Smartphone shopping apps are changing the way we browse and buy. Here's a few to help you spend smarter.
AT THE SUPERMARKET
Countdown: Free, for iPhone and Android
Make the weekly drudge that is the grocery shop easier with the Countdown app: scan the barcodes of items in your pantry to add them to your in-app shopping list, which synchronises with your local store, so your list is ordered by aisle. You can also get an idea of how much your shop will cost before you leave home, find specials at your local store, and - of course - shop online through the app.
Countdown has also set up "virtual supermarkets" in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The "supermarkets" - pictures of Christmas food items plastered over bus stops - let shoppers use their Countdown app to scan product barcodes to add them to their shopping list, purchase them online if they wish and have them delivered to their homes.
CompareMe: $2.59, for iPhone
If you're bamboozled by prices for various-sized packs of peanuts or pasta or pulses, let CompareMe help. The app works out which items offer the best value for money. You simply put in the price, weight or quantity and it does the rest.
Shop n' List: Free, for iPhone
It was developed for Pak n' Save in Hastings, but this app can be used in any supermarket. It lets you create and share shopping lists, and can quickly draw up a draft list based on your most frequent purchases. Say goodbye to lists scrawled on the back of receipts - and leaving lists behind on the kitchen bench.
One of, if not the, most popular shopping sites in New Zealand also has an app that lets you list, sell and buy items as well as track the ones on your watchlist. Trade Me has also developed a version of its site - not a downloadable app - for touchscreen devices so you can search, bid for and buy items. The Touch site is compatible with iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices.
Price Me: Free, for iPhone and Android
Find the best deal from online retailers with the PriceMe app, an offshoot of the PriceMe website. You can search for products in a range of categories, and the app spits out available models, their prices and where you can buy them - linking to the store's website so you can buy on the spot. You can also find out the nearest stores belonging to retailers listing through the site, and read up on product specs and reviews before you buy.
PriceSpy: Free, for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 8
Another product finder, price comparison app based on a website, PriceSpy also lets you scan the barcodes of some products while you're shopping to check their prices in other stores. You can also swot up on product reviews, and see the locations of stores selling the product you're after through Google Maps.
Asos: Free, for iPhone
Online clothes shopping mecca Asos has an app to make buying new threads even easier. The app syncs with your account so you can access saved products and searches, and you can browse new products even if you're offline. For non-iPhone users, Asos also has a site optimised for mobiles that you can access through your smartphone's web browser.
Reward Junkie: Free, for iPhone and Android
One for Wellingtonians, at the moment anyway, Reward Junkie lets users earn rewards points - and rewards - when they buy at the 70-odd participating retailers in the capital city, including bars Mishmosh and The General Practitioner. The app also uses GPS to show them nearby Reward Junkie partners so they can earn points wherever they spend. The app's creators are rolling it out into other areas around New Zealand and overseas.
Lasoo: Free, for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7
A shopping research app, Lasoo basically aggregates the deals from participating retailers' catalogues into one place so you can see all the specials on offer. You can click through to the retailer's online store (if they have one) to buy the product, and search by product to compare prices from participating retailers, which include Bunnings, Briscoes, Dick Smith Electronics and The Warehouse.
DAILY DEALS APPS
New Zealand's most popular daily deals sites also let you snap up offers directly from your phone.
Treat Me has a free app for the iPhone so you can buy and redeem deals straight from the device - including Treat Me Now deals that can be redeemed only on the day.
GrabOne has free apps for iPhones and Android phones, and a mobile site so other users can still grab its deals on the go.
Groupon has apps for iPhones, Android and Windows Phone smartphones, while 1-day has a free iPhone app.
Sources: Countdown, PriceMe, PriceSpy, Lasoo, Apple, Google, Asos, Trade Me, Reward Junkie, CodeDifferent, Naked Apps, Treat Me, GrabOne, Groupon, 1-day.
- The Dominion Post