Another Black Friday is here, and this time you’ll swear there’s no chance you’ll sucked into the craze. Before you know it, you’re shivering in the cold on the day after Thanksgiving waiting for the electronics store to open.
Enough with the denial. No matter your philosophical objection to the chase-after-the-bargains madness, there are usually deals that might line up with your holiday wish list.
So get your phone ready, because with the right apps and services, you just might make it out alive. If nothing else, maybe this will give you something to do while you tune out Uncle Bobby’s rant about how President Chester A. Arthur shouldn’t have taken office because he was really a Canadian.
Google Maps and search can help you survive
Google is again going all-out on the shopping front this year, with some tweaks to its existing services that should make it a great ally in your battle through the crowds and clutter of online deals..
Google Maps now displays updated holiday hours for many retailers, so you’ll know exactly when they open and close on Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve.
If your hands are full then Google’s voice commands are tremendously helpful. There are a lot of shopping-friendly answers to questions like, “what time does Target close today?”
Google Now is another essential companion when Black Friday shopping: when you enter Target, Wal-Mart, or other outlets you’ll see a card that gives you the hours and a link to current promotions, the store website, and other details.
With malls and shopping centers, you can quickly search for a list of stores and services from the Google Now card. Another potential lifesaver: Google Now will remember where you parked. It’s not accurate down to the stall in all cases, but it can give you a general idea of where your car is at.
Make the deals come to you
Several services are designed to send offers your way. That’s of course good and bad, depending on how much you want your phone to bug you with alleged deals.
One app with a pretty good approach is SnipSnap. The app is essentially a coupon social network, where other users of the app can share deals. You’re then able to “snip” them to your own account and redeem them at a brick-and-mortar location or an online store. As you can imagine, the activity has been pretty rampant in the days leading up to Black Friday.
Better yet, SnipSnap will ping you with the savings you’ve picked out when you head to that specific store.
Google is also getting in on the act: I recently found some search terms will lead to an option to get text alerts about the particular product I was searching for.
It’s a new feature, so I can’t say for sure how useful it will be or if the offers will be genuine discounts. It’s worth trying though, as Google has some pretty big shopping ambitions.
Black Friday apps pull together all the deals
As much as Google tries, it can’t do it all. There’s another batch of apps you should check out that specify in Black Friday. One is named, well, Black Friday. It shrinks down all the content from the BlackFriday.com website, with numerous leaks of all the forthcoming ads.
Two other solid selections are TGI Black Friday and Black Friday 2015. Both apps contain more deals than you can possibly need, as you’ll find them constantly updated with the latest information. They’re a good place to go if you want to try and skim what’s up with the latest sales offers.
Most of these deals are for offers that will require you to actually leave the house. So check them out ahead of time to find out if there’s something out there you want to go for.
Don’t forget about retailers’ official apps
If you’re planning to brave the crowds on Black Friday or into the weekend, it’s usually a good idea to grab the official app for the stores you’re planning to head towards. The big outlets usually throw in deals that can be redeemed only with their respective application.
For example, Target’s Cartwheel lists all the current specials, and spits out a bar code for the clerk to scan when you check out. The app also has a 3-D model of each store, which makes it much easier to track down those hard-to-find sections.
Also, with the Best Buy app you can scan bar codes of products and get more details about them. The app is also regularly updated with ongoing specials, which can be helpful on a day like Black Friday.
Wal-Mart has a tool in its app called the Savings Catcher, which compares the company’s price with those from other stores. You’ll eventually get pinged that the app found a lower price elsewhere, so you’ll get a rebate that you can later redeem as a gift card.
If you want to stay home, you can’t go wrong with Amazon, which is promising a great number of deals this year on its own hardware and other goods.
More than ever, the right apps empower you to make your shopping more focused to just the stores you want to hit or allow you to skip the mall and shop online. Instead of a packed store, hang out and enjoy the leftovers from the amazing feast you just pulled off.