Price Check: Finding Deals With a Phone

A new generation of mobile-phone software is helping consumers shop smarter this holiday season.

Browsing at a Best Buy Co. (BBY) store last week, 33-year-old Erik Olson picked up a Blu-ray version of the movie “Heat” and used the camera on his Motorola Inc. (MOT) Droid smart phone to scan the DVD’s bar-code label. Using an application called ShopSavvy, his phone checked prices for the movie at other stores. Best Buy wanted $26, but the phone told him Walmart.com (WMT) was charging $19.

“I ended up just buying it from Walmart.com,” says Mr. Olson, of El Cerrito, Calif. “If I see something at a store that catches my eye but the price seems kind of high, I’ll double check the price.”

Many shoppers are accustomed to using the Internet to research products and prices before they hit the mall. But now, mobile-shopping apps take that research on the road. Apps such as Big In Japan Inc.’s ShopