Dell Outlet makes US$3m from Twitter sales

12 Jun 2009

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While Twitter itself has to find a business model, it has turned out that computer giant Dell has made US$3m so far from the micro-blogging service by posting offers and winning sales.

In what may finally be an indicator of the social networking phenomenon’s unique selling point – an avenue for firms to make ad-hoc sales perhaps – Dell’s chief blogger Lional Menchaca wrote that the company has earned more than US$2m directly via @DellOutlet on Twitter and overall potentially US$3m.

“We’ve surpassed US$2m in revenue in terms of Dell Outlet sales, but we’re also seeing that it’s driving interest in new product as well. We’re seeing people come from @DellOutlet on Twitter into the Dell.com/outlet site, and then ultimately decide to purchase a new system from elsewhere on Dell.com. If we factor those new system purchases that come from @DellOutlet, we’re actually eclipsed US$3m in overall sales.”

Menchaca said he started tweeting for the US Dell Outlet in June 2007 following a suggestion from a colleague. “The response had been very positive. But I knew we could do more. So I started tweeting more regularly and doing more Twitter-exclusive offers, which created more buzz and helped us to grow our follower base (we’re now over 600,000).

“Our followers responded by re-tweeting @DellOutlet messages to their followers, and our numbers rose even more.”

Menchaca said that the number of Twitterers following @DellOutlet has grown exponentially from 11,000 in January to 600,000 today.

“Deal-hunters are especially attracted to Dell’s Twitter presence. Dell Outlet sells refurbished Dell products at great prices, but inventories fluctuate, making it difficult to know when products are available or on sale.

“Dell Outlet uses Twitter as a way to message out coupons, clearance events and new arrival information to those looking for Dell technology at a discounted price. 

Menchaca pointed out that there are also deals to be found via other Dell Twitter properties such as @DellHomeOffers and @DellSmBizOffers.

“But Dell doesn’t limit its Twitter presence to the US. Shoppers in the UK and Ireland can find deals by following @DellOutletUK and @DellOutletIE, and bargain hunters in Australia and Mexico can check out @DellHomeSalesAU and @Ofertas_Dell_MX , to name a few.”

To help customers find the Twitter account most relevant to them, Dell has created Dell.com/Twitter to show a list of properties, complete with descriptions and links.

Menchaca said @DellOutlet is getting close to the top 50 most-followed Twitter users, according to TwitterCounter, sharing the stage with brands such as @Zappos, @Woot, @JetBlue and @WholeFoods.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: the Dell Outlet on Twitter

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com