Maximize your Black Friday shopping with these online tools

There’s a new kind of Black Friday shopper, a person who knows what the deals will be and where to find them. If a competitor catches wind of one store’s discount and counters with one slightly better, this shopper knows about it an instant.

It’s not someone crazed as much as efficient. The new age shopper utilizes every tool available — mobile phone applications, Facebook, Twitter, bargain Web sites, electronic coupons, promotional codes and the printed circulars stuffing the Thursday morning newspaper.

“I enjoy new technology,” said 31-year-old Kelly Lucas of Atlanta. “I see how I can use it to my advantage.”

And she does. Lucas’ primary full-retail price weapons are her apps, including Yowza!!, which uses the GPS technology on her iPhone to alert her to retailers with the best coupons within a 15-mile radius. Then, it brings up the coupon’s bar code that can be scanned at the store. Other online coupon favorites: mobiQpons, Valpak and Coupon Sherpa.

Many retailers are attracting followers through social media platforms, and posting exclusive offers there for their most loyal customers. Plus, there are several deal sites that have designated areas for Black Friday.

“I can have information sent to me all day, every day, if I want to,” said Brandon Coleman of Marietta. “I don’t make the purchases, necessarily, but I bookmark it. My girlfriend and I sign up for email lists and they send us things on a weekly basis.”

If that sounds like more in your in-box than you can handle, here’s a tip: Set up a separate email account strictly for this kind of mail, said Michelle Madhok, founder of SheFinds.com and MomFinds.com.

There is also a promotional code available for just about everything. You’ve seen the box when making your online purchase: enter a promo code here.

“People think it’s for an exclusive person or something and they continue to make the purchase without it,” said Andrea Woroch of Promotionalcodes.com. “In fact, it’s available to everyone. You just need to know where to look for them.”

The Web site Freeshipping.org takes care of that portion of your online purchase if it is not already available. Said Woroch: “You can always find free shipping on the Internet.”

So, what of those who haven’t jumped on the tech savvy shopping bandwagon? Are they losing more in convenience or costs? It depends on whom you ask, but it’s probably a combination. Lifestyle technology expert Omar Wasow leans toward the former.

“My personal Everest is getting to the post office,” Wasow said. “For me, these tools provide convenience. I don’t have to worry about the crowds, about mailing something off.”

The mobile application RedLaser lets you scan bar codes from your phone, making it easier to comparison shop. Other comparison sites like Pricefight.com will alert you instantly if the price drops on a product. My Black Friday Deals uses social media and blogging to create an interactive environment that includes photos of best finds and deal seeker ratings. Yahoo! is another popular shopping comparison application.

Still prefer newspaper coupons? About 70 percent of coupon users get them from newspapers, according to a recent study released by Experian Simmons. Lucas scans and itemizes her coupons on her To Do List application and has them accessible whenever she enters a store.

“I do think I’m a little more attune to using modern technology than my friends,” Lucas said. “They giggle at me, but they take advantage of it when I find the deals.”

Follow me on Twitter @atlbargains

5 comments Add your comment

Wendy

November 24th, 2009
10:30 am

http://www.black-friday.net and http://www.blackfriday.info already have the scanned in ads online, so you can plot everything out ahead of time…

Frugalista 30097

November 24th, 2009
1:22 pm

Liz

November 24th, 2009
9:26 pm

Michelle Madhok mentioned creating a sep email account, but you don’t even have to if you don’t want to. http://www.sale.com/emails actually shows the latest emails from thousands of stores and if they don’t have it, just let them know and it’ll be there. If you don’t like sifting through all of these by hand, just sign up with SALE and pick the stores you want emails for and they’ll all be collected for you on SALE.com and Not your inbox. It’s pretty useful!

Insignia

December 18th, 2009
3:51 pm

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March 2nd, 2010
5:01 am

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