Tag: Shopping »
The App Store can be a wonderful place full of far too many games to count spread across every genre imaginable. However, despite all the rules and regulations for submissions, a few shady characters will inevitably fall through the cracks. In my numerous App Store searches I’ve seen my fair share of cash-grabs, some obvious and some not so much, but I’ve also begun to notice a few telltale signs that can be a good indication of a developer’s intentions.
This guide is not written in stone, and there are always exceptions to every rule. And I in no way mean to imply that the majority of App Store developers are simply out to con the unwary out of their money. Quite the contrary. Most of them are great folks who are just trying to make an honest dollar doing what they love and making other people happy. I only wish to pass a few tips along in the hopes that it may give you all a better idea of some of the things to look out for.
Tip #1 - Judging a game by its icon
Not all icons can be winners. That being said, if you see an icon featuring a recognizable character or a recognizable character who’s been slightly tweaked so they look a little different, proceed with caution. Using an icon that looks incredibly similar to a top selling iOS (even PC or console) game is a tactic often used to trick potential buyers.
Tip #2 - Check the screen shots
Screen shots are another good indication of legitimacy. They won’t all feature showpiece visuals but they still need to be there. If a game only has one or two screens available for viewing in the store, and those screens don’t actually show any in-game content, tread very carefully. Another “tell” of sorts is the actual content of the game screens. If the visuals look exactly like another game, or if (and I’ve seen this before) it looks like someone pasted some virtual buttons on top of a screencap, you might want to think twice before buying.
Tip #3 - File size
You see a game that looks awesome and the description makes it sound like the best thing since, well, the iPhone and it has a dozen glowing reviews. Before you hit “Purchase,” just take a quick peek at its file size. If this jaw-dropping showcase of iOS visual prowess takes up 5 MB (or even 50), it’s highly unlikely those screens or reviews are for real. Which brings me to my final tip.
Tip #4 - Check those reviews
User are largely subjective, but they can still be quite telling. If a game has a dozen five-star reviews and three or four with one-star, take the time to read the one-stars. Not liking a game is one thing, but when a buyer claims the game in question is totally different than what’s advertised you might want to pay attention. Also look out for reviews that are way too positive. It might be a trap.
RetailMeNot is an app that's great for helping you save a few bucks this holiday season. It catalogs and keeps track of loads of coupons for major chains and small stores. It then gives you mobile access to those coupons (just have the cashier scan the barcode on your phone screen) and you are good to go.
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4
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It's great to have choices, especially when it comes to shopping for a product that's just right, but sometimes it can be tough to choose. Consmr aims to take the guesswork out of shopping and make it easier to buy the right thing.
At its core, Consmr is a social network of people who like to review and compare products. Each member might have their own motivations, such as determining whether a product is safe, healthy, or if a cheaper, generic brand exists, but they all unite under the same drive to improve the shopping experience.
To start, a user simply scans the barcode of a product they're thinking of purchasing. The app quickly brings up all available information on the product, including reviews, ratings, better buys and nutritional information (if applicable.) There's even an option to see where the product might be on sale for less, though it doesn't always work. From the same screen, a user can rate the product themselves, even writing up a review if they choose. They can also save the product to a list of favorite products, share it on other social networks or pin it to their Pinterest account.
Where Consmr really shines is under the "Better Buys" tab, where they can see a list of other products along with descriptors such as, "Higher Rated," "Less Fat," "Fewer Calories," or "Trending." These selections allow the user to make a more informed opinion about the product they're currently thinking of buying.
If there's one failing, it's that Consmr doesn't have a complete list of every product under the sun. A lot of products come up in the database, but don't have reviews because no one has reviewed them yet. There's also a "Discover" section that brings other products to users' attention, but doesn't seem to be based on any reason for doing so. I think it would be more useful if the app based suggestions on other products I scan and shop for. Meanwhile, it does show me what friends are looking at, which lends a little more weight to what I'm shopping for as I'll often consider my friends' opinions over those of a total stranger.
Finally, the Search option is a great way to go shopping for new or existing products while filtering for items that are gluten free, have no preservatives or inclue other features a user might be searching for.
Right now, Consmr seems limited to products most likely to be found at a grocery store, and I think that's a fine scope to be limited to. However, I could easily see the scope expanded to include any number of products, from consumer electronics to vehicles and toys. As mentioned, this app has become my best friend on recent trips to the grocery store. It's exactly the kind of thing I've wanted for a long while.
Socialvest is the latest app that hopes to give something back to worthy causes.
