Black Friday is this week and it will mark the beginning of the 2010 holiday shopping season in the U.S. Cyber Monday is the first Monday after Black Friday.
I’m not exactly excited about braving the crowds for holiday bargains. So I’ll be using my iPhone or iPad and any of the free apps below to help me shop from wherever I happen to be.
You can use the Amazon app (iTunes link) to search, shop, compare prices, read reviews, and purchase gifts from Amazon.com. If you are a current Amazon customer you have complete access to your shopping carts, wish list, order history, settings, payment and order options, and Prime membership.
One experimental feature, Amazon Remembers, lets you snap a photo of a product while you’re out, so that you can refer to it later. In addition, the app will try to find the product in Amazon’s catalog. This feature was “experimental” last year so I’m not sure when it will leave that status. Try it – the results are interesting, but if you don’t like it try scanning an item’s bar code instead.
Best Buy app (iTunes link) brings you the latest weekly deals from Best Buy and lets you browse or search its inventory. You can access product ratings, reviews, accessories, and large product images. The app also lets you manage your BestBuy.com shopping cart and complete the purchases on a mobile version of Best Buy’s Web site. Like all the other apps we’ve written about, this one has its own tool (called IdeaGiftr) for finding gifts. It will also let you do photo searches and bar code scanning. This app is definitely worth a look if you want to catch the Black Friday bargain sales at Best Buy this year.
Best Buy Gaming app (iTunes link) is great if you know someone who’s an avid gamer. It offers a lot of what the Best Buy Weekly Deals app offers, but concentrates specifically on video gaming. The app offers weekly gaming deals and unique gaming content including the latest game news from Gamespot, and trailers and screenshots from the top new games.
Best Buy Reward Zone app (iTunes link) keeps you connected to your Reward Zone program membership while on-the-go. If you are purchasing gifts from Best Buy don’t miss out on earning points in this program. You can use them towards future purchases, etc.
eBay Mobile app (iTunes links – iPhone/iPod touch and iPad) frequently and it gives you nearly 100 percent of the eBay experience on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Although it works pretty good it does not offer all the features of eBay.com. The app will let you search for items to purchase or bid on, place bids, watch items, and purchase items. Once the sale or auction is complete, you can even pay for your purchase using the app. I use this app frequently, so it has a permanent spot on all my iOS devices.
eBay Deals app (iTunes link) helps you to find the best deals on eBay. It features Daily Deals, deals that are about to end, and customized deal searches that you can create and save for later. This app will integrate with your favorite social network so share those bargains with your friends.
The Target app (iTunes links – iPhone/iPod touch and iPad) lets you search for products at your local store, check their availability, and even find out where the item is located inside of the store. Like the Best Buy app, this one lets you browse the weekly deals available at Target.
Additional features include referrals to other store locations if your store is out of stock on a particular item, plus gift suggestions based on gender, age, price, personality, or occasion. You can manage lists for your next Target shopping trip and registries of your own or find one of these belonging to a friend.
Bar code scanning features let you learn more about a product, see customer reviews, and determine store availability. If you are adding items to list of registry multi-scan mode will speed up the data collection process.
The iPad app features the Target dog Bullseye as a virtual bobble head. Cute, but not very useful — unless you are stuck waiting on someone else at the local mall.
Toys “R” Us
The Toys “R” Us app (iTunes links – iPhone/iPod touch and iPad) helps you to find the best toys and baby products by category and popularity. You can use the app to make a list of your favorites and share the lists you create via e-mail. Product details are readily available including images, descriptions, prices, and customer reviews.
The app includes features that help you to save money on your toy and electronic purchases at Toys “R” Us and includes the usual store location features that we are used to seeing in all apps of this type.
Last year, the Walmart app (iTunes link) was a big disappointment since it only focused on electronics. It lacked a lot of features that other retailers offered in their app. However, this year some big changes have been made.
The Walmart app, which was recently updated in October, offers nearly the same features as the other major retailers. You can use the app to see what is on sale, what the best Value of the Day is, browse products, and search all the products in every department on Walmart.com. It also offers a store locator and the ability to create shopping lists for your next visit to Walmart.
If you’ve placed an order at Walmart.com you can track its status from this app as well as browse your order history. Share products Walmart sells with your family and friends.
Are you ready for the holiday shopping season? Do you have any other Apple mobile device shopping tips you would like to share? Share them with us by leaving a comment.