Free, Must-Try Shopping Smartphone Apps

hand touching iphone

Everyone wants to streamline their holiday gift hunt, but downloading (and decoding) a bunch of mobile shopping apps can seem like more effort than it’s worth. So I took a few to the mall to test-drive them. Here are three free ones that work with the iPhone/Android that actually made shopping easier:

Concept: Download mall maps to see where stores are located, find the nearest restroom, track where your car is parked, and more.

Reality: Found Sephora. Found a bathroom. Found my car. Found Happiness.

Verdict: How have I shopped without you?

Key Ring

Concept: Scan loyalty cards (for reward points or discounts) into your phone so you’re no longer digging through your purse or missing out on perks because your card is at home.

Reality: At Petco, I saddled up to the cash register with my haul of cat food. With a quick scan by the salesclerk, my card (which helps earn discounts) immediately registered.

Verdict: Buh-bye clunky stack of plastic!

Concept: Before purchasing, use your phone to scan the bar code to see if a better deal can be found nearby or online.

Reality: At Target, a scan of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever showed I could borrow it for free at a nearby library. (Touché, RedLaser.) Otherwise, Target’s price of $8.99 was hard to beat. Some online prices were slightly better – until shipping was factored in.

Verdict: Squashes pesky inner voice that wonders if the price is right.


Phonetastic: Got any shopping apps that you like to use?