App Savvy

Kelly Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com, discusses how to be sure you are getting a good deal by using your smartphone.


With fast-ending sales, stackable coupons and online-only discounts, in-store shoppers often have good reason to question whether the price they see is really the best deal out there. More are turning to using price-comparison apps on their phone for an answer and getting mixed results. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com, tell you what you need to know to get the best deal.

Check for savings before you buy. Studies found that nearly 20% of consumers checked prices on their phones during the holidays. It's a smart thing to do while you're shopping. Apps can spot cheaper prices online, and in stores nearby. We found price differences of as much as $150 on some of the items compared. Most also have reviews, so you can see if a product is worth its price.

Load up on freebies. RedLaser, Google Shopping, Decide.com and Amazon Price Check are all free comparison apps our experts liked. They're capable of scanning items' barcodes to find a match, and you can also upload pictures or type in the item name.

Test multiple apps. Apps are only as good as their underlying price-comparison engine, and experts say that many exclude specific stores or update price data sporadically. If you have a good web connection, check at least two apps for a better deal. Worried about your data bill? Do most comparisons from home before you go, and save app use for impulse buys.

Snag price matches. Many retailers match a competitor's price, so take advantage of price-comparison apps to find a better deal. Then bring your phone to the customer service desk to see if they'll give you that lower price on the spot.

Thwart retailer tricks. To keep customers from making an easy comparison, some now use store-specific barcodes that the apps can't scan, or negotiate with manufacturers for exclusive model numbers. That means a fast search won't turn up any results. Try searching by product name if nothing pops up on your first attempt.

For more information on price-comparison apps and other consumer tips click here.

Comments