Braving Black Friday: Top Apps for Saving, Searching and Survival at Retail This Thanksgiving Weekend

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Planning to get some shopping done this Thanksgiving weekend – or are you even planning to brave the crowds on Thanksgiving evening? You’re not alone.

Deloitte’s Thanksgiving survey found that more than 60% of respondents were planning to shop in stores or online this holiday weekend. And shoppers are cramming before hitting the stores: Deloitte found that 70% of respondents were looking for Black Friday info via online channels, and more than half of those surveyed would spend up to two hours researching deals.

Luckily, this year there’s no shortage of mobile apps that will help shoppers plan ahead and return triumphant from their Thanksgiving weekend shopping excursion. We’ve compiled a list some of the most recommended apps for smart shopping on Black Friday and beyond.

Retailer Apps

To the shopper’s benefit, many retailers and mall operators have embraced mobile as part of the new digital in-store/online shopping landscape. With retailers as varied as Home Depot, Target and Saks Fifth Avenue having installed in-store Wi-Fi, customers can now augment their shopping experience with their favorite mobile apps, including retailer’s own native apps.

Some of this year’s most talked about include:

  • Walmart: The mega-retailer’s app offers features like the “Smart Shopping List” to keep shoppers on budget, way-finding technology to help shoppers find that Black Friday must-have item, and an “in-store” mode to help shoppers find items via Walmart’s online store if they’re out of stock in store.
  • Target: Target’s app not only delivers mobile coupons, but helps parents buy Christmas gifts with the kids in tow without ruining any of the holiday magic: the top 20 most popular toys will feature a QR code in store that, when scanned, allows for mobile payment via smartphone and free shipping.
  • Westfield App 2.0: The mall operator’s app can help shoppers find their favorite store or even the nearest restroom in the mall. The app also now comes with a “Concierge” voice command feature that can answer shopper questions on items and offers.

Photo credit: USA Today

Savings Apps

Discover Black Friday’s best deals and get coupons on the go with these recommended apps:

  • RetailMeNot: The popular coupon website’s new app using geo-fencing technology to sense when a shopper is near a store, and notifies shoppers of deals they may be near and coupons they can use in-store immediately. The New York Times’ “Bits” blog reports that the app will work in 500 malls in time for the Thanksgiving shopping weekend, and that RetailMeNot has signed with 275 merchants.
  • DealNews.com’s Black Friday app promises to let users browse Black Friday retail ads to help them strategize their post-Thanksgiving shopping trip.
  • RedLaser: The oft-recommended app allows users to scan a barcode and compare prices with thousands of offline and online retailers, and even ID’s stores in shopper vicinity where they can locate an item for less.
  • SnipSnap: This app acts as a digital coupon clipper: Users simply snap a pic of a printed coupon offer, and SnipSnap converts it to a mobile optimized offer that can be redeemed in store.

An App That Gives Back

  • Shopkick: If you already know where you’re shopping and what you’ll be buying, reap rewards by using the Shopkick app. The app gifts shoppers with “kicks” when they enter and make purchases in participating stores, like Best Buy, Target and Toys R Us. “Kicks” can be redeemed for items ranging from coffee to clothes.

Savvy Shopper Survival Apps

To ensure that your Thanksgiving weekend shopping trip is fun as well as focused, make use of these apps:

  • Twitter and Foursquare: Already have these apps? Put ‘em to work to keep tabs on crowds and hot holiday item sell-outs, says PCMag analyst Jill Duffy.
  • Square Wallet: Tired of whipping out your wallet? This app finds stores and restaurants where you can pay with your smartphone while it’s still in your pocket.
  • Netflix: Shopping with kids who are near meltdown mode? Have this app handy, connect to Wi-Fi to preserve your cellular data, and stream a favorite show to keep everyone happy on the holiday shopping trip.

What apps will you be using at retail this holiday shopping season? 

About Melody Demel

Melody is Senior Manager, PR for Boingo Wireless, where she is responsible for media relations, brand building and thought leadership initiatives. Melody is a die-hard Nebraska Cornhuskers fan and retired NCAA DI college field hockey player.
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