Compare Prices on the Fly with Price Checking Apps
Nowadays, many consumers are up on the latest gadgets, but remain committed to getting the latest tech for less via price comparsons and online shopping (perhaps through dealnews). Yet there are other people still who would prefer to buy in-store and not have to worry about shipping costs and delivery times associated with said online shopping. Thanks to price-checking apps, in-store shoppers can make informed purchases just as easily as those who shop online.
According to research firm Deloitte, 58% of smartphone users plan to use a price-checking app while holiday shopping. If you're a part of that 58%, you'll likely also be price-checking items in-store on the fly. And while there are quite a few apps out there that'll help you find the best bargain, here are some of the most popular price-checking apps.
(free for iPhone, Android, and Windows)
RedLaser offers much of what has become standard in the price-checking apps field. It not only can find product and price information via a photo of an item's UPC, but it also features a manual input search field that bypasses store-specific barcodes (which are designed to discourage the use of price-checking apps).
RedLaser uses GPS to also include local stores in its price-comparison search results, though these vendors must have their inventory and prices available online to appear in the comparison. This app is ideal for comparing Walmart and Target prices, for example, and since RedLaser is owned by eBay, it also includes Buy It Now prices from online merchants. RedLaser has also partnered with select stores including Toys "R" Us and Victoria's Secret to allow its users to buy items in-app via PayPal and arrange for in-store pickup. What's more, RedLaser stores rewards cards and loyalty program information within allowing customers to do away with those annoying keychain cards.
(free for iPhone and Android)
This app is powered by Google itself and offers of all the standard tools of price checking apps: a barcode scanner, product reviews, and price-comparison information. This app is unique in that it also accepts voice commands (in addition to written inputs) and can identify books and media with a snapshop of their packaging. Google Shopping also allows for easy sharing via Twitter, Facebook, and the like.
Like its online counterpart, the Google Shopping app omits certain retailers from its results, which we detailed in a concurrent feature. Google Shopping specifically doesn't include vendors that don't pay to have their items listed, which most notably means Amazon is never included.
Amazon Price Check
(free for iPhone and Android)
While the Google Shopping app omits Amazon products and prices from its results, the online mega-retailer offer its own app for one-stop shopping. The app features a barcode scanner, product reviews, and price-comparison information. It also will search from voice commands, unlike the Amazon Mobile app.
Consumer Reports Mobile
At one time, Consumer Reports had an app that did much of what these others did, with the added advantage of access to its library of objective product reports. Sadly, this app has been discontinued in favor of Consumer Reports Mobile, which is just mobile access to its website. It's not free, either; it's only available with a $29 1-year magazine subscription.
The mobile app, which doesn't offer UPC identification requires manual input of product info and whether or not there's any information about the product in question depends on if it has been part of a review or comparison; most new models haven't. Price information doesn't reflect the breadth of pricing from all vendors either.
There are a wealth of other apps out there offering many of the same features as RedLaser, Google Shopping, and Amazon Price Check: BuyVia, ShopSavvy, Milo, PriceGrabber, ShopAdvisor, Goodzer, SnapTell, and TheFind, to name a few. In fact, any one of these price-checking apps can help budget-conscious consumers save money. They all shine for comparing large retailers that list all their products and prices online. However, some of these apps falter when representing in-store prices nearby; they generally use online prices, which don't always correlate to in-store offers.
If you're the type of shopper who lives for the search, price checking apps are a failsafe tool for securing the best price with the least amount of effort. The ability to compare prices in-store is a recipe for saving some both time and money.
Front page photo credit: LifeHacker
Photo credit: New Retail Blog