Previously a desktop based product, the app lets users shop with their iPhones, before receiving money back from each purchase that can be used to donate to over 1.5M different non-profit organisations.
Hundreds of different stores are available through the app, covering a wide range of different wants and needs. Major stores such as Amazon and Best Buy are available, as well as other more niche examples.
Each store offers a different percentage of spend that will go to a charity, making it clear to see what money is going where. It's then similarly easy to decide on a charity or cause and watch the money go towards helping someone or something less fortunate.
It's a neat idea and it'll be fascinating to see how much Socialvest raises for good causes in the long term.
Socialvest is available now for the iPhone, and it's free to download.
Jackthread, the members-only men's online shopping club, is launching an app developed by Fueled Mobile Design and Development on Tuesday to make it a bit easier for its members and the 20 percent of them who already come through their mobile devices to shop. The online and now mobile shopping club features top-tier street, skate, surf and contemporary men's fashion brands as well as offer daily sales of up to 80 percent off. The Jackthread app will be available as a free download in the iTunes App Store as well as the Android Marketplace.
The site had yet to be optimized for mobile device users despite their 8 million page views per month, but with the new apps the company anticipates a drastic increase in the number of mobile shoppers. The users who download the app are given the option to sing up for daily reminders for exclusive announcements about curated sales as soon as they go live as well as special sales available only for mobile users. New users will also be given instant access to the daily deals and will not have to wait for an invitation.
WANT! is an app for essentially irrationally exuberant window shopping in a digital world where the windows are our LCD screens. Users look through the various categories of items in the app, searchable by name, or through the most popular categories. Photographs can then be swiped through, and users can indicate which items they want, by "wanting" it, similar to "liking" a post on Facebook. Items can be viewed on the web for purchasing, in case "wanting" turns into really wanting. Items can also be commented on, shared to Facebook, Twitter, or email. Users can be asynchronously followed in order to see their list of wants, and favorite WANT! categories can be saved. Of course, users can easily share their own items to the service, by either taking a photo of it with their device's camera, or by uploading a photo from their Camera Roll. Sure, it's social window shopping, but it means the whole practice of window shopping can be done in the privacy of one's own home, without wearing pants. That's usually frowned upon in public. Usually.
It's four days until Christmas and if you are like many of us, you likely have some last minute holiday shopping to do. Inside stores lines are long and prices change daily, and at this point if you order online you might want to upgrade shipping, but if you still have some people on your "nice" list here are our four favorite apps to help you find a great gift at a great price even at this late date.
What's there to say. If you want to find anything, and get last minute shipping the best place online is amazon.com. Amazon Mobile allows iPhone shoppers to navigate Amazon's labyrinthian site quickly, compare prices, read reviews and purchase directly through the app. Search options include keyword searches, as well as barcode scanning or even upload a picture.
With Bakodo on their iPhones shoppers can scan barcodes for in-store price checking , but there that's not all. Bakado includes product reviews, and can search by keywords too. The app makes shopping social allowing the indecisive to post what they are looking for on Facebook and get feedback from their friends.
Gilt on the Go
Have a taste for the finer things in life, but not necessarily the budget? Gilt has been providing a service that offers deep discounts on highly sought after items for some time, and they also have several apps. To use Gilt, you need to be a member and have an account on their site, but in-app shoppers can browse before they decide to sign up. For the brand name bargain hunter, Gilt is a guilt-light shopping experience.
Target is not only considered upscale compared to Wal-Mart, while still offering deep discounts, their app is preferred too. The Target app allow seasonal spenders on a budget to shop at any Target store. The app sends daily deals straight to the iPhone, locates the nearest store and keeps track of gift lists with TargetLists. This app also includes a bar code scanner to make extra sure Target's deals are the best.
Since the summer, Milo: Local Shopping has done an excellent job of ensuring that its users can search nearby stores for items all from the comfort of their sofa.
It keeps track of what items are in stock across over 50,000 stores while also enabling users to check up on which store has the best price for each item. For those already in the store, RedLaser barcode-scanning technology ensures that they can just scan a barcode and immediately see price comparisons. In one simple double whammy, Milo: Local Shopping saves people time and money.
In its latest update, it goes one step further with users able to buy an item through the app and simply go to the store to pick it up.
A free app, it'd be silly not to try Milo: Local Shopping really. Odds are it's going to save plenty of time and money in no time at all. Milo: Local Shopping is out now.
It's the most wonderful time of the year. Families gather, feast, celebrate and then get ready for a Black Friday shopping bonanza. The hottest deals mean the biggest crowds will be mobbing stores. With this celebration of conspicuous consumption putting huge pressure on holiday shoppers in a tough economy, how does one find the very best deals? Well, an iPhone loaded with the right apps can make things a lot easier. This week we look at our four favorites for saving time and money.
TGI Black Friday
Powered by two major shopping resources, TGIblackfriday.com and DealCatcher.com, TGI Black Friday is the go-to app for finding the best bargains from the biggest chains like Walmart, Kohls, Best Buy, Target, Old Navy and far too many more to list. The updates come fast and furious and users can see all the Black Friday deals well before they bulk up the morning paper. Push notifications alert shoppers to new deals, users can compare prices and share finds on Facebook and Twitter.
Finding good deals is awesome. Finding great ones is even better. One thing brick and mortar retailers are worried most about this year is what impact mobile devices will have, even in the check out line. Price-matching offers used to be taken up by only a few, but now with bar code scanners, shoppers can quickly scan the items unique product number and Red Laser will find them all the competing offers, many of which are online. That means while standing in a three-hour check-out queue one can just pop out an iPhone, find a better deal online and have it paid for and on its way before they move forward a single inch.
Black Friday App
Black Friday App provides the same basic features as TGI Black Friday, and many of the stores and deals are the same, but there are retailers one app carries that the other doesn't. This app doesn't just look for deals in physical stores, but online-only bargains, too, so consider it another tool in the arsenal.
TGI Cyber Monday
Just as in-store bargains are selling out, online retailers pick up the slack. The new mega-shopping day has become known as Cyber Monday. TGI Cyber Monday, from the same folks as TGI Black Friday, again helps consumers sort through the best deals - this time from all the major online retailers.
Buying online has always been something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it's convenient. On the other, there's lots of potential for thievery. Of course, nowadays there are all manner of anti-theft measures in place and purchases have been made even simpler with payment info storage and the like. But what about those spontaneous instances of shopping need where there's no computer present? Well that's what TapBuy Deals is for of course.
TapBuy Deals is something of a dream come true for super-saving shopaholics. The app stores billing and shipping information using "bank-grade encryption," so once the desired item is found it only takes a tap or two and the order is completed within seconds. For added security, it requires a PIN for each purchase so if the iPhone is lost or stolen no one else will be able to run up unwanted charges. But this ease of use coupled with security is only a part of the draw.
In addition to all that, TapBuy Deals will group purchases (from the same vendor, of course) together to reduce shipping costs. Sometimes this even leads to zero cost. On top of all that it also automatically finds coupons and applies them as needed, saving users the most money it can. Of course, they can also add their own if they'd like.
TapBuy Deals is sitting in the App Store right now for free. And my apologies for the phrase "lickety-split." It's just that the opportunity to use it comes along so infrequently I couldn't resist.
In an ever frugal world, being able to save the pennies while not sacrificing enjoyment is a big thing. Along comes BiteHunter, an app that searches thousands of sources to bring its users the best dining deals all through a real-time interface.
Through the GPS functionality, users can view nearby deals on a map or via a list, then filter the results by price, rating, type of food and numerous other options.
BiteHunter promises more than 50,000 local deals in all covering the entire of the country. Daily deals such as those from Groupon and LivingSocial are implemented here as well as restaurants' tweets. Then the deals are divided up according to whether it's a deal for a specific day, a certain percent or amount off or simply if it's happy hour.
Food connoisseurs can always search for a specific restaurant too and then read reviews from multiple sources and see a menu. In some cases it's even possible to reserve a table right from the app.
BiteHunter looks like a great way of saving some precious pennies and it's a free download available now for all iOS devices.
Barcode reading is really rather useful. In the case of Barcode Reader and Barcode Reader Pro, it enables users to find the lowest price for an item within the US simply by taking a photo of the relevant barcode.
Barcode Reader has also now become the first and only barcode scanning app that works with the iPad 2 as well as all other iOS devices.
The app enables users to search through a whole wealth of places in the quest to find the best price. It searches eBay, Amazon, Target, Google Product Search, Walmart.com and many others offering a comprehensive price comparison service.
There's also a built-in browser to help users read more about a product and it's possible to use the current location to find prices in nearby stores.
All in all, Barcode Reader could be a great way of saving money for the savvy shopper.
It's available now in free and paid ($0.99) forms and as previously mentioned, it's currently the only barcode scanning app out there for the iPad 2.