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Dell Swarm: social network buying groups

Dell Swarm: social network buying groups

Tim Finin, 8:28am 27 May 2009

Dell is exploiting social networks in a new marketing scheme being tried out in Singapore. If you agree to buy a laptop on Dell Swarm, the discounted price drops as others join your “swarm” and also buy. Here’s how Dell describes it:

  • Start by picking the laptop you would like to purchase. Be the first buyer to join a Swarm and you’ll enjoy a price lower than Dell.com’s best discounted price (after cash rebates).
  • Join a Swarm after, and you’ll enjoy a new, lower price – as will all previous buyers. To see the range of prices, simply slide the Swarm price bar downwards.
  • Once the swarms closes – which is when the limit of 15 buyers or 72 hours is reached, whichever is the earlier, the price is then finalised. This final, lowest price now becomes everyone’s purchase price – including yours!
  • To get the maximum discount, grow the Swarm by Sharing with your friends. You can share via Twitter Or post a note on your Facebook® profile and tell all of your friends Point others towards your Swarm using Digg, del.icio.us and other tools. Or simply send your friends an email directly!
  • Not ready to buy yet? You can also choose to Follow the Swarm. You’ll then receive updates via email. As well as through free SMS alerts.

We’ve seen this idea on the Web before (e.g., see Group Buying), but it is usually framed as a tool by and for consumers rather than a marketing strategy employed by vendors. This could be a big win for Dell. If it is, others will follow. The penetration of online social networking systems is much greater now and finding ways to exploit them for marketing is irresistible.


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