11 Best Apps for a Mobile Black Friday (and Cyber Monday)

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Just a few holiday seasons ago, the shopping culture was disrupted by this thing called SnapTell. The idea that you could take a photo of a product and then instantly comparative shop online with your smartphone sent a ripple of horror through the retail world. That was four iPhones ago.

This holiday season, it’s no longer enough to camp out in front of Target all week and miss Thanksgiving dinner just to be first in line. If you haven’t pre-loaded your phone with Black Friday shopping apps, you might as well have stayed at home. (And if you stay home, there’s shopping apps for you, too.)

So where to start with Black Friday shopping apps? Well, you can start with what you know by downloading the version 4.1 update to your SnapTell app because it also has one of the most forgiving bar-code scanners in the app world. Ideal if you’re shopping for books, music, DVDs or other media.

What other apps do you need to help sharpen your Black Friday elbows? Here’s a starter list that you can download before venturing out into the insanity:

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Nextag

With the Nextag app, you can review millions of products from thousands of retailers and see prices, coupons and reviews to give you near complete shopping omniscience. Don’t want to buy it now? You can add products onto your Nextag “radar” and the app will notify you if the price starts to drop.

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TGI Black Friday App

The most-downloaded app from last year’s shopping season, the TGI Black Friday app allows users to view Black Friday ads with updates; search through thousands of deals; edit your custom shopping list; compare prices; and receive push notifications the instant new deals are made public.

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Shopkick

Shopkick is what happens when a coupon app marries a rewards app. You can earn rewards points that translate into gift cards just by using this app to check prices in featured stores. Plus you can check for coupons while in stores, and the cashier can scan them right from your phone’s screen. Shopkick also makes it easy to share deals with friends via text message, email or Facebook.

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Shop Savvy

The Shop Savvy app belongs to the bar-code scanner family of apps; there are plenty of them out there. Shop Savvy differentiates itself with an easy-to-use interface, and using your phone’s location to tell you if the product you’ve scanned is available cheaper on the other side of the mall.

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Black Friday by BradsDeals

Not only does BradsDeals’ Black Friday app show you ads of your favorite stores plus the best deals currently being offered, but it also has a feature to help you plan your Black Friday shopping because you can’t be everywhere at once.

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Ring Finder

Because it could be your turn to be a rock star for the holidays. So here you go, champ: Ring Finder.

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Toys “R” Us

Two words: toy finder. The Toys “R” Us app helps you find the toys you need in its stores, not just the best deals.

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Inrix Traffic

You’re never going to get to the mall if you go *THAT* way. Beat the traffic jam with a good traffic app like this one from Inrix.

Of course, there are also apps to help you avoid the crowds altogether. Here’s a few apps that help you shop straight from your phone:

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Amazon Mobile

You can check the competition’s prices, and then go right to Amazon via your Amazon Mobile app and buy it on your phone. Get it delivered instead of packing it to your car, and probably for less.

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Zappos Mobile

Zappos is to shoes what Amazon is to books, which is to say, that both sell much more than what they were originally known for. The Zappos Mobile app is well designed and can be navigated intuitively. So whether you’re shopping for shoes or kitchen appliances, check with Zappos before you commit to the big box Black Friday deal.

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QVC

The cable television shopping network QVC has an iPad app? Chomp. Black Friday just ate itself.