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A Guide to the Best Shopping Apps for Your iPhone

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 12/4/2009

Now you have a slew of applications for your iPhone that will show you where you should be spending your money. Here's a list of the best ones for Amazon and eBay as well as an app to find and buy books.

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    Impulsive Indulgence

    The spontaneous consumption culture took a grand leap when internet shopping became a pervasive part of the international economic structure. Now people could remain alien from one another and still shop. This has been taken one step further during the smart phone revolution, and now the iPhone brings the same function to your pocket by having applications specifically targeted at internet retailers.

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    Amazon has proven itself to be the grand master of media sellers online. Though it began primarily as a book retailer, now you can get everything from sailboats to movie downloads off of their online marketplace. The application keeps the process fairly simple with a basic search function for item names and a cart to see what you want to purchase. If you are already a frequent customer you likely already have a log in account with all of your billing and shipping information that you can just sign in to. You get pretty much the same functionality as using the website but with a much more basic interface.

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    EBay, like Amazon, dominates the market in its respective field. The concept of personalized auctioning was too distant before the website made it a popular pastime for the commercialized masses. Similar to the Amazon application, you sign in to your existing eBay account and then search for items. You can customize the search by auction type, category, and how you want the results sorted. The structure of the application is also very basic, but gives you all the information that you would need to know. This includes how many people are watching a certain item and profiles for the sellers. It does not run quite as fast as it should for convenience, and the auto-complete text feature can be distracting.

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    Garage Sale

    If you are using eBay quite a bit you may want to also include Garage Sale. This application searches for the best prices on items in sixteen different eBay stores. This is an awkward program that does not offer many features, but for those who cannot go without constant bidding or watching, it may help you narrow things down.

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    Pocket Shop

    Pocket Shop is comparable to Garage Sale, but for Amazon. It allows for price comparisons and recommendation saving, while at the same time having a surprisingly simple interface. This is much better than Garage Sale, but still somewhat unnecessary unless you are using Amazon on a daily basis.

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    BookSearch is one of the best shopping applications you can get on your phone, but is relegated just to the world of “real life” books. You can search for a book, especially text books, and then it finds you the best prices from different web retailers. The interface is simple and lets you search by ISBN, title, author, and/or keyword. This is absolutely your best bet when trying to get the best deals on old fashion reading.

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    Buy Buy Buy

    There are many other applications for the iPhone intent on making you plug in to more money draining. Recently a Black Friday app was made available that feeds news about deals at stores on the unholy post-thanksgiving day celebration of materialist gluttony. This is standard for many of the free applications for the iPhone, similar to the dozens which are designed to inspire shopping from iTunes. Keep in mind that these are simply commercial advertisements and use them to your advantage instead of feeding into their common purpose.