Last Thanksgiving, I was prepared to brave the Black Friday midnight madness at Best Buy in hopes of gettinga good deal on a Samsung HDTV. It would have been my first Black Friday shopping extravaganza. But it never happened.
Driving past the store earlier that day, I saw people already starting to camp outside. Did I really want to spoil the fun I was going to have at a Thanksgiving dinner party by fighting the crowds over a TV a few hours later? I decided to go online (again) and price the TV I coveted. Turns out, Amazon had just lowered the price. Not only was Amazon’s price lower than Best Buy’s, I wouldn’t have to pay sales tax or shipping—or stand in line at a big box store. Sold!
My experience convinced me that rushing into stores on Black Friday is, most likely, not worth the trouble. Still, lots of people see it as sport. So if you fall into that camp—or just want to keep an eye on the Black Friday deals from your couch—here are three free apps for iOS and Android to download.
* TGI Black Friday for Android and iOS lets you easily browse Black Friday deals by retailer. Once you click on a retailer’s name, such as Target or Amazon, you’re taken to a list of products with their original and sale prices. Clicking on a product gives you its e-commerce link, and you can save it to a list, email it or share it using social media. Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide many product details. But clicking on the product image takes you to the retailer’s associated webpage, where you can learn more. I also like the app’s keyword search and sorting options (by categories, popularity, and pricing).
* Zoomingo for Android and iOS is another strong Black Friday app contender. The app offers a convenient list of Black Friday store hours and nicely organizes sales by women, men, kids, home, electronics and sports & fitness. And it has a search function. A “Watch ‘n Save” section shows you the sale products most frequently given a thumbs up by other Zoomingo users. Zoomingo uses your device’s GPS to localize your shopping and offers games that can be played to win prizes.
* Decideis an iOS and Android app that you can use throughout the year. It tells you when a product was released, gives pricing history and predicts whether or not prices are likely to drop again. Based on that info, the app tells you if it’s a good time to buy that product or not. Decide.com, the website on which the apps are based, recently added a price-guarantee feature, too. There are several caveats, but if you purchase a product the site recommends as a “buy” and the price drops within 14 days, Decide.com will reimburse you the difference (up to $200). You can read more about it in my Decide app review from September.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.