Go Mobile for a Better Black Friday

The first ever Black Friday —the day after the very first Thanksgiving — was probably pretty boring and a bit dark, long before anyone thought to call it black.

Historical records tell us it was freezing cold. There were no stores as we know them — so no “door buster sales” advertised on televisions that didn’t exist. No flyers about early-bird deals in newspapers not yet published. There was probably a lot of sleeping in after the hours-long feast we read about as school kids.

Some might say Black Friday in America has evolved, though others might call it a devolution. Consumers now line up at retail stores long before dawn for a head start on deals. All that remains from that first Friday is the cold temperatures.

“Still, we look forward to it every year,” says Alexandra DePyssler, who waited in line for six hours last year to score a deal on a big screen television for her husband. “It’s actually really fun — except when it’s below zero!”

We can’t do anything about the temperature but we do have a few suggestions to help you get the most out of the year’s busiest shopping day.

There is a high demand for Black Friday apps that would make shopping easier. According to the Verizon Wireless, KRC survey, 20 percent of people say they’ve stood in a Black Friday line for three or more hours. Additionally, 59 percent of those polled have used a smartphone to make Black Friday shopping easier. There are tons of apps to help serious shoppers find the best deals. The Black Friday app lets you check out retail ads the minute they are released, giving you the edge over those who don’t go online before getting in line. The app also lets you create a wish list and track prices for every item on it. In fact, 80 percent of people say knowing where to get the best Black Friday deals would make their experience easier, and 78 percent say that they would benefit from knowing which stores have the shortest lines

Why not skip the whole waiting-in-line thing all together with the TaskRabbit app on a phone or tablet? With a few clicks from the comfort of home, you can hire someone to wait in line for you. Yes, it’s true — you can now outsource errands you don’t want to do yourself!

If you do venture out, you’ll need to stay powered up. Grab a Mophie Juicepack external battery so your smartphone doesn’t die while playing Clash of Clans before the sun comes up. And while you’re at it, you’ll want to pack a MiFi Jetpack, too. It’s like bringing the Internet with you on the go. If you’re planning on sleeping, make sure to set an alarm on your Samsung Gear 2 Smartwatch so you don’t wake up after the deals are history.

Playing it fast and loose with the unwritten social rules of Black Friday? The Shopular app will alert you of coupons and nearby deals when you are in a store or mall. In fact, you don’t even have to open the app to be notified of savings opportunities — pop-up notifications get your attention with info on the nearby deals.

Cut your time at the cash register by making mobile payments on your smartphone. Two of the best-known methods — Softcard and Apple Pay — are accepted at retailers nationwide.

Your time in line needn’t be wasted, either. Use the InstaCart app to order dinner for the family (those turkey leftovers can wait), then check out RedStamp and design and order Christmas cards right from your phone while you wait.

Now that’s something to be thankful for.  

 Data usage applies for app download and use.

Ken Muche is a public relations manager at Verizon Wireless. Follow him on Twitter at: @VZWken.