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It appears that Black Friday is a tradition that’s here to stay, despite the fact that it has injured so many people over the years both physically and psychologically. So, why not arm yourself with a few tools for your tablet, to make your shopping mission just a little bit easier?
Whenever the Black Friday shopping season comes around, I always start getting cold sweats and heart palpitations. I’m sure it’s PTSD from my first (and last) experience making an attempt to partake in the traditional shop-fest extravaganza. All I remember is inching my way shoulder-to-shoulder with other people toward the electronics section, to see if I could grab a new gaming console that was on sale. Of course, they were sold out (big surprise), so then it was all about squeezing back and forth through the mob to try and find other deals. I don’t really remember how the day ended. I must have passed out at some point.
The bottom line is this: I was not prepared. I only knew where one deal was, but I didn’t have a backup plan with others. I only had one store visit planned, while I should have had a list of them ready. Finally, keeping track of everyone else in the family, in the middle of an overcrowded store, is nothing short of a nightmare.
So, with this post, I offer several apps for your Android tablet that’ll make this year’s Black Friday shopping experience much less painful. I was going to write “painless”, but who are we kidding, right?
Doing Your Black Friday Research
The best way to make your shopping trip run smoothly is to do your research way ahead of time. Yes, that means looking for awesome deals and coupons with old-fashioned Google searches. When you find a site that lists all of the best Black Friday deals, you’ll need a way to conveniently save those, similar to how Saikat showed us with Booly, a Firefox plugin that lets you save deals you find straight from your searches.
That’s a good solution, but if you’re going to be mobile, then you’re going to need all of those deal listings right on your tablet. We’ve offered a number of apps to save websites for later, such as the 9 website saving tools Aaron covered, or the Offline Browser that Moin covered. However, the app I’m going to suggest for your shopping research is one called Web Snapshots.
Load it up and install on your tablet right now, because you can use your tablet over the next few weeks to research the best Black Friday deals, and then use Web Snapshots to save the information right onto your tablet. You basically use your tablet browser, and when you’re on a page with deals that you want to keep, just go into the “Share” option (photo below is Chrome for Android).
One of the share options will be Web Snapshots. This can be used with any Android browser where you can invoke the “Share via” command.
Just browse the net, find the deals, and keep sharing them to your Web Snapshots app. Once you’re done your research, all you have to do while you’re shopping is open up your tablet, open Web Snapshots, and open up those deals. You can save pages as either a screen snapshot or the whole page itself, so you could potentially carry an entire collection of sales fliers with you while you’re shopping.
Web Snapshots is perfect for when you’re researching with your browser, but there are also a few useful apps specifically made for finding the best Black Friday deals leading up to that fateful weekend.
Black Friday Apps
Due to the high demand of useful, mobile research tools, lots of different companies have come out with Android apps to help out with finding good deals during the biggest shopping day of the year. One of those apps is the aptly-named Black Friday App. This app is GPS-enabled, so it’ll show you deals in your local area – a really nice feature if you have access to Wi-Fi during your shopping trip and want to find some of the best deals nearby.
Click on any of your favorite stores, and you’ll get a listing of the top deals. Many of them (especially on Black Friday itself), is time-limited, so you’ll want to click on the deal and locate the store as quickly as you can.
Luckily, the deal shows you the store location and everything. So all you have to do is drive there to get to the deal faster than those sorry saps that aren’t up with technology yet.
One of the most popular shopping apps is – you guessed it – Shopular. Yup – it’s the popular shopping app that gives you access to the most recent sales and deals at the most popular stores near you.
You can view just store circulars by clicking on “Circulars”, and save your favorite deals to use later by adding the deals to “My List”.
The last deal-search app that I want to share is a highly-rated one on Google Play called The Coupons. Like the rest of the deal-finder apps out there, The Coupons is pretty straightforward. Basically it’ll list a stream (sort of like an RSS feed) of the most recent deal ads for today.
Yup – it’s a daily list of deals. That means you’re the first to hear about the deal if you check this app daily, and you’ll likely be the first person to grab the deal in the store too. The cool thing is that the app also lists the cheapest gas available in your area. Why? Because the less money you spend on gas, the more you have available to go shopping, am I right?
When you spot a deal, click on it to get the location of the nearest store near you where you can grab the deal.
You’ve got nothing left to do except drive there and buy the thing. Could it get any easier?
Plan Out Your Route
Okay, so you’ve got all of your fliers and sales saved to your tablet, you’ve got several apps you can use to look up deals while you’re on the road (at any wi-fi hotspot), but what about knowing where to go? If you’re only using a tablet, you won’t always have access to the Internet. Wouldn’t it be nice to have all of the stores or shopping area maps saved on your tablet as well?
Thankfully, the Google Maps for Android offers a really useful “Make available offline” feature in the settings dropdown menu.
This lets you draw a box around the map that you want to save for offline use. In the example below, I’m saving a map of a popular tourist shopping area in downtown Portland, Maine called the “Old Port”. When you’re walking in the area, it’s a confusing maze of cobblestone and paved streets, but with this, finding your way around the shopping wonderland would be a piece of cake.
You can save multiple maps, so while your’e doing your Black Friday research, make sure to map out those shopping areas and save the maps to your Tablet.
Trust me, you’ll be really happy you did when you spot a deal on “Brown Street”, and by taking one glance at your saved map, you realize that Brown Street is only a block away! Think you’ll catch more deals with a map? Better believe it.
Okay, so you’re in the middle of your Black Friday shopping, and you spot an item that you’ve been looking everywhere for, but you’re not sure if it’s a good deal. You didn’t see it during any of your research, so what do you do? Easy solution. Use the ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner app.
This app does let you search for deals like the ones listed earlier in this article, but the real value here is the fact that you can scan the barcode of any products you find, and get a listing of average prices for that product.
You even get a graph showing the prices that the item recent sold for online!
Another price check app you may prefer to use is the Aport app, which lets you scan the product using your tablet camera.
Then you get the price point for that product from Amazon listings – the place folks usually go to check for current “best prices” for most products out there.
You can also do a manual search rather than a scan by just typing in the name of the product.
You’ll get listings of matching products, and you just have to click on the right one to get the pricing information for it.
Let Me Know Where You Are!
One of the most annoying parts of shopping is when you lose your shopping partner, and you have to work through the entire store to find them. Thankfully, these days most stores have free Wi-Fi. So, if you have the Wi-Fi Walkie Talkie app installed on your tablet, you can keep in touch with your shopping buddies in the same store!
The trick here is to make sure everyone connects to the Wi-Fi network and then clicks on the “Find My IP” button to get your device’s IP address. Exchange IP addresses. To talk to the other person, you just have to tap “Unicast”, and then type the IP address of the person you want to broadcast your voice to.
Then, you just hold down the big microphone button and talk. The other person running this app will hear your voice, and can respond the same way.
So there you have it, 8 really useful tools for your tablet that will help you keep yourself sane during your upcoming Black Friday shopping fiasco. I’d warn you against going at all – but we both know better than that. You can’t resist. That’s okay. At the very lest, be prepared with these apps.
What’s your plan for Black Friday? Are you using any good Android apps to find deals? What apps do you use to make the whole shopping experience more enjoyable? Share your tips and advice with fellow shoppers in the comments section below!