Why ‘PM me for prices’ is bad for business

Online shopping has become second nature to a lot of Filipinos. Going digital has made it possible for a number of small or micro businesses to flourish. We see a lot of them using social media platforms — particularly Instagram and Facebook — to advertise their products.

However, it seems that some micro-business owners are not really taking advantage of all the opportunities to make their businesses grow.

Rawpixel.com (via Pexels), words added by Newsbytes.PH for illustration purposes only

Industrial engineer and University of the Philippines-Diliman lecturer John Tan — CEO of Vaquform Inc. — shares his No. 1 tip for small business owners:

“Strive to make payment and delivery friction-free. At this early stage in your business, there’s probably more interest in your homebaked, handcrafted, and homemade stuff than you realize. You’re just not converting them into sales because people are too lazy — to message you or to drag themselves out of the house to pay or meet up with you,” Tan said.

Tan went on to explain: “Momentary interest is never that compelling. It lasts for few seconds until they scroll to the next interesting thing on their newsfeed. Don’t squander the moment. There are many tools and services today that allow you to close right then. If you utilize them, you’ll be the one in a thousand micro businesses that don’t shrink back into anonymity.”

Tan then pointed out that a number of micro-business owners are still doing something that has annoyed many of their potential clients.

How many of us have come across a photo of a product posted on Instagram or Facebook accompanied by this caption: “PM me for prices.” PM of course stands for “private message.” Many of us who were drawn to the product would be put off by the fact that we can’t easily find out the price of the product.

Tan thinks that “PM me for prices” practice definitely does not make sense for micro-businesses. “Publish your prices. If, at this point, you’re already worried about a price war with some unseen competition, then you’re thinking too small to last. Save your time and quit now,” Tan advised.

Even if a number of people do send the sellers private messages to ask about the price, it’s likely that there are so many more potential customers who chose not to.

It’s not just Filipino clients who are irked by “PM me for prices” ads. The New Straits Times reported last year that Malaysia’s Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism Ministry were going after online sellers who “who fail to put up or deliberately omit the prices of their goods and services.” The report said that the ministry was wary of online sellers who deliberately didn’t publish the prices of their goods because they might take advantage of consumers.

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