I was shopping online a few days ago for a nice fountain pen. When you want a fountain pen, you start with Mont Blanc. However, Mont Blanc publishes no prices online and they do not allow their retailers to do so either. The result? Many pages across the web featuring very nice Mont Blanc pens, each with a ‘contact for price’ button.
I bought a pen from Cross instead.
Price really wasn’t an issue here, it was convenience. I did not want to go through the hassle of having to interact with a human for what should have been a very simple, self-guided, impulse buy.
Controlling price information was a feasible strategy pre-Web. Keeping the numbers hush-hush prevents retailers from discounting competitions, protecting profit and the sales channel. This does not work when customers can easily price shop across the globe and expect to be able to make an informed purchase immediately.
I shudder to think of how many sales Mont Blanc forgoes with this dated tactic.