Holiday shopping isn’t a pastime, it’s a sport. And like any sport it takes time, training, education, and a distinctive strategy to play at the top of your game. For those who want to make the most of the hours dedicated to this necessary activity or desire to get the biggest bang for your buck, free app builders just may be the best tool in your arsenal.
On Black Friday in 2015, 74.2 million shoppers bravely faced other determined bargain hunters to score the best deals and nearly 35 million people shopped on Thanksgiving Day. That's more than 25.6 million who went out in 2014. However, with so many stores competing for your dollars and with the sensory overload that is bound to happen, how do you stay on track?
Prepping for the Big Day
First of all, a mobile app can help you to create a to-do list ahead of time. You may want to include a list of people you need to buy for, how much you plan to spend per person, brainstorm gift ideas and visit websites to read reviews, get information on which stores have the best (or worst) return policies, and find a shopping buddy if you have heavy items to carry or transport (like that big screen TV). Additionally, you might consider creating a Day of List so you’ll remember to have a fully charged phone (to message your buddy from across the store, do some price checking, and update your gift list) and take snacks to refuel, and bring bags if you live in an area where you have to provide your own. If the store you’re going to provides a price match guarantee, you can install the camera function in your app to take a picture of the ads so you won't have the additional burden of carrying a newspaper ad with you. This also is a great tool for organizing receipts for rebates or if you are buying gifts for nonprofit organizations.
Comparison shopping is just about the hardest part in the entire Black Friday process. There are some great apps out there that do just that: SlickDeals have members post the very best deals they find and lets you monitor on-the-spot deals that quickly go out of stock. You can also set alerts so that if another member finds what you’re looking for, you’ll know right away. Flipp is an all-in-one flyer, coupon, and price tracker for your smartphone. Flipp allows you to easily add coupons from various store circulars and print them via email so that you can plan your entire Black Friday strategy. Shopular is handles all the deal alerts and keeps track of your coupons, cash back rewards, and other loyalty perks in the process and lets you use them directly from your smartphone when checking out.
There are also great websites to help you during this process. Check out BestBlackFriday.com to scroll through current ads for the holiday season including Sam’s Club, Dell, Toys R Us, and more. They also provide buying guides from televisions to Microsoft products so you can compare items and determine what goes on your list. Pocket-Lint also has a great compilation of the best priced electronics for Black Friday 2016 from top retailers.
However, with all of this comparison shopping, who can keep track of all of the numbers and which store had which low price? Creating your app can help you sort out all of these details as you comparison shop and you can also add a category to alert you if you have a money-saving coupon or rewards card to use.
Day Of Strategy
From here you can map out the order of stores you wish to visit based on items most likely to sell out (like those insanely discounted electronics) to places that you might like to hit (maybe you want to purchase Christmas cards or wrapping paper from CVS). Your starting point may differ based on the location nearest to you or the place with the highest concentration of retailers. You can even include GPS capabilities on your app to visualize the most efficient routes and even mark them done and move on once you’ve got all of the items you needed. With AppSheet, you can make it so that once you've completed a task, you can mark it with a different font color, icon, etc.
Finally, when the day is over, you can update your app as you analyze your purchases, ensure that you stayed on budget, and sort receipts for potential returns. If you forgot to include someone on your list or ended up under budget, you still have Cyber Monday to get more great deals!
According to a Gallup Poll, the average person planned to spend $830 for Christmas 2015. For this holiday season, retail e-commerce revenues are projected to amount to $94.71 billion which is a 17.2 percent increase from last year. From teachers to spouses to all the children who dream of Christmas morning or Hanukkah, you probably have already started writing up your gift list in your head. Using these tips to create a spreadsheet app will make this the best gift-giving year yet!