Cool and helpful mobile shopping apps
Your very own shopping assistant!
In this very tough economy, shoppers are searching for the best deals on anything from groceries to clothing and electronics. In this digital age, consumers don't have to spend time and gas driving from store to store. There are apps for that!
I am reviewing several shopping apps including Target, Walmart, and Walgreen's apps and bar code scanners. Are they easy, and are they worth your time?
It seams like anyone can have their own app today. Some of the most useful apps have been created by some of your favorite stores. Target, Walmart, and even Walgreens have their own apps to make your shopping experience better.
Target's app opens to reveal featured deals. Across the top of the screen are two other tabs that offer product information and store locations. The "product" tab offers a bar code scanner that uses the device's camera to scan bar codes and magically brings the user to their desired item. Information such as price and product availability in the local Target store save shoppers unnecessary trips for out of stock or overpriced items. The "stores" tab uses GPS or your zip code to find locations in your area.
Walmart brings their "everyday low prices" to their app with an easy to use dashboard that drops down from their logo to line the top of the screen. Their app lets users shop, locate stores, view their local ad, value of the day, track orders, scan QR codes, and more.
When the app loads, users are greeted with a "Value of the Day," rollbacks, and easy access to their local ad. The app uses the devices built in GPS to locate nearby stores. Easy online shopping of special deals provide users with product ratings and warranty information.
The pharmacy shortcut from the main screen lets users refill prescriptions, view prescription history, browse Walmart's $4 prescriptions, and find a pharmacy.
The Photo link launches the web browser to view and share photos online and order photos for 1-hour pickup.
The QR code scanner is interactive with the Walmart ad, so if a QR code is scanned from the ad, the user will be sent to the Walmart website to see more information about the product.
Walmart now includes Savings Catcher. To use Savings Catcher, simply scan the barcode at the bottom of the receipt after checkout. Savings Catcher will scan the internet for prices at local competitors, and if any of them have the items cheaper, it credits the price difference to a Walmart egiftcard for a future visit.
The Walgreens app is as versatile as an actual Walgreens store. The Walgreens app starts with large, clearly labeled icons that take users to different areas of interest such as the "Pharmacy" where a prescription can be refilled or "Photo" where pictures can be uploaded, shared, and ordered for in-store pickup. There is a "Weekly Ad" link, a "Coupon" link, and even a "Shopping List" link. The "Gift Finder" gives a quick breakdown of gift suggestions based on who the gift is for: her, him, kids, pets, under $5, and "for good health." The "Shop" link reveals categories of products including "as seen on tv," to allow users to either shop online or find items in their local stores. The "Find a Clinic" link lets users enter their city and state or zip code to find a nearby Take Care Clinic.
Walgreens has also integrated their Live Well program into their app to view points and manage activities such as steps walked and tacking blood pressure and glucose.
Bar Code Scanners
These outstanding apps use your device's built in camera to scan bar codes and search the web for the best deals. Multiple stores can be compared to make sure you are getting the best deal.
RedLaser provides a simple point and shoot bar code scanner that compares prices across the internet and provides coupons for hundreds of online and local retailers. It is also a digital wallet home for retail loyalty cards. RedLaser also has a nifty feature that displays product ratings, nutrition facts, and critical allergen information when food bar codes are scanned.
When ShopSavvy first loads, it suggests multiple products and deals in which consumers may be interested. By tapping the "Deals" icon, deals get a little more organized. If GPS is enabled on your device, the app will suggest stores near your location. Simply tap the name of a store to see what deals are available. Want to save a deal to go back to later? Tap the star next to the deal to mark it as a favorite. Want to see if the store has an item in stock? Tap the green "Call" icon at the top of the screen to call the local store. Need directions? Tap the "Directions" icon (a little map with a red pin) to use your device's built in GPS to get directions. Rather than being just a price comparison app, ShopSavvy has the equivalent of the ads in the local Sunday paper.
ShopSavvy's bar code scanner works similarly to Google Shopper's. Just point, and the scanner auto-focuses and scans the bar code. An online comparison appears offering a selection of new or used items.
There are several apps available that offer rewards without being associated with one particular retailer. This can add up to more points and a bigger variety of rewards.
Shopkick is an awesome app that gives points, Kicks, for shopping. For the best experience, ensure that GPS is enabled. When the app loads, it will display stores in the area and some featured deals. Tap on the Products tab and scroll through the Look Books, collections of products from select retailers. Extra Kicks are sometimes hidden at the end of a Look Book in the form of an envelope. Tap the envelope, a ding will sound, and the app will let you know how many points that tap was worth. Big Kicks are available for visiting select retailers such as Target and Best Buy. Ensure that the app is running as you enter the store, and the app will ding to alert you to the Kicks being deposited in your account. More Kicks can be accrued by scanning select products as you shop. Rewards include gift cards, clothing and purses, small appliances, and even a scooter or a cruise.
CheckPoints is a reward program like Shopkick that gives points for visiting stores and scanning products. Unlike Shopkick, Checkpoint also gives points for watching short videos or playing instant win games. Rewards include gift cards and purses.
Belly is a great app for smaller retailers. Participating retailers will have an iPad or similar device at their register along with information about Belly. Simply tap the iPad's screen, scan the QR code from your Belly app or Belly card, and the points will be added to your account. Each visit counts as a point and points can be redeemed for goods and services at the business you have been frequenting. Examples of rewards may include a free dog treat at the pet store, a free drink at the pizza joint, a free massage at the spa, or discounts off of catering from the Italian restaurant.
There are various point programs that will help save money by simply shopping at various stores. These apps aren't associated with one particular retailer, so points may accumulate faster and are redeemable for a variety of items.
Shopkick is a super simple app that allows users to collect points, known as Kicks, in a variety of ways. Enable GPS before use for full benefits. When the app loads, it will display different area stores and some highlighted products from the various stores. While planning shopping trips, easy Kicks can be scored by scanning through the Products tab. Simply tap on the picture for one of the "Look Books" and scroll through and like different items. Sometimes, an extra Kick is hidden in a Look Book like an Easter egg. Major Kicks are awarded for simply walking into select retailers such as Target or Best Buy while the app is running. Kick amounts will vary depending on the retailer and any special bonus that may be running. Extra Kicks can be earned by scanning bar codes of select products while shopping, and when credit cards are registered with the Shopkick account, even more Kicks can be earned when checking out. All of these Kicks add up for rewards such as gift cards, appliances, clothing and purses, and even a scooter or a cruise!
Similar to Shopkick, CheckPoints gives points, CheckPoints, for checking in at retailers and scanning certain products. Unlike Shopkick, CheckPoints also has bonus points for watching videos or by playing instant win games.
Belly is an awesome rewards program for smaller retailers. Participating retailers, which will be listed in the app, have iPads or similar devices at the cash register. Tap the screen, present the QR code from the Belly app or loyalty card, and Bingo! Points are deposited into your account. Each visit counts as a point to be used at that retailer later for offers they have created. Offers may include a free soda at the local pizza joint or a free dog treat at the pet store all the way up to a free massage at the local spa.