The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 26, 2013

Smartphone apps could help savvy shoppers

With a dwindling 36 hours left before the no-holds-barred “Black Friday” shop-a-thon, the tension is rising on the once post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy that has now encroached well into the daytime hours of the savory holiday.

With so many changes to the spending day formerly confined to Friday, the task of staying abreast on all of the store openings, doorbuster deals and must-have items could require methodical mapping and/or a spreadsheet for the savvy holiday shopper.

Luckily, technology has provided us with a few life-changing shortcuts that can hopefully allow us to get a leg up on the competition, maybe before the turkey even goes in the oven.  Rather than toting around clippings or making lists to keep up with our lengthy shopping lists, smartphone applications may be an easy way to keep all of this crucial information in one place.

A new app called “TGI Black Friday” brings all the retailers’ deals to our phones or tablets this year — complete with a search option that allows users to compare deals across different stores. The app can serve as a pocket-sized lifesaver for those looking to crunch numbers and swoop only the best deals in town. It even allows the user to compile a list of deals to keep all of your must-haves in one place.

Similar is the “Black Friday Shopping” application — the new app made by the popular resource www.BlackFriday.com — funnels the website’s information into our handheld device and creates a better interface for browsing on the move. Just like the website, the actual store advertisements are available for users to browse through. However, unlike the TGI Black Friday app, users must make an account in order to keep track of coveted items within the app.

Both applications are available for free in the app store and available for both iPhone and Android.

With stores opening as early as 6 a.m. Thursday, use this list to keep tabs on the time the doors unlock at local Beckley-area retailers:  

6 a.m. Thursday — Kmart

6 p.m. Thursday —Walmart

8 p.m. Thursday — Sears, J.C. Penny, Belk, Kohl’s, Staples, Elder Beerman, Dick’s and Dunham’s

12 a.m. Friday — Radio Shack

5 a.m. Friday — Lowe’s

6 a.m. Friday — Big Lots

7 a.m. Friday — Sam’s Club

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In the meantime, do your research, get your lists together and get a game plan for what time to hit stores based on the doorbusters and limited-stock items you’re looking to snag. Proactive shoppers will undoubtedly tick a ton of boxes on their Christmas lists and walk away from the crazy day with a little more cash in their wallets.

— E-mail: bunderwood@register-herald.com

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