So, you’ve got an iPhone, huh? It’s a symbol of status, trend, phone, and it can even be used as an iPod. But what you may not be aware of is that it is also a weapon in the consumers’ war of savings and efficient shopping.
Well, “weapon” is a bit harsh. And “war” is a bit of exaggeration. But Apple’s iPhone is a very useful tool which can save you a lot of money, and not just make you waste it by paying for the overpriced AT&T data plan. Or T-Mobile/Verizon, if you have a Google Android.
So how do you use it? There’s an app for that. In this article I’ll cover barcode scanners. Barcodes are, as we all know, used to uniquely identify various products using the UPC system. Each item has a unique number assigned to it, and encoded on the package as a UPC barcode. Stores scan these barcodes at the register when you check out and pay for your shopping, and that’s exactly what you can do yourself to copmare prices before getting to the register. While at store. With your iPhone.
There are several barcode scanners available for the iPhone, you can get them at the App store. Some are for free, some cost money. I prefer the free applications, but in this case – it’s sometimes even worth the dollar or two paying for the application, it will pay itself back almost immediately once you start using it.
Let’s take a look at some:
1. ShopSavy – This application is also available for Android phones, and is free on the Apple App store. This is the link to the application on the Apple site. This one is for the Android users. This neat free application provides barcode scanning and online search for the scanned product. It then lists the lowest price it could fine in the local stores, and online, and you can compare the prices while still standing in front of the shelf at store and decide if you want to pick the product up and put it in the cart, or buy elsewhere or online. Cons: it only keeps history of the products it actually found and identified, and not every product gets identified (cheap items, in-store brands, like Costco Kirkland for example, and some other items may not be identified). Also, keywords search is not very efficient. But it’s free, and priceless.
2. Red Laser – This one is only available for the iPhone, at least from what I could find. It’s not free, but it’s not expensive at all, $0.99 relatevly to the savings is as good as free. It does all the stuff ShopSavy does, and some more: The history also includes unsuccessful searches, and keyword searches are slightly better. From my experience, some of the items that ShopSavy couldn’t identify were identified by the Red Laser, but most of those that couldn’t be identified by one of the programs, wouldn’t be identified by the other as well. The search results are similar to Shop Savy, but the interface for the items found on the internet shopping sites is slightly better on Red Laser. But that may be just my taste.
3. Google – on Android it comes as part of the preinstalled software. For iPhone, it is not available. I don’t have an Android, so I can’t really tell you how good it is relatevly to others, but I do know that it uses the Google shopping search engine, so you can use your iPhone and search Google directly typing description. Lame. Shame on you, Google. I would expect it to be included in the iPhone Google App.
Using your internet-enabled phone to research for your shopping is not a new thing, but using such a powerful tool as a UPC scanner that can find the exact product and compare prices not for similar, but the same products, makes you much more powerful and effective shopper.
So enjoy your phone, and enjoy your shopping
The Little Advisor