Momster | Blog | Comparison Shopping is Fast and Easy on Your Smartphone

As I’ve said, I’m a fan of online shopping. I even do it when I’m shopping in real-world stores. and I’m sure I’m not alone. In fact, according to a PriceGrabber back-to-school survey, 37% of shoppers plan to compare prices on their mobile phone while shopping in brick and mortar stores.

Why not? I have a data phone in my pocket. Why not make it earn its keep?

Recently, for example, my son announced he needed hiking boots. We were readying for a hiking trip, so I grabbed my laptop to order a pair to ship to us before we hit the road. but Cole, annoyed by my hyper-efficiency, wanted to go to a local store and try shoes on the old-fashioned way.

He wears a size 13 shoe so this is never fruitful. and I tried to tell him this. but he’s a teenager so he already knows everything. No matter. I like to shop, he’s good company, so off we went. We went to a sporting good store with a large selection, but they had exactly one pair of boots in his size. the pair he liked was not available in anything he could fit his feet into.

So I got out my cell phone, opened the (free) RedLaser app, and scanned the barcode on the boot he liked with my smartphone’s camera. I was quickly looking at a list of online stores that carried it, along with prices. if any local stores carried it (none did), the app would also tell me about those. I located the boot (it was cheaper too) within a couple of seconds. now we had a choice: the one shoe the store had on hand right now or the shoe and price we wanted in a few days. Cole opted for the pair on his feet. but next time I’m sure he’ll shop online before he goes to the store.

This sort of comparison shopping once took a lot of web surfing and driving around town. now all it takes is a few minutes with a cell phone. A teenager who appreciates his mother’s hyper-efficiency, though, will probably take a lot more time.

Christina Tynan-Wood writes the Family Tech column for Family Circle, and is the author of “How to Be a Geek Goddess.”You can find her at, as well as here on

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Momster | Blog | Comparison Shopping is Fast and Easy on Your Smartphone

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