Black Friday and Cyber Monday are almost here. And no doubt, some of you have been formulating your plan of attack for weeks. But what if you haven’t been spending time collecting mall maps, discount codes, and leaked sale info? Do you still have a chance of making off with a deal, even if you procrastinated?
Yes, dear reader, you do — especially with that Android or iOS device in your hand. Over time, mobile commerce has become increasingly important to online retailers, which means snagging a bargain on some droolworthy gear could be a matter of just downloading the right apps.
Shopping by TheFind
TheFind.com is arguably one of the best search engines for shopping, and it offers iPhone and Android apps that let you find, file, sort and even see coupon codes while on the go. Users can check and track prices (from online and nearby brick-and-mortar stores), scan barcodes, access store maps, save shopping lists, see coupon codes for the retailer and view a “price watch” for items you select.
Google is one of the biggest shopping search engines around. (Little wonder there, considering most of us on it anyway, Googling news and reviews.) The app now offers a deal of the day, as well as geo-located local offers. This makes it easy to scan barcodes or book and DVD covers, do a voice search for products and pull up directions to stores.
Milo: Local Shopping
Some shoppers may love the action, running from store to store, but no one likes hitting a retailer and finding that the advertised items is sold out. With Milo, you can get real-time price and inventory information from the local outposts of some of the biggest retailers — places like JCPenney, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, Walgreens and Toys “R” Us.
Maybe that epic gadget is still priced out of reach, but you spot a similar item that LOOKS like it could be just as good… But dang — how can you know for sure? Enter Buzzillions Reviews. It dishes up a whopping load of customer reviews — as many as 17 million of them. The best part? Buzzllions actively looks for entries from retailers or other reps, so you can be reasonably sure that the reviews are genuine. It also offers search features that let users find specific products near them (as well as on Ebay auctions) with its integrated barcode scanner.
Frankly, I’m in this app all the time. Why? Because their Wish Lists and bookmarklets are awesome for corraling items within Amazon, as well as across the web, this makes it super handy for accessing those lists wherever I am. Add the fact that it has a built-in bar code scanner for an Amazon price comparison, and you’ve got one super handy mobile shopping tool. Speaking of which…
Bar code reader (general)
How often have you bought something, only to find that another retailer was selling it for less. D’oh! Don’t let it happen to you. There are many bar code scanning apps — Red Laser (pictured) and Save Benjis are probably among my favorites — that will come in super handy while you’re out and about. See an interesting product on the shelves? Just scan the bar code with your phone camera to pull up stuff like reviews, price comparisons and more. If one of your go-to shopping apps doesn’t have this on board, you’ll at least want to download a dedicated one.
Sometimes a great shopping app is the one that helps you rack up rewards AFTER you’ve hit the stores. Case in point: If you’re one of the “check-in addicted,” then you’ll appreciate Shopkick. iPhone and Android users will be able to rack up reward points or “kicks” by either checking in while they’re out shopping at places (like Best Buy, Target and others), or scanning barcodes of featured items. Rack up kicks and trade them in for gift cards and vouchers at select restaurants and retailers, like iTunes.
DealNews.com is one of the best resources for deals on tech, travel, clothes and more. And now the app lets shoppers get in on the action, with simple search, push notifications, “save for later” features, coupon code tracking and customizable deal alerts for particular keyword/product searches. This is a must, not just for the holiday season, but all year long.
Planning to use your mobile phone or tablet for shopping this Friday or Monday? What apps will you be relying on, if any? Let us know in the comments!
Be sure to check out all of our shopping tips for Black Friday 2011.