Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
Updated on Monday, December 29, 2014
If your shopping routine consists of going to the store whenever you’ve run out of something and impulsively grabbing the product that first fulfills your needs or the most familiar brand, you’re not doing it right.
As Amazon goes into its 20th year of business, e-commerce sales in the United States continue to grow by 10 percent and mobile devices are becoming a primary shopping tool. Adapting to the new realities and capabilities of the online and mobile marketplaces is a must for any consumer looking to maximize his or her dollar.
Beyond making purchases more convenient, online and mobile shopping have created an environment that gives consumers the upper hand. No longer are customers subject to the limited information on price and discounts available in their sightline. Instant Internet accessibility means more information available to make better shopping decisions.
If you aren’t taking a moment of pause to make the most of mobile capabilities to enhance the value of your shopping experience, you are undoubtedly leaving money on the table.
To maximize every facet of your shopping experience, be sure to include a wide variety of shopping apps in your mobile “wallet”, i.e. cellphone. The proper combination will serve you far better than a traditional wallet or purse overflowing with loyalty cards and coupon clippings you can barely contain. Here are some top tools for any wannabe savvy shopper.
If you’re waiting for a price drop to pull the trigger on a purchase, you may want to download a price alert app. Rather than spending time checking the sites of your favorite retailers every day, price alert apps do the work for you, sending a notification straight to your devices when deals arrive.
Poach It: With over 5,000 compatible retail sites, you can “poach” just about anything, tracking products and creating customized price alerts with this app.
While you probably have a decent sense of what constitutes a good price on products you buy regularly, comparison-shopping apps take out all the guesswork, helping you avoid what could be a costly mistake, particularly when shopping for items outside of your consumer comfort zone. Comparison shopping apps consolidate all the information you need from local stores and the online marketplace in one simple location.
Red Laser: Compare prices by performing a simple search or using the app to scan the barcode of a product in store. The app will notify you if better prices are available online or nearby.
Price Grabber: Search by price, product, or customer rating with PriceGrabber. The app will show you the best place to get a deal, be it online or in store.
Price Blink: A must-have browser extension for any avid online shopper, Price Blink automatically scans over 4,000 merchants as you view a product and notifies you of lower prices.
The online world has brought simplicity to couponing. Rather than scanning circulars to figure out what you can use, simply search the store or product you’re looking for to see if there’s a deal available.
RetailMeNot: The ultimate destination for coupon codes, RetailMeNot lets you bookmark your favorite stores so that you can easily check for discounts while shopping. You can also apply promo codes straight from your phone rather than going through the hassle of printing and clipping.
CouponsAtCheckout: Another must-have browser extension, CouponsatCheckout automatically scans your online shopping cart for any applicable promo codes and applies them for you.
Loyalty programs provide great perks for shoppers, but the cards that come with them are nearly impossible to accommodate in one small wallet. Stop missing out on rewards because you forgot or misplaced your card.
Clutch: The Clutch app stores your loyalty and gift card information in one place so that you can simply scan your phone to get the appropriate perks or discounts at checkout.
Credit Card Rewards
With every credit card offering differing incentives, alternate rotating cash back categories, and varying partnerships with different retailers, it can be hard to know off hand which credit card to use to maximize your rewards at any given time.
RewardSummit: The RewardSummit apps takes away that uncertainty by tracking each consumers credit card rewards programs and notifying them which card offers the best reward at a given retailer.
Believe it or not you can actually get rewarded for shopping without ever making a purchase.
Shopkick: The shopkick app rewards you with points every time you walk into a store, scan an item, or make a purchase. Once you’ve collected enough points, you can redeem them for products or gift cards.
Cash back always makes for a great shopping bonus. In addition to old school rebates and credit card cash back, shopping portals that pay offer sweet rewards on purchases of all kinds.
Check out our reviews of seven cash back shopping portals:
- Ebates vs Mr. Rebates
- Fat Wallet vs TopCashBack
- BeFrugal vs ShopAtHome
With all of these top savings and reward resources accessible at any given moment from the palm of your hand, you should always get the best possible price on all of your purchases.