There’s an App for That: Winning Retailer Apps You Should Have

 

Shoppers these days have one message for the companies they patronize: Sn-app to it! Smartphone users know smartphone apps make it easy to grab what you need, when and wherever you need it. Some of the biggest names in clothing, travel, food and more have gotten on board. Some offer app-only deals and discounts, while others have put together a shopping experience that’s as easy to navigate on your phone as it would be on your desktop or in person. But there are businesses that have fallen behind the times by offering clunky apps or no apps at all.

So how do you know which ones to download?

These five apps, for both iPhone and Android, are some of my favorites. Once you integrate them into your life you will find that they will quickly become your go-to for everything from grabbing your daily latte, planning your vacation or getting the kids ready for back to school. And don’t forget to check out CouponSurf for all the other smart shopping tips for these and other companies.

Nordstrom

Everyone can find something to fit their personal style at Nordstrom, the famous luxury retailer which doesn’t force you to pay luxury prices with outstanding sales and exclusive discounts. But shopping for new clothing can be stressful and hectic even on a good day. And when you start adding in rewards programs, credit card offers and limited-time specials, it’s enough to make even savvy shoppers feel a little worn out. That’s why I like their free app: It brings everything together in one well-designed program, so you always have all the information you need to purchase that perfect pair of pumps.

You can link your online account with your rewards account, so that you’ll know before you get to the register what savings you have waiting for you. Add credit cards to the Wallet feature for faster online payment. And when you do fall in love with that little black dress, know you’re getting it for the best price, with all of the store’s sales events and limited-time promotions listed on the app home page for easy perusal.

But the best feature of all? There’s never a need to go to the actual brick-and-mortar store at all, because much of Nordstrom Rack’s vast inventory — as well as HauteLook’s flash sales — can be found on the app at any time. Need a new suit for an interview fast, but the store’s already closed? Reserve some pieces and try them on when it opens. And of course all of Nordstrom’s regular perks, like free returns and detailed color catalogues, work through the app as well.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

The daily grind calls for daily coffee — and lots of it. But that cup of joe can add up, which is why I like to use the app for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to keep things easy and affordable. You can always purchase your favorite Coffee Bean products on their app or look up store locations to find the one that fits best into your routine. Speed things up by paying with a quick scan of the app, because anyone who’s dropped in for their brew on their way to work knows every second counts when you’re dealing with those endless morning-rush lines.

But I like this app for more than just its convenience. The Coffee Bean can save you time, but when you use the app it can also save you money. Exclusive savings on both bakery and beverages are often sent to app users. Not to mention, true caffeine lovers will save even more because the company’s rewards program gives you benefits just for using the app. Those rewards can include enough freebies and discounts to thrill anyone’s taste buds.

Target

Having options is key, and this app is right on Target. If you have some doubts about the usefulness of one-size-fits-all smartphone apps, you’ll love Target’s approach to things. You really can find just about anything at Target for very low prices, and you can find multiple app options there as well.

The base app is for people who want to shop without the clutter of unnecessary bells and whistles. Load up your credit cards, shop through the store’s massive selection, pre-order to skip the lines on the season’s hottest items, and list things on your Shopping List so you don’t forget anything when you head to the location nearest you. Speaking of location, not only can you find your closest store, but you can also find the exact location of the products you want within that store, so no more wandering aimlessly up and down crowded aisles.

My personal favorite feature is now being integrated into Target’s app system: Cartwheel delivers extra coupons on top of whatever manufacturer’s or store coupons you may have found elsewhere. It takes the hassle out of tracking down savings; use the app to scan barcodes as you shop and at checkout scan the Cartwheel barcode to deliver all those deals. It’s simple to figure out and I love that it takes the stress out of shopping. If there’s a bargain out there, I know it’s only an app away. And, yes, this clever, useful and very unique app is totally free!

Office Depot

Whether you’re setting up a workspace, looking for a new printer or stocking up for the new school year, Office Depot has what you need to be successful. And it should come as no surprise that a store with such a focus on keeping your office organized has all its deals organized as well. Don’t be overwhelmed by all the options: Download the free Office Depot app instead.

If Target’s coupon-gatherer app caught your attention, don’t miss out on this one, because all savings will be listed nice and neatly in the app’s coupon center. This makes it easier not only to know what’s on offer but to know when it expires — no more finding out about exclusions in the fine print at the cash register! And Office Depot rewards members can also keep track of their exclusive rewards certificates this way.

Of course the Target app has all the basic functions you’d expect. Compare prices and shop through the app. It’s one-stop shopping whenever you want.

Orbitz

You know what’s even more stressful than shopping for new clothes or battling coffee lines early in the morning? Planning your next big getaway. Sure, travel is fun, but trying to get the best deal on your travels can be a real nightmare, with offers flying out the window almost as soon as they land and countless rival sites cluttering up your search.

That’s why I rely on the Orbitz app, because it’s functional, convenient, and especially because it’s free. You’ll get the same real-time travel updates and trip-planner tools as you would on the desktop website. That’s crucial, because when you’re rushing to catch your plane you want to know that it’s been delayed even if you’re not dragging your laptop along with you. Get updated gate info and keep your itinerary on hand with the Orbitz app. App users also get special perks, including discounts on hotels and booking fees, which might make the difference between springing for a four-star experience and sticking with the roadside motel.

Loyal CouponSurf readers know that there are always many ways to save, and so they know to check out the expansive Orbitz rewards program. It’s fully integrated into the app experience, which means you can redeem those rewards as well. Plan your trip from your phone and enjoy having all the details one click of an app away.

There are a lot of great apps out there, but I like these because they help make some of the most common stressful things — buying clothes, getting ready for school, setting up a new vacation — a little less stressful. All of these apps are easy to use and designed for a smooth shopping experience. Plus they’re all free!