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Best iPhone shopping apps

Shopping on the iPhone is a streamlined experience. None of the traipsing round shops with moaning kids, or bashing through crowds on shopping streets to grab a DVD or t-shirt. Instead just sit back, relax, whip your phone out of your pocket and fire up these shopping apps.

They represent the best in iPhone shopping experiences and have all the major purchasing bases covered, from food to DVDs, clothes and games. As you would expect, most of the big boys are in there, but there is a surprise or two to keep your shopping interesting. Read on to find out Pocket-lint's portable purchasing picks.

eBay mobile

eBay on the iPhone is a slightly dangerous app. It is extremely smooth and highly formidable as a purchasing channel. Having it in your pocket means its easy to fire the thing up and then just place a bid on something on the bus. The end result is a drastically increased amount of purchasing using the website. For those with unlimited money this is a good thing, for everyone else, just watch it.

What you get is pretty much what you expect. Full access to your message centre, your auction items, your watch list and all the browsing you can eat which also includes a handy eBay deals section. In fact, there's very little on the major site that you won't find on the app but there is one thing on your mobile that you can't get on the web version - a barcode scanner. Solid, handy and an obvious download.

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 5/5

Tesco groceries

Tesco's iPhone app allows you to do all your food shopping from the comfort of your mobile. Like Amazon's application, it also includes a barcode scanner so you can add goodies to your shopping list while out and about.

Say for example your little ones get through the last of the yoghurts, then you can scan in the product's barcode and pick up an automatic replacement with your next Tesco delivery. The rest of the app is of course a fully featured online grocery service, allowing you to pick up anything you would be able to on the Tesco website. It is straightforward and easy to use and can go through the whole order process, including setting delivery times and dates. Things go one step further with the Tesco app as it can also display nutritional information and storage information for different products. This is very useful for those with allergies or if you have specific dietary requirements. In practice we found it easier identifying certain ingredients amongst hundreds of products using the app than a conventional supermarket. Good stuff from Tesco and well worth a download. Read more

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 5/5

Amazon mobile

Everyone is familiar with Amazon. If nothing else, it's played a huge part in making internet shopping work. The breadth of stock that the store now has and at very competitive prices, makes it a compelling option when shopping online.

Online shopping is great when you know what you want, but nothing quite beats walking through a department store browsing for inspiration. This is where Amazon Mobile really comes in. Not only will the app let you search, but it also offers barcode scanning, so you can pick up something you fancy and see if it's available for cheaper. Not only that, but because the app links into your Amazon account you can then go through to order the item. You might be walking along when your other half says they'd like a CD or DVD. No problem, fire up the Amazon app and within a minute it's done. No need to join the masses at the tills fighting to pay.

Shopping feels like a surprisingly connected experience when you can scan and compare without having to do anything at all. Of course, it also clears up some of those other shopping mishaps: when you say you'll buy it online, only to find it isn't available. A quick check and you'll know. High street stores do struggle to compete in the face of the online onslaught and with the Amazon Mobile app in your armoury, you're better placed to battle for bargains and get the best deal for yourself. Read more

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 5/5

Ocado

Ocado is a home delivery service that's most famous for selling Waitrose products and delivering them to your door (it also sells its own other stuff like flowers and books - bet you didn't know that), so you don't have to traipse around the supermarket bored. The free app lets you add food to your shopping basket throughout the week before it's then sent out to you at a delivery time of your choosing.

The interface is incredibly clean with various views to make it easier to understand, and the idea that you can be on the bus doing your food shop is incredibly appealing and in practice easy. Once you're ready to commit, you can then choose a delivery date, opt for a cheaper one if someone else in your area has also gone for the same slot and then pay. No computer to faff with, no hour wasted in your local supermarket.

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 5/5

O2 Priority Moments

O2's take on location-based deals is an app that's especially for O2 customers, granting them access to some pretty juicy offers. Brands such as Yo Sushi! and Halfords are involved in the deals setup, with significant savings to be made on things like food and shopping. The Odeon is even offering half price adult and teenager tickets between Sunday and Thursday. Deals are instantly redeemable and nearly all of the 30 partners O2 have teamed up with have something good to offer.

If you are struggling to get your head round exactly how the app works, hit info -  inside is a step by step guide to using Priority Moments. We definitely like the idea of network specific deals, especially given that O2 is claiming a possible £105 saving per month. Whilst we expect that only applies to the biggest of spenders, the odd cheap cinema trip or half price spa treatment (if that's your thing), is definitely worth indulging in. Read more

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 3/5

Quidco

Restaurant fans and the shopping obsessed will like this one. Using a Foursquare style check-in system, the Quidco app allows you to get location based discounts, finding things like nearby deals and two for one offers. Select shops will even pay you for your check in with anything up to 50p. The app tailors the offers based on your own user profile. This means you only get what is relevant to you. Once you have picked out a deal you like, head into the shop and show the barcode or voucher code to the shop assistant. Checking in is done once inside the premises.

The app also integrates completely into Facebook and Twitter, meaning you can share deals with friends. The UI is simple and straightforward, with nearby and dedicated search buttons under separate tabs. My Quidco allows you to manage your profile in app. Check out Quidco's website to see more of the over 3000 restaurants and shops involved. Read more

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 3/5

Key Ring Reward Cards

Key Ring is the kind of app that every phone should be able to do but, for now, it seems stuck on either just iPhone or Android. The only hardware it requires to run is a camera and a half decent screen but the bar code scanning software doesn't seem to have made it to all the Nokias, BlackBerrys and feature phones of the world just yet. Assuming you have a compatible handset, all you have to do is scan in the barcodes of your store cards - or enter them manually if there's only a membership number - and the app then recreates a suitable version of the barcode on your screen which can be called up at any time.

The idea is that while you're in the shopping queue at Budgens, you whip out your phone, load up the Key Ring app, select Budgens from your menu and it'll bring up your barcode ready to have scanned by the shop assistant when they're done totting up your groceries or you can run it through yourself if you're at a self service machine.

Either way, it's easy loyalty points without having to take anything out of your wallet or remember to put it in there in the first place.Once your cards are stored in your phone, the details are backed up in the cloud, so you've no need to worry about losing your handset or having to input all the details again when you decide to upgrade. The other major advantage is that you can scan the same loyalty card details into the phones of all your family members so that you're all collecting reward points on the same account. Read more

Market: iTunes

Price: Free

Rating: 3/5

 




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