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Tosin Abiodun: DM for Price



Social Media has drastically changed the way we buy and sell. It has removed previously challenging barriers to entry (such as high costs of renting shops/office space), created an ability to supply carefully curated merchandise and services to a ready market, and also made customer acquisition easier.

With the ratio of sellers to buyers in this type of market and the fact that customers are being teased left and right by equally fantastic alternatives, one wonders why business owners, especially on Instagram, still insist that customers “DM for price.”

I know I am not the only one that is irked by this. I see willing buyers complain every day and I also see sellers maintain their stand on not posting their prices.

As a business owner, I believe that the customer journey should be as easy and hurdle free as possible. The average Instagram sale transaction goes like this:

  1. See an item I like
  2. Send you a DM so you can reveal your price to me
  3. Wait for an average of 1 – 3 hours for you to respond to me with the grand revelation of the hidden price
  4. Send you another DM for account details if I decide to buy
  5. Wait for you to respond to No. 4
  6. DM you that I have paid
  7. Wait for you to acknowledge payment and finally close the sale in about 12 – 24 hours.

Of course, if by number 3, the price revealed isn’t quite my budget or to my liking, the seller has wasted my time, made me feel some type of way for not being able to afford the item and left a not-so-great impression on me. All of this could have been avoided if the price was included on the post in the first place.

This happened to me once. I saw an item I liked, DMed for the price. When I learned I couldn’t afford it, I said thank you and ended the conversation. 2 weeks later I saw another item I liked from the same vendor. I DMed for price again (didn’t learn my lesson). Guess who got ignored? Me. Guess who won’t be going back to the vendor? Yay! Me!

I understand that some business owners do it to increase engagement, apparently because they want to ‘engage properly’ and ‘negotiate’ in the DM. However, I think that there are businesses that can get away with this and those who should not be doing this.

If you are selling a bespoke service for instance, where your offering is customized to each customer, you may not be able to slap on a blanket price on your services. But, please, if you are selling goods such as hair or blouses, face cream or frying pans, pray tell, why are you setting up barriers like DM for price?

I also know some Instagram business owners do it because it gives them the opportunity to charge higher prices. They sort of gauge the buyer’s reaction during their engagement, then decide if they can get a few extra coins from the unsuspecting buyer. This is not a crime by the way.

You see, being upfront about your prices gives you more credibility because you are seen to be transparent. You have nothing to hide and you are not likely to swindle unsuspecting buyers. Furthermore, if I cannot afford the price posted, I don’t feel bad. After all, why will I contact you if what you are selling is above my purchasing power?

More than anything, it removes unnecessary barriers to closing your sale, and it creates an affinity for you as a business (no hard feelings when you say you are selling a teeshirt for ₦100,000, I can just like the post and go my merry way).

Being upfront with your prices, terms and conditions are underrated. As a business on Instagram, people should know that what they see is what they’ll get, especially because you may not have any physical presence. Your page is your storefront and an extension of your personality. And the aim should be to sell, not discourage prospective customers.

The beautiful thing about including your prices in your posts is that there is a clear demarcation between those who are your target market and those who are not. You save time because you don’t get time wasters in your DM who will not buy anyway. You get referrals, and best of all, you become known over time as a credible brand.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime


  1. mie

    November 23, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    That last paragraph should be sponsored and sent in BOLD to ALL Nigerian IG traders. Mschew

  2. molarah

    November 23, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Bless you for tackling this topic! For me, it is so ridiculous how many sellers engage in this practice. I hope there is some logic that makes it all add up for them, because from all indications they are shortchanging themselves and will soon see the difference. Price that I can get from your competitor, that’s what you are hoarding. Does that even make sense? I quickly unfollow such as I don’t enjoy any form of time wasting.

    • Blessedheart

      November 24, 2018 at 10:31 pm

      How about the ones that say No DMs Please? Aunty, why are you then on IG. Very annoying something

  3. Bumble bee

    November 23, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Bless your heart for this… these days what I do, I check your post and if there’s no price attached to the items you are selling, I don’t bother following you. One thing instagram Sellers have to know is there a million and one of you probably selling the same thing, especially those vendors that sell clothes, shoes, hair and makeup. I follow 4 Instagram Sellers thAt sell the same clothes( no joke) the exact same thing so what I do I compare prices and go for the one that’s cheaper. So hoarding your prices of putting your page on private( which by the way is very ridiculous) will only be doing you a great disservice

  4. Vickeybill

    November 23, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Very apt write up! It’s so annoying that you have to send a DM every time you find something you like because the price tag is missing from the post. That’s what drew me to @glambyace. All of her posts come with price tags. You immediately know if an item isn’t in your price range, and she replies your DMs asap.
    PS. I am not @glambyace. Didn’t even know her before I started patronising her.

  5. Mrs chidukane

    November 23, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    That’s how I believe though i may be worng, mizwanneka cornered the hair market. Now others have followed suit. Tell us the price. If we can afford it,we buy. If we can’t, we waka pass or we save to buy. Simple as that.

  6. ada

    November 24, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    some don’t even reply the price after a DM is sent. they probably get too many DMs and your message gets lost. By the time you reply like after 1 month i don’t even remember who they are anymore I’ve already found something else.
    i feel its a Rude way to treat customers.

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