Mobile shopping for bargains

  @Money December 2, 2013: 4:18 PM ET
shop on the web

Fifty-eight percent of smartphone users use their phones in stores to check prices and then buy online.

(Money Magazine)

Shoppers at the mall are skipping the checkout line and buying online instead.

A survey by rewards company Parago found that 58% of smartphone owners use their phones in stores to check prices, then buy later from an online retailer -- usually Amazon.

Cost is the key motivator, says Parago. But getting quotes from large e-tailers is just one of the ways you can use your mobile to land a deal.

Smart (phone) strategies

Get a match. Using results from the free comparison-shopping app RedLaser as a bargaining tool, ask for a reduced price.

Should the store balk (and you're feeling guilty about going online), request a deal sweetener, suggests frugal-living expert Erin Huffstetler -- a free accessory for your purchase, for example.

Related: Holiday spending questions answered

Log in to the same store. Promotional apps from big retailers such as CVS and Target offer personalized in-store discounts, says Michelle Madhok, founder of the deal-hunting site shefinds.com.

One neat trick she likes to try: If a chain sells a product on its website for less, buy it online -- and get it shipped to the store free.

Related: How to bring your spending under control

Look beyond price. Stores can offer customer-service perks you can't get for goods purchased online, such as free maintenance for a bike, software setups for a new tech tool, or a promise of ongoing help.

Shopping when stores and ads read your mind

Does the worth of these extras outweigh the online discount? If so, Huffstetler recommends staying in the store. To top of page

Send a letter to the editor about this story to money_letters@moneymail.com.


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