Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Smart Phone Smarties

I love my iPhone, and not just because of my hardcore Angry Birds habit. I also love it because companies are offering exclusive coupons and deals through their store apps and mobile coupon programs. Some of the programs are available via text, and there's no smarty pants phone required, so everyone with texting capabilities on their phone can get in on the mobile couponing.
Numerous companies are doing this, and I've rounded up my top five, plus one bonus app I think deal seekers might be interested in.

First up is my second home, Target. They offer something for everyone, take advantage of their printable coupons , mobile coupons, or browse their variety of apps available. You can sign up and maintain your mobile coupons through the apps, so no need to sign up twice. The app lets you shop for and purchase items, build shopping lists, scan bar codes (to check on prices and inventory at stores and build lists - it's really cool), and view the weekly and daily deals. I use the iPhone app, and in the past there were some bugs that have been worked out. The scanner is helpful for building lists and searching for items without having to scroll through a long list of possible matches. Best of all? It's free!

The Sephora iPhone app is similar to Target's, you can shop and make purchases, build shopping lists, scan bar codes, find stores, and look at current sales. But that's not all! You can watch how-to videos, "try on" nail polish (you can change the skin tone of the model hand to match yours and see what different shades look like), get beauty advice, rate products, track your Beauty Insider account (please tell me you've signed up for one of those) and (best of all) get exclusive mobile offers! Don't have an iPhone? Sephora has you covered, they have a special mobile site non-iPhoners can use. Both the iPhone app and mobile sites are free to download and use.

I'm a big fan of H&M, theirs was one of the first store apps I ever got. With this app, you can find stores near you, see the latest collections, build a wish list, watch videos, check gift card balances, and........... *drum roll* get coupons! H&M makes you work for it a little, though. You've got to shake the phone to unlock the deals. If there aren't any coupons available, you'll get a message asking you to try again later, that way you don't keep shaking your phone like a maraca. Once you unlock a coupon, you can use it right away or it'll be stored in the "My H&M" section until it expires. The H&M app is free and available for iPhone and Android.

It's the most craftastical time of the year! Halloween kicks up the crafting jam that goes on, non stop, until Christmas. Joann stores offers three mobile options for us coupon folk. The iPhone app and mobile site (free) allow you to find store locations, research and review items and receive coupons to use in-store. I currently have a 50% off one regular priced item saved. There is also an option to receive coupons via text message, just text BEADS to 56266(JOANN) and voila! Coupons regularly delivered to your phone.

The crafty deals don't stop there! Michael's also offers mobile deals
by way of a free iPhone app, mobile site and text alerts. The app lets you locate stores, view upcoming events, see the weekly deals, organize projects and keep shopping/supply lists. You can also view and save your coupons to use later. My first smart phone coupon was through Michaels, it was hassle-free and employees were aware of how to redeem them. Plus, you don't have to turn them in like paper coupons so you are free to reuse them again before the deal expires. And remember to sign up for their email list to receive even more coupons!

And now for the bonus, Shopkick! Users earn rewards by collecting points (aka kicks) when visiting their favorite stores and have access to exclusive deals. Sign up, pick your favorites from their list of participating stores by using the search or locating stores near you, then browse through to see the deals available. There are over 250,000 stores to choose from, some of my faves include: Barnes & Noble, Macy's, Michaels, Nordstrom, Petco and Target. Earning rewards at some stores is as easy as checking in, others ask you to scan items (using your phone's camera). There are also specials and coupons available to Shopkickers, just browse through the deals available for each store. Shopkick is free, and available to iPhone and Android users.

Your favorite stores are rolling out new and improved ways to save you some cash, don't be afraid to check them out. It's a brave new world out there, kids, but let's take advantage of the technological advances in the coupon world!

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