With the 2012 Holiday shopping season officially beginning on Black Friday, consumers have begun to seek out product reviews and price comparisons in order to find the best deals for this year’s “must have” items and according to recent market research conducted by Adobe, search engines and social media will be the most effective tools for shoppers this season.

Adobe Black Friday ResearchGraphic courtesy of Adobe Digital Index

The Adobe study indicates that 2012 will break retail records in its final months, with $2 billion in sales forecasted for Cyber Monday alone and a total of $96 billion in online sales expected between now and the end of December.  The driving forces behind these huge numbers are search engines and social media.  With an estimated 24% of all holiday sales coming from mobile devices, it is apparent that tablets and smartphones will also play an instrumental role in sales this season and going forward.

Surprisingly, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not the only significant days for shoppers this season.  Free Shipping Day, which takes place on Dec. 17th this year, is expected to generate millions in last-minute sales for online retailers.

With millions of shoppers worldwide using Web search, social media and mobile devices this year, it is crucial for retailers to enhance their online presence and visibility in order to capitalize on what looks to be the biggest season in retail history.  This season will also be important to SEOs, as various retailers will increase their emphasis on Internet marketing initiatives in order to gain more traction online and compete with retail giants on the Web.

Have you read Dan Heinkel’s recent post about Holiday shopping apps?  If not, check it out here and as always, feel free to reach out to me at brymshaw@webimax.com or on Twitter: @brwebimax.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I can taste it already.  Can you?

No, I’m not talking about the mounds of savory stuffing and tender turkey smothered in grandma’s gravy (how’s that for some Thanksgiving alliteration).  I’m talking about the sweet taste of accomplishment after tracking down a coveted Black Friday deal.

But how exactly do you hunt down that perfect deal among the herds of bargain shoppers?

You can do things the old-fashioned way and start clipping coupons, or you can put that smartphone to good use.  To be cliché for a second: Black Friday–there’s an app for that.

So, without further ado, here are the 5 must-have mobile apps for a successful Black Friday this year.

Note: In the spirit of Black Friday, all of these apps are free–it wouldn’t be right otherwise.

TGI Black Friday

The TGI Black Friday app serves as a hub for all Black Friday deals.  Through this app, you can search thousands of up-to-date deals across different stores and categories.  You can also compare prices to make sure you’re getting the absolute best Black Friday deal.  Available for iPhone and Android.

Cheap TVs Black Friday

TGI Black Friday App

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopkick

Think you deserve a reward for diving into the trenches and conquering Black Friday?  Well so does Shopkick.  With this app, you can unlock deals and points (“kicks”) by opening the app in certain major retail stores–Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, etc.  You can also receive “kicks” by scanning featured products on your phone.  Rewards include gift cards, movie tickets, and more.  Oh, and did I mention these points are nearly doubled on Black Friday? In other words, you’ll be saving while saving. Available for iPhone and Android.

Black Friday Shopkick app

FastMall

Can’t remember which side of the mall Old Navy is on?  Suffering from shopping fatigue and need to refuel at the food court? Need to locate the closest bathroom?  FastMall has you covered.  It serves as an interactive map of the mall on your phone, complete with turn-by-turn directions to stores and restaurants, as well as current store deals.  Available for iPhone and Android.

mall map

Mint

Once you’re in the mall, it’s easy to start justifying your spending. That $75 pair of jeans suddenly sounds reasonable once you’re holding them in front of you.  Let Mint keep you in check. This app allows you to set budgets and monitor your balances and transactions right from your phone. Available for iPhone and Android.

Mint App - BalancesMint Spending

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Friday Deals 2012

Like the TGI Black Friday app, the Black Friday Deals 2012 app supplies ads from all the major retail stores.  However, it includes one additional feature that’s worth mentioning.  You can access Twitter and Facebook directly from the app, allowing you to get up-to-the-second updates from stores and fellow shoppers. Currently only available on Android devices.

Black Friday Deals 2012

Now, as cool and helpful as these apps may be, they (unfortunately) won’t do the shopping for you. With that said, I wish you the best of luck, bargain shoppers.