Shopping apps help users find deals

Posted January 31, 2011

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— Tom Edwards used the Red Laser application on his iPhone to track down a deal on a television. While standing at the Target store in Cary, he used the application to check the prices at other retailers.

“It’s $385 at Radio Shack. It’s $349 here, so I’d pick it up here,” he said.

Mobile phone users with a shopping application like Red Laser use their smart phone’s camera to scan the bar-code of a product. The application then finds the product and allows users to compare prices on the web and in local stores.

Edwards said shopping apps saved his family money at Christmas.

“There were a few things that we ended up just saying, 'Forget it, we'll get it online, or we'll get it at this other store,'” he said.

David Henard, a marketing professor at North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management said smart phones are revolutionizing the shopping experience.

“Even a low-tech-savvy person who's armed with a smart phone can pull it out, and they've got a tremendous amount of information right there in their hands,” he said.

Shopping applications have filled the Android Market and Apple's iTunes store. Henard said they give the consumer more information and leverage to get the best price.

Shopping apps help users find deals Shopping apps help users find deals

Retailers are also embracing the change, Henard said.

“I only see it growing, and retailers have got to either adjust and adapt to this or it's going to run them over,” he said.

Henard said GPS-enabled phones are the next big push in mobile marketing. Retailers already are sending deals directly to customers when they enter stores. They're also exploring how to send ads to phones when someone enters a competitor's store.


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  • DemonDeacon1214 Feb 1, 2011

    I'm not angry. But I've worked in retail and seen things change as profit margin's shrink and companies try to adjust by cutting operating costs and looking for margin elsewhere like in cables and protection plans. Retailers are having to cut down on what they pay their people which leads to less qualified people in the building. And I'm picturing some guy with one of these apps on his phone standing in a store angry that he can't get help and not understanding why the store doesn't have enough people working to get to him right away. Internet research is great but it can't get the product down off the top shelf or out of the warehouse for you. And while many people are able to use the internet effectively to educate themselves on products and retailers there is a hefty percentage of american consumers who still need face to face help. People who post comments here are probably fully capable of setting up a TV but believe me there are many people out there who are not.

  • newsmonkey Feb 1, 2011

    Not understanding the hostility in the comments here. I'm not lazy. I homeschool my kids, work from home, run a club, have several hobbies & do a lot of charity work. My time is valuable to me. This app just happens to come along with many other features on my phone, so I'm not paying any extra for it. It saves me money, time, gas, and it not only checks prices, it gives me product reviews and additional information (such as safety ratings, manufacturer info, recall info, etc) so that I can quickly and easily make better decisions for my family. Do the detractors here walk instead of drive? Do they sing instead of listening to a cd? Do they yell out the door instead of phoning? Slaughter their own pigs when they need bacon? Sheesh, people. Technology marches on. Why be so angry about something useful?

  • dwr1964 Feb 1, 2011

    A nation too lazy to check out other stores by themselves. Hey, I know, lets get an app to do all the work for us, tnhis way we never have to get off our extremely large buttoxes.

  • ajfuddermukker Feb 1, 2011

    The barcode scanner is a great app. I have used it on several occasions especially in stores that gaurentee to beat any body else's price.

  • LtDansMagicLegs Feb 1, 2011

    If you rely on tech store "experts" to educate you on products they are trying to sell you then you deserve to be ripped off with their overpriced protection plans and $100 HDMI cables.

    There are VAST amounts of research and reviews of products out there on the web about any model of TV or electronic you're looking at. It's pretty irresponsible IMO to just walk into a store and count on a salesperson of all people to educate you on such a large purchase.

  • whatelseisnew Jan 31, 2011

    "Soon enough you will be able to find a great price on a TV anywhere but there will be nobody at the store who can tell you anything about it. "

    Again you are better off doing research on the Web. plenty of sites out there that review products, plus you can find reviews by people that have already purchased a product you might be interested in.

  • whatelseisnew Jan 31, 2011

    DUH. I do the price checking at home. Then I travel to the place that has the best price. No expensive IPHONE or ATT plan required. I can buy lots of stuff with the money that would been wasted on ATT or Verizon.

  • DemonDeacon1214 Jan 31, 2011

    People claim to hate faceless retail giants like wal mart while embracing technology like this. Retailers will adjust by employing less knowledgeable staff and fewer of them. Soon enough you will be able to find a great price on a TV anywhere but there will be nobody at the store who can tell you anything about it. Consumers are forcing retailers to cut back on customer service in order to compete with online retailers with lower overhead.