Flash Sales Site’s Best Social Channel is Demi Moore

It turns out the most effective way to sell something on Twitter is through celebrity endorsement.

At least that’s what Fab.com has discovered after analyzing the performance of the company’s social channels in July. Three of the company’s top-performing sales that month had a common theme: Demi Moore tweeted about them.

Think of it as the next generation of the late-night infomercial — but instead of George Foreman selling grills, Demi Moore is selling accent pillows, aprons and wall decorations.

In one tweet, @mrskutcher writes to her nearly four million followers: “Another cool wall decoration. Love it! Surface Collective Limited quantity.” In another vague tweet, she writes: “Bought a bunch of these & earned credit! These are fun!”

The flash sales site launched in June, selling a wide range of items, from household objects to jewelry and gadgets. The New York start-up raised $8 million in a first round of capital, including from actor Ashton Kutcher, who is married to Moore.

In order to analyze the usefulness of email, Twitter and Facebook as revenue sources, Fab.com broke down its revenues resulting from social shares to find patterns among repeat buyers and the most popular categories, according to this blog post.

The results should be taken with a grain of salt, given that the company has been in business for only a couple of months (not to mention it is being propped up by Moore, the wife of one of its investors!). But it does provide a peek into how e-commerce companies are using social channels to drive more sales and sign up new members early on.

Some other findings:

  • Fab.com added more than 130,000 members in July, bringing its total to more than 400,000 at the end of the month. Most members were added via old-fashioned email, but also by Twitter and Facebook shares and “likes.”
  • Member-to-member email invitations resulted in four times the revenue of any of the other social sharing sources.
  • Facebook and Twitter essentially tied as social revenue sources. While both paled in comparison to email invites, they both drove significant six-figure revenue for the company during the month.
  • Some 40 percent of all Fab.com members who made at least one purchase in July ended up making two more purchases in the month. And the 33 percent who made two purchases ended up making three.
  • Art was by far the top-grossing sales category, followed by jewelry, wearables, Bbags and fitness (primarily bikes).

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work