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“Shop ’til You Drop”, that headline does not describe me…

I can walk in a store with tunnel vision, purchase one item, or no item (if what I want isn’t there), and leave. I could be a merchandisers worst nightmare. Shopping is not a sporting activity for me, it falls under my “Needs” category. But when I do shop, when I do have a need, “it’s on.” I want to shop as expediently and efficiently as possible, with the widest range, as possible, so that I can then get back to my other loves.

Using modern technology in my daily life has become second nature. Hence, I whip out my iPhone for almost any task it can be useful in. On my iPhone, I’ve created a folder specifically for shopping apps (you, too?).

There are two main apps at the front line of my shopping, that make some other apps unnecessary. Both have been around for years and with each update, both get better and better.

RedLaser
A barcode scanner and a truly indispensable app. Scan the bar code of any product and RedLaser will do shopping comparisons for you on the spot. Search results will show prices and locations from local to online stores, usually with eyebrow raising results.

Search results can also take you to websites where you can purchase the item immediately, if it’s available.

The app also has:

  • A History category, so that past searches are retained for easy reviewing.
  • A List creation feature.  Create a Wish List from History items or newly scanned bar codes while out window shopping.
  • A Mic: for verbal searches.
  • A new search feature of Red Laser is the image recognition picture search. This feature took a while to process, but eventually did recognize that I took a photo of my ScanSnap Scanner. The image of the Brother PT-2030 was recognized, but the search took so long that I cancelled it. Same happened with my Epson printer. Not a deal breaker.

 

There are several other features in Red Laser that make it an app to have.
RedLaser is available for Free

CardStar
You may carry a multitude of plastic cards in your wallet and attached to your cars keychain. AAA, Panera Bread, Sam’s Club, Delta Airlines, Fed Ex, etc. These Loyalty Reward and Membership cards add bulk and weight to your purse or wallet.

Use CardStar as a repository for your membership and rewards card numbers instead. Scan or manually enter your card info. Some entries will even indicate when discounts or coupons are available and allow access to these discounts directly within the app. CardStar also has a companion iPad app.

 

 

CardStar is available for Free

Other apps that are high on the list after the two above are:

Bed Bath and Beyond
OK. This is the one store that may be my shopping exception. I love this store, it speaks to my inner home gadget geek. Household devices that legitimately make it easier for me to accomplish a task, I go for, and it most likely can be found here.

Michael’s Crafts
Jo-Ann
What I love about these two apps is the way daily specials and discount coupons are available within the app. All I have to do is present them at checkout. I don’t have to send discount coupons to a printer or to my email to print them out with a proprietary printer app to paper (There’s got to be a better way Coupons.com app. This process renders your mobile app immobile.).

 

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