products. Instagram is most notorious for this and to make matters worse, it’s becoming common practice. 

Why “DM for price” works 

Before we look at how doing this is hurting your business, it is important to understand why most businesses do this. For starters, asking potential customers to DM you increases the number of comments on your post which intern helps ranking higher on the feed due to the Instagram algorithm[link to more information on algorithm]. Secondly, when this potential client DM’s you, it’s a way to know the really serious clients. It is also a way of creating a direct lead which can then be followed up at a personalised level . Lastly it is a good thing to do if your prices vary especially for services and custom made products. 

Why it doesn’t  

With this in mind, here are reasons why asking customers to “DM” you in order to get a price is doing more harm than good to your Instagram business; 

  1. Transparency – When you don’t indicate a price on your product, it instantly gives a shady vibe. Customers will subconsciously distrust a company that isn’t transparent. Here is something to think about, “ How different would your shopping experience be if you went to the supermarket and found items in the shelves with no prices? Food for thought.
  2. Buying Process Interruption – If you took a moment and imagined the buying process of the scented candles which began with, the moment DM for price comes into the equation, the buying process is interrupted and there is a high risk of losing your customer especially if it was an impulse purchase. 
  3. Time wasted – Assuming that you or your potential customer are not constantly online, moving the conversation to the DM will create a sloth like back and forth which in the end wastes both your time. 
  4. Instant Assumption –  When there is no price indicated, the customer consciously or subconsciously assumes one. Most often than not,  they assume that the product or service is expensive or outside their price range and continue scrolling. This can be leveraged in favour of a business that sells luxury goods or products.
  5. Irritating – This is self explanatory. 

What to do instead

Looking at the pros and cons, here are ways you can display your price and still reap big. 

  1. Don’t be insecure! Share your price and own it. If you are charging a certain amount for something that you know is worth it then don’t be afraid to say it. It helps build trust with your customers and shows that you are confident about the value of your product. Secret Tip: It also reduces the chances of bargaining. 
  2. Have a value cantered CTA (call to action). This means that instead of relying on price enquiries on price for comments, you get potential customers to comment around the value you are offering. A good example of a business that does this is Green Thing Kenya – @greenthing.kenya. An online eco-shop that promotes a sustainable lifestyle. You can check them out on Instagram to see what and how they do it. 
  3. Have a price list on standby. This works especially well for businesses that offer services or custom products. When customers ask for the price, redirect them to a price list which has a range.  What this will do is not only show transparency but also expose your customers to more products that you offer and increase the likelihood of higher sales. 
  4. Stop competing on price, instead compete for value. Price alone should not be your main method of competing. Keep in mind that you aren’t just selling a product or a service. People will buy into you. Don’t play the short game. Connect, engage and earn the trust of your customers for long-term success. The connections and experiences are what make clients come back.
  5. Don’t waste time- both the customers and yours. Put your price out there. If your customer is interested and can afford the product then they will reach out and enquire or buy it. You can build a connection from there.


In Kiswahili, there is a saying “ Chema chajiuza kibaya chajitembeza” which loosely translates to Good things sell themselves while bad things need to be advertised.


Although there might be some valid reasons for excluding prices from the products you post, you might actually be losing more money and business opportunities by doing so. Weigh the pros and cons. Be transparent with your customers, build trust, and make your online business ready for seamless sales.


I’m curious, what’s your “DM for price” story?

If you are an online business, what’s your take?

If you’ve experienced it, how did that go for you?

Comment down below. I’d love to hear!