Dell bypasses Groupon Clones, launches “Dell Swarm”

With modest sales volumes purely from promoting their twitter-only discounts ($6.5 million circa Dec 2009), naturally the next step was for Dell to start promoting group-buying deals.

Dell Swarm

So Dell has jumped in to the Group Buying arena but they aren’t backing Groupon or one of their many clones, they’ve decided to go it alone with “Dell Swarm“. Lets face it, if anyone can pull this off, its Dell. It’s not surprising that they’ve chosen to promote daily-deal style group discounts, but it’s the positioning of this proposition that interests me the most.

Rather than setting up a flashy “BUY THIS DEAL” groupon-style mass mailout site, they’ve opted for a friendly, clean group-buy platform that uses its own terminology to differentiate with other group buying sites. At the time of reviewing their site, they were promoting 2 products, a 23″ monitor (26% off) and a CISCO Flip (56% off).

The most appealing factor of this setup was the inobtrusive nature of the website. If you don’t wish to commit to buy, you can simply ‘watch’ the product and be informed when the deal goes through, a similar concept to eBay which I think is a great way to give the consumer a non-spammy approach to showing interest in a group deal.

The site comes complete with sharing options to promote the viral nature of these deals, however the sharing options are not blatent, which is also quite appealing. I especially like the twitter feed of people tweeting the deal, to show the real-time activity of the deal.

Finally, I’m saving the most intriguing feature for last. Dell have installed the ability to ‘suggest’ products that you’d like to see a group deal for. Why not combine customer preference with choice of group buying deals, let the consumer decide what they would like to buy & be discounted on.

This ties in very nicely with the concept of CrowdSauce, a project that is nearing completion that I am actively working on. CrowdSauce allows the customer to put pressure on Businesses to give them a discount. I think we’ll see a shift from Mass-Email group-buying schemes to giving the power back to consumers to band together and get a great deal on the stuff that they like.

What do you think of Dell’s new venture? Is it risky to branch out and do this themselves or is it a smart, profitable venture that will keep the profits with Dell and (hopefully) allow them to pass on these costs to discounting their products?

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