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Shopping apps aim to help you avoid Black Friday hassles

Shopping apps aim to help you avoid Black Friday hassles

SMART SHOPPING: Apps can help you avoid Black Friday hassles. Photo: Reuters

By Natasha Baker

(Reuters) – Shoppers who want to avoid long lines to nab a deal during Black Friday can download new apps that will let them shop for bargains from the comfort of their home.

Whether it is getting notifications about items going on sale, shopping from print magazines and flyers, or turning email promotions into shopping magazines, apps are helping shoppers find deals.

Shop It To Me, a new free app for the iPhone, allows shoppers to track when their favorite clothing items or brands go on sale in their size at online retailers.

“On Black Friday, every store is going to shove sales in your face and it can be so overwhelming that you might miss out on an item you actually want,” said Charlie Graham, chief executive of San Francisco-based company Shop It To Me, referring to the Friday after Thanksgiving and the start of Christmas shopping.

SPECIAL SECTION: Black Friday 2013

Shop It To Me acts like a personal shopping assistant, constantly scouring hundreds of online retailers, such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Banana Republic and J.Crew, for the latest deals based on the shoppers’ preferences and sizes.

Graham said good deals, free shipping, more variety and less hassle are luring more consumers to shop online.

Hukkster for the iPhone also lets shoppers track their favorite items and sales. With a new feature on the free app users worldwide can also put in the style number of items they find in stores and track when they go on sale.

ShopAdvisor, a free app for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone, tracks items consumers find in print and tablet magazines.

“What we’ve seen is that Black Friday is not necessarily the best day to go shopping anymore. Often we’ll see deals online prior to and after Black Friday that can be just as good, if not better, than those we see in store,” said Karen Macumber, chief marketing officer of ShopAdvisor, based in Boston.

After scanning a product in a magazine readers can click on an ad to buy the item, or be notified when it goes on sale. Macumber said the aim of the app is to reach consumers as soon as they discover a new product and to make magazines a part of the shopping experience.

Another app called Sift takes a different approach, letting users browse through promotions in their email inboxes. When users connect with their email account the app creates a catalog of promotions.

“People’s email is filled with shopping promotions. Some of our users receive as many as 3,000 to 4,000 shopping emails a year,” said Saurin Shah, CEO of Sift, based in Burlingame, California.

The free app also learns about shoppers’ preferences from their emails to help them discover new products in the company’s database of more than a million products.

“We use what we know about them to bring what they think will be most interesting in to the front. We do all the heavy sifting,” said Shah, who added that the app can also be used to shop for other people.

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