Saatchi and Clare mix social networking and shopping

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The Independent Online

Lord Saatchi has joined forces with the former chief executive of Dixons John Clare and the web business expert Michael de Kare-Silver to set up MyFaveShop. com, a site that claims to unite the two main internet trends of the moment: shopping and social networking.

The site, to be launched in the summer, will allow shoppers to design their own store, choose the products that fill it, and then invite friends and family to shop there, while also posting reviews, comments and tips.

Brands and retailers, meanwhile, will pay a monthly rent for each shop whose virtual shelves they appear on, as well as commissions on subsequent sales.

Mr Clare said he hopes the site will revolutionise a "very functional" existing online shopping market. "For the first time, online shoppers will be able to create their own favourite shop with all their favourite shops in it. In the real world you can't do that. That's why it will be the ultimate shop – the future of online shopping."

The project's backers are targeting 500,000 unique visitors per month in the first year, rising to 5 million by the third. Lord Saatchi explained why he believes they are on to a winning formula. "What brands want most is repeat business from loyal customers. In the internet world, that means being added to someone's favourites. MyFaveShop will give advertisers the opportunity to be considered when someone is building their favourite shop."

According to a survey carried out by Foviance Research, 69 per cent of people spend more than 30 minutes a day on their favourite sites, where they are 65 per cent more likely to spend more money than anywhere else. On top of that, net shopping in the UK is booming, with sales rising 54 per cent in 2007 to £46.6bn.

As brand expert Jonathan Gabay pointed out yesterday: "Amazon has launched WebStore, which charges brands $60 [£30] a month and 7 per cent commission for selling on its site. For Saatchi and co to move clear of the pack, they'll have to give people the chance to order products custom-made to their own tastes."

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