Dell – The Future of E-tailing is Social Commerce

Today, Dell outlined the future of it’s e-tail strategy – social commerce.  In an interview with New Media Age (subscription wall, but archived below) Manish Mehta, global VP of online at Dell, said Dell planned to roll out social shopping tools on its site in 2011, allowing people to shop together in real time on Dell’s e-commerce site.

Dell’s desire to recreate the social dimension of traditional shopping online is consistent with a patent granted last month (Feb 2010) to Apple for an immersive online social shopping tool (images below).

Over the last 18 months Dell has been experimenting with social commerce – selling on Twitter with its oft’ cited $6.5m+ Deal Feeds, and with its Group Buy feature Dell Swarm (video below).  Dell affirms that the results from these social commerce experiments have allowed the company to build a compelling business case for social commerce investment.

“Our measurements and results have validated that it’s a space we believe in and isn’t a fad. In parts of the business, budgets are siphoned off and dollars protected for projects that are tied to social media activity.”

One challenge that remains to be met, according to Dell, is how to apply the learnings to create an integrated and coherent socially-enhanced digital experience – shopping, community and service.

Overall, Dell appears to be conscientiously applying the LEAD strategy for social commerce; Listen (Dell Idea Storm, Direct 2 Dell), Experiment (Dell Swarm, Dell Deal Feeds) – and is now gearing up to Apply it’s learning, and given the stated importance of social commerce, will no doubt continue to Develop its social commerce strategy.

  • Listen: Begin with a simple social media monitoring solution that monitors conversations and competitors – how are competitors using social commerce?
  • Experiment – Start with small scale experiments using the toolset to identify what works for you.  Test and learn to explore ROI potential
  • Apply – Apply learning and build on tools that work for you, integrating social commerce into your overall digital strategy
  • Develop – Constantly evolve and adapt to beat user expectations – deliver “joy of use” with new insights and technology
How could you use the LEAD strategy to deploy an evidence-based social commerce strategy?



Archived New Media Age article…

Dell bets on social commerce as next boom area for etail

Wed, 24 Mar 2010 | By Charlotte McEleny

Retrieved from

Dell is looking to social commerce as the next growth area for its multi-million dollar etail strategy.

The computing giant − a pioneer in online selling having generated $6.5m (£4.31m) in sales through its Twitter profile alone since it launched in 2007 – said its next focus would be creating social online shopping tools as it looks to marry up ecommerce with social media.

Manish Mehta, global VP of online at Dell, told new media age the company wants to take the social aspects of high street shopping and recreate them online by letting people interact and have discussions with each other in real time when buying products from Dell’s website.

“It won’t be something we’ll use to launch a product this year but we are laying the foundations as it’ll be a big frontier. In a year’s time we’ll be aggressive in this space,” he said.

In December, Dell said it was already generating significant sales from social media and had seen sales of $6.5m via its Dell Outlet Twitter feed since it launched in 2007.

Mehta said the measurable returns from social media have enabled the company to justify its increased investment in the space.

“Our measurements and results have validated that it’s a space we believe in and isn’t a fad,” he added. “In parts of the business, budgets are siphoned off and dollars protected for projects that are tied to social media activity.”

Mehta admitted Dell’s online activity was currently fragmented and that a challenge was to integrate its social media and community activity.

Dell wants to connect activity on, its community sites such as Dell IdeaStorm and its profiles on social media sites.

Written by
Paul Marsden

Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

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Written by Paul Marsden