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Social at the heart of two new UK shopping sites

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Social shopping is at the heart of two new UK website launches. Shopow gives shoppers a forum to discuss products while users of can share, discuss and find the cheapest price for the items they really want.

Shopow launched last week as a social shopping search engine where shoppers can share their opinions with friends and colleagues on what they think of products on sale from Shopow’s 22,000 registered retailers. It aims to encourage independent opinions on high street products, and to allow online shoppers to follow both friends’ opinions and consumer trends. “As users browse online they can see genuine reviews of the proucts their friends love and loathe, getting recommendations as rapidly and honesetly as they would in person,” said co-founder and chief executive Kevin Flood. “Shopow revolutionizes the rapid sharing of recommendations on an individual level. Myspace and Facebook were the first names in social networking; Shopow is here to lead the way with social shopping.”

The site aims to make the Shopow ‘Shout!’ the gold standard bookmark for ecommerce and says it provides the social experience “previously missing in online shopping.” Retailers will also be able use the site’s s-commerce tools to integrate their website with Shopow, collecting reviews and social and retail analytics.

The site has been under development by Flood and co-founder Mike Harty, both BA Management graduates from Leeds University, who came up with the idea in 2009.

Meanwhile, price comparison site launched yesterday, courtesy of web development firm InterMesh Media. Shoppers can use the site to share the product they really want, discuss them and find the cheapest price for them. The site aims to make it easy for small retailers to take part in online price comparison and thus compete more effectively.

Marketing manager David Chapple said giving consumers the all-round best deal was an important aim of the site. He said: “When searching for products, ordering results by price isn’t always a good indication of the value-for-money the consumer would be getting, which is why we developed a system that allows people to order search results by the percentage savings. This allows consumers to get the most from their budget, possibly even spending less and getting a better product than they thought possible.”

Our view: This story is a timely reminder, if any were needed, that social shopping isn’t all about Facebook. These two new UK websites bring their own approaches to social shopping, and each has its own interesting angle on how marketplaces of the future will work – for Shopow it’s social search, while for ReallyWantThat it’s price comparison. It’s early days for both, and inevitably this is an area which will be transformed over time but these sites are both worth a look, in our view.

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