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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET


Brooks Blanton

Atlanta, GA


Deck the Stores With Deals on Smartphones

November 26, 2010 - 9:21 AM | by: Brooks Blanton

Increasingly, Black Friday shoppers are checking their smartphones before hitting the stores. (AP-file)

If you are hoping to score big deals while Christmas shopping this year, don’t worry —  there’s an ‘app’ for that.

More thrift-conscious shoppers are leaving newspaper ads at home this year and checking their mobile phones before hitting the stores.

It’s all part of a recent blitz of money saving websites and smart phone applications that alert you to deals via text message and email every day.

Michael Tavani is the co-founder of Scoutmob, which promotes daily deals at businesses in Atlanta, San Francisco and New York.  He says a tough economy and the rise in popularity of smartphones like Blackberrys, Droids and and iPhones has created a tech-savvy frugal shopper.

“I think it’s kind of changed consumer buying habits,” Tavani says while checking consumer response to his Scoutmob deal at an Atlanta clothing boutique.  “I heard people say ‘I saw it this morning’ and they are coming in that quickly.”

Scoutmob offers deals through iPhone and Droid applications.  For Blackberry and traditional “flip” cell phone users, the deals come as text messages and emails.

Most of the deals are good for up to 90 days after it’s blasted and customers have to show merchants their phones to get the discounts.

“Consumers — especially in rough economic times — everyone’s looking for a deal,” says Tavani.

Jessica Podalsky is one of those looking for great deals this year.  Armed with a Blackberry, she responded to Scoutmob’s 50% off offer at Mitzi and Romano in Atlanta.

“It helps you save money,” Podalsky says.  “Typically you are going to buy these things anyway, so if you can get a good deal on them…why not?”

Another deal-saving giant that has taken smartphones by storm, is Groupon.  Like Scoutmob, Groupon blasts deals to customers through downloaded applications, text messages and emails.  Groupon followers have an opportunity to buy gift cards and regular priced items at reduced amounts.

Groupons have to be purchased on-line or on your smart phone and then redeemed at the retailer.  Times for the deals are usually limited from 24 hours to several days.

If hunting down deals and shuffling through stacks of newspaper inserts proves to be too much this holiday season, you might want to download The Dealmap.

The website and smartphone application has geo-coded savings from most major retailers and many local businesses into user-friendly maps that you can view while you are shopping.

People using The Dealmap on a GPS-enabled mobile phone will also get alerts when they are within proximity of store offering a deal.

Many big-box retailers have been keeping up with their customer’s high-tech shopping habits and are now offering apps of their own.  Sale circulars, layouts of the stores and coupons can now uploaded to mobile phones and used during shopping trips.

Target managers say the applications are needed as customers prefer to use their phones to search for sales, navigate stores and replace paper coupons at the checkout.

Happy shopping.