7 must-have Black Friday apps

Wednesday, November 23rd 2011. | Software News

Hitting the stores on Black Friday? These apps can help you optimize your plunge into the retail madness.

The Black Friday App.

7 Black Friday apps

Commissioned by dealnews.com, the free Black Friday App allows you to browse both “leaked” ads and discounts featured by major retailers.

Available on Android and iPhone, the app keeps you up-to-the-minute on the latest deals. Users can search for their favorite stores or browse by category. You can save deals that intrigue you to your shopping list, share deals on Facebook and Twitter, and seek out stores near you. For deals available online, the app will let you make purchases straight from your phone.

TGI Black Friday

Similar to The Black Friday AppTGI Black Friday is another app that aggregates ads at major retailers. Featuring more than 10,000 Black Friday deals, the app is constantly updated with deals from leaked ads and gives users the option of receiving a push notification when a new ad is posted.

Commissioned by TGIblackfriday.com and DealCatcher.com — two popular shopping sites — the app also categorizes ads and allows users to create virtual shopping lists. Those shopping lists, and the items on them, can be e-mailed to others with a tap.

Lemon

A giant stack of Black Friday purchase also means a giant stack of receipts. To tame the paper trail, try Lemon. Snap a photo of a receipt with your smartphone camera and the app will digitize and store the purchase record. It will also slice and dice the data, offering up reports on your shopping habits. A free, ad-supported version is available for all major smartphone platforms: Android, iPhone, Windows and BlackBerry.

A version without ads, priced at $9.99 per month, supports multiple users and offers more advanced reporting tools.

Slice

If you’re more excited about Cyber Monday than Black Friday, check out Slice, an organize-your-orders app tailored for online shoppers.

Turn Slice loose on your e-mail inbox and it will ferret out all of your purchases and start tracking them. Using shipping numbers, it will find out where your items are and when they’re scheduled to be delivered — and it will plot in-transit goods on U.S. map, so you can stalk your packages across their shipping route. You can opt in for a push notification when items are delivered.

“I’ve got family that lives around the country. I order products, I ship them and I hope they’ll get there,” Slice CEO Scott Brady says of his holiday shipping approach. With Slice, “I now know exactly what I ordered and exactly when it’s going to arrive.”

Slice also organizes and analyzes your purchase history. A word of warning: iTunes junkies might prefer not to know just how much they’ve spent there over the years. The site specially built a filter that lets you hide your iTunes and Netflix habits.

Zaarly

Black Friday lines are brutal, but every year customers brave the elements to wait long hours for the best deals. If you want to score bargain booty but would rather skip the lines, apps like Zaarly offer a solution: hire a minion to wait.

Zaarly offered up a how-to guide for using its service to “hack” Black Friday.TaskRabbit, which allows you to outsource your errands, is also fielding Black Friday requests — everything from companies looking for people to hand out fliers to the traditional “wait in line” appeal.

One catch: Neither site has a mechanism yet for outsourcing payments to a gofer. So you’ll need to find a recruit who is trusting enough — and flush enough — to pay for your items upfront and hand them over after you cough up the money.

Zaarly has an escrow system designed to protect both sides. When you agree to a deal you pay for it, using your credit card, through Zaarly’s app. The cash is then held in escrow for 48 hours.

“If they don’t deliver the item, then you let us know and we won’t release the funds,” says Zaarly spokesman Mark Pasetsky. “That’s why the escrow period is great. You pay the person; they have the funds; and then once you get you item, they’ll be released.”

SnapTell

Are you sure you’re getting the best deal on Black Friday? Can’t tell? There’s an app for that.

Snap a picture of or scan the barcode on any any book, DVD, CD, or video game that SnapTell tracks and the app will let you know how much the item costs at nearby stores and at online retailers. SnapTell is owned by Amazon, but it’s relatively non-partisan: Its will check the prices, both online and off, at direct Amazon rivals like Barnes & Noble. It also delivers ratings, Google links, and additional context on the item you’re considering purchasing. SnapTell keeps a visual diary of your “snaps,” so you can track your shopping history. The app is free and available on both iPhone and Android.

Foursquare

A number of retailers are offering up discounts to users who check in on Foursquare on Black Friday.

Check in at Sports Authority and you’ll receive a $25 cash card if you spend more the $100. Twenty lucky customers who check in will receive $500 cash cards throughout the day. Clothing retailer Aeropostale is offering 20% off purchases over $50 to users who check in, while customers at Brookstone get $10 off if they spend more than $70.

JCPenny isn’t offering up a discount to users who check in, but for every check-in from 4am to 1pm, the retailer will donate $25 to the Salvation Army, up to a maximum of $100,000.

And for those who want to opt out of the Black Friday madness, the check-in service partnered with American Express to offer up Small Business Saturday: Spend $25 that day on your AmEx at a participating local merchants across the country and American Express will credit your account $25. Here’s the fine print: Users must synch their Foursquare account with their AmEx cards before Thanksgiving. You can see if any of your favorite local businesses are participating by searching the `Explore’ tab on Foursquare and taping on `Specials.’

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