2014 Holiday Cyber Shopping Guide

By Peggy Pope
CAppTech Service

Whether it’s Thanksgiving’s Gray Thursday, Black Friday or Cyber Monday and beyond, large retailers are gearing up for the holiday shopping season with many offering price guarantees and free shipping; if you find your purchase cheaper elsewhere you could be eligible for a refund, check the retailer’s website for more information.

Find deals and comparison shop all through the Holiday Season through your computer, tablet or smartphone via a retailer’s mobile site, app or your browser.  Each year more retailers establish mobile sites or apps for ease of searching and purchasing from a smart phone or tablet.  Be sure and check your retailer’s website for downloadable apps.

Deals typically reserved for the Thanksgiving Holiday started early this year for retailers such as Amazon, Target and Walmart and according to an article by money.usnews.com some reports predict that the biggest discounts actually happen before Black Friday.

Walmart.com is planning to announce great deals with special savings events throughout the Holiday Season and as a bonus the shopping giant has committed to price matching the popular online retailer Amazon.com.  A recent article by Forbes.com entitled Walmart-price-match-amazon suggests the retailer’s aggressive pricing is meant to curb showrooming.

Showrooming is where the shopper checks merchandise in a retail outlet then price compares with an online source like Amazon.  To combat this tactic, traditional brick and mortar stores have embraced the strategy and competitively integrated their online and in-store pricing to match.

Mobile is becoming a big part of Holiday shopping for many consumers.  According to research from Retale, a location-based mobile platform, 73% of Holiday shoppers plan to use mobile devices for finding deals, comparing prices, researching products, accessing coupons, finding stores and buying directly from the device.

Mobile apps such as RedLaser, BuyVia, ShopSavvy, BFAds, blackfriday.com, TheFind and PriceGrabber compare prices across multiple online retailers; some even allow users to scan barcodes and QR codes at brick-and-mortar stores (more on scanning barcodes below).  And for you coupon redeemers, Coupons.com/shop app as well as their website has hundreds of cost saving coupons for print.

Target is advertising Black Friday previews of Doorbusters at target.com/BlackFriday.  Best Buy’s website, bestbuy.com, is advertising “Shop Early Online” with great Doorbuster deals such as a Panasonic 50” class LED TV for $199.99, in store.  Take a look at JC Penny’s Black Friday deals at blackfriday.com/stores/jcpenney/flyers/black-Friday with free shipping for orders over $49 until Cyber Monday.

Priceblink.com’s add-on automatically finds lower prices and money-saving coupons from thousands of retailers while you shop.  As featured in USA Today, CBS News and Parade Magazine, Priceblink lets you know if you’ve found the lowest price on a product or whether it can be found for less from over 4000 retailers.

DealNews.com has been named the Best Black Friday Website by both PC World and PC Magazine, and together with Fatwallet.com both are popular sites for deal shopping.  You can find DealNews app along with their Black Friday app at dealnews.com/apps/, and, Fatwallet’s Black Friday Deal Finder is at fatwallet.com/black-Friday/ look for “Ad Scan” and “Deal” links.

The Shopular app uses your location to send you daily updated coupons and deals from your favorite retailer right to your phone.  RetailMeNot’s app lets you search for the best deals and coupons at many stores and you can show the results on your smartphone at the register to redeem them – a barcode or unique number will activate your discount.  This app also uses your location to alert you if there are deals at nearby stores.

Amazon’s app will search quickly, get product details, price check and read reviews on millions of products available from Amazon and other merchants.  It has Wish Lists and its own order tracking.  You can compare prices and check availability instantly by scanning a barcode or QR code thereby snapping a picture or just search the item by name.

Mobile apps are becoming more sophisticated as they check merchandise availability, comparison shop, give shipping options/rates and cover product ratings and reviews.  By the use of scanning apps, mobile devices can be used to scan barcodes or QR codes for price evaluations and other information on products or retailers including the ability to purchase directly through the app itself.

QR, Quick Response, codes are the black and white squiggly square you find on merchandise packaging.  Although they seem strange in appearance they can lead you straight to a deal.  Before scanning to view their content you will need to install a QR app scanner/reader which you can find through your device app store or download from online, although most of your newer smartphones come pre-equipped with scan capability.  For more information on scanning and QR codes go to mobilesitelinkexchange.com.  You can download the QR scanner from iTunes for Apple or Google Play for Android.

Retailers across the nation have joined the mobile and app phenomenon in searching for ways to maintain customer loyalty.  The price comparison apps trend is here and there is no telling how diversified it will become.  Along with shopping deals, they can lead you to cheaper gas or point you to the nearest restroom at a shopping mall.  Some of them overlap in their purpose but they are all useful tools especially when looking to save via mobile site, app, computer browser or in-store.

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