With the advent of online shopping, if you think great, in-store Black Friday deals are a thing of the past, think again. According to a study by Accenture, 66% of respondents said they planned to chase down the shopping holiday’s one-day sales in 2014, up 11% over last year. And while hunting for great deals, 24% of them will be armed with smartphones to sniff out the best deals.
Don’t get outsmarted by these thrifty, tech-savvy shoppers. Before you hit the malls, make a plan and load your iPhone with these five great shopping apps:
Black Friday by SlickDeals
Ever wonder how to become as frugal as the misers on Extreme Couponing? Check out Slickdeals.net and find out. This forum, frequented by penny-wise shoppers worldwide, is a great place to find discounts on items on your shopping list. But in addition to its website and app, Slickdeals launches its Black Friday app once every year full of leaked newspaper circulars, all the deals at featured stores, and other great discounts that are voted on by its loyal users. The app is a huge time-saver, as you’re able to quickly discern between excellent bargains and overpriced items by relying on the experience and expertise of these fervent, year-long penny-pinchers.
It’s understandable if you overlooked this one in the App Store, because the name doesn’t evoke cutting-edge tech. But with loyalty card linking abilities and Passbook-integrated coupons, it’s one of the smartest ways to get instant discounts with a smartphone. With both online and in-store offers, grocery and retail deals, and GPS-enabled notifications, the app uses every smart tool at its disposal to save you money. And it’s linked to some very big, popular brands like Toys R Us, JCPenny, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, so you really can’t afford not to download it.
As most Black Friday survivors will admit, the key to a successful shopping experience is getting in and out as quickly as possible. Chameleon makes this possible by telling you the aisle and inventory status of items on your shopping list. It only works at participating businesses, but with big box partners like Best Buy, K-Mart and Target, they are the exact places where you’ll need help on Black Friday. Just open the app when you’re in the store and search for the items you need. The app also doubles as a price scanner and can collect reward points redeemable for gift cards. Of course, “Alex from Target” could also help you find your items, but good luck finding him amidst the Black Friday mobs.
Chameleon is available for free on the App Store.
I’m going to throw this out there at the beginning: ParkWhiz feels wrong. An app that allows users to reserve and pay for other people’s private parking spots, this sneaky little life-saver should be on every urban shopper’s phone come holiday road rage time. Like Uber, only for parking spots, ParkWhiz lets parking garage and individual spot owners rent out their spaces when they’re not being used, giving frantic shoppers a place to stow their vehicles. Once you’ve reserved and paid for your spot, a QR code is displayed on your phone’s screen, which you can scan to get access at the lot. It feels like you’re stealing someone’s spot. (only you’re actually paying.) But there is something even more wrong than that: driving around for hours and finding no parking spots at all.
See that Candy Crush machine in your kid’s hands? It’s actually a high-powered supercomputer that can mash the Internet to find you the best prices on everything in your shopping cart. (everything except for your child, that is.) RedLaser uses your smartphone’s camera to scan the barcode on an item and show you its price everywhere you can buy it, whether that’s online or next door. A shopping tactic called “showrooming,” retailers cringe when they see customers do this. But don’t feel guilty— web-savvy stores have price-matching policies that will gladly take your money in exchange for the product. In fact, maybe you should reward their business acumen by loading one of their loyalty cards into RedLaser — the app can also keep track of that information for you, too.