Comfortable shoes, check. Shopping list, check. Thanksgiving Day newspaper coupons, check. The shoulder pads and hockey stick are optional, so all that’s left is to set your alarm early enough to where you’re at the front of your favorite retailer’s floodgates…unless, of course, you’re one of the die-hards willing to hit the stores as early as the midnight after Thanksgiving.
The term “Black Friday” was originally coined by policemen and bus drivers in Philadelphia in 1966 to describe the city-wide paralysis engendered by Christmas shoppers between Thanksgiving Day and the day of the Army-Navy football game. Some now use it to designate the day retailers go “into the black” (make a profit), but let’s face it: when most of us hear “Black Friday,” what we’re thinking about is body-checking our way through department stores in the stifling, recalcitrant crowds.
It doesn’t have to be that way, and the mobile industry is here to help. Lydia Dishman at Forbes helpfully compiled a list of must-have Black Friday mobile apps, all of which are extremely useful for making it through the day. Milo Local Shopping, for instance, scans real-time availability of whatever product you’re hoping to get your hands on, saving you a trip if it happens to be sold out wherever it was you were hoping to buy it. There’s also TheFind, an all-in-one free shopper app that helps you track prices, scan barcodes, and track your route to various stores. And if you’re one of those digital junkies who feels compelled to “check in” wherever you go, Shopkick allows you to turn that compulsion into points that can be redeemed for all sorts of goodies, or if you’re feeling appropriately charitable this Yuletide season, they can also be donated to those less fortunate.
The folks over at Mashable also organized a helpful shoppers guide, but we’d like to give a special shout-out to Dealcatcher and their five-star shopping app TGI Black Friday. It’s been described as “the crown jewel of Black Friday apps” by CultofMac, as it allows for all manner of deal-hunting and deal sharing, but mostly what we like about the company is their approach to development. The app was developed under a very tight deadline, but has yet to suffer from any bugs or problems, because the developers themselves knew all too well that “getting it right the first time” was critical to the app’s success, and they were right.