Consumer IQ

Take Down Black Friday with These Smartphone Apps

Woman Using Barcode Reader Through Smart Phone

Black Friday “doorbusters” are a good way to get a deal, but why stop there? Just because a product is already marked down doesn’t mean you can’t also crack the 50%-off-barrier—especially if you have a smartphone.

Though some stores outlaw price matching on Black Friday, plenty still honor it and even more will let you combine coupons with their one-day deals. Here are some apps that will help you save even more this Black Friday:

Clip Coupons On-The-Go.

The SnipSnap app lets you create mobile optimized offers from print coupons you receive in the mail. Even better, you can search through thousands of coupons in the SnipSnap database to find the exact deal you’re looking for while you’re waiting in those crazy Black Friday lines at 2 in the morning.

Some stores don’t offer coupons that run on Black Friday, but plenty do issue valid coupons you can stack with in-store savings to get even better Black Friday deals.

Comparison Shop.

Some folks like to fire up apps like RedLaser to scan UPCs and comparison-shop (and order) from sites like Amazon — a practice some retailers hissingly refer to as “showrooming.”

But an even more effective, and instantly gratifying approach, is just to use these apps to find the best possible deal, and then ask stores like Target and WalMart to price match. They will!

Earn Incentives.

Successful Black Friday shopping isn’t just about the money you save; it’s also about the money you make. Download the latest version of Shopkick’s smartphone app and start earning “kickbucks” — get it, like kickbacks? — just for walking into stores and scanning items.

You can redeem your kicks for rewards like Starbucks cards and even Coach bags. Use Shopkick’s “Buy & Collect” program to earn lots of extra kicks at stores like Best Buy and Old Navy. (Spend $150 at Best Buy and earn 1,500 kicks, which is well over what you’ll need to redeem a $5 Starbucks card.)

Hire a Doorbuster Line Stand-In.

Waiting in line for hours — or overnight — can be a total bargain-hunting buzzkill. If you happen to have one store you’re planning to stock up in, here’s a better approach: hire someone to hold your place in line using the Zaarly or TaskRabbit apps.

Simply enter your task (i.e. your store and how far in advance of the store-opening you need them there), fix a price to it, and watch your minion do your bidding.

Double-Check It’s In Stock.

If you’re going to brave the cold and the lines to score a specific gadget, it’d better be on the shelf when you get there! Use the Milo app to query the inventory in advance. The prices probably won’t be the same as whatever Black Friday deal they’re running, but at least you’ll get real-time availability on over 3 million products.

{note: Many retailers offer up-to-date inventory numbers using their own apps as well. It’s possible that the accuracy of inventory-tracking apps isn’t great on a crazy day like Black Friday.}

The best way to have a successful Black Friday is to think holistically, like a savvy shopper. Don’t get caught up in the excitement and buy things you don’t need just because you found a good deal.

If you’re going to get up well before the crack of dawn, you want the extra effort to be worth it. Otherwise, just stay home and save an entirely different way — like turning those leftovers into a yummy turkey-and-stuffing sandwich.

For even more money-saving ideas, check out last year’s post on our top picks for Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping apps.

“Take Down Black Friday with These Smartphone Apps” was written by Ted Mann, CEO of SnipSnap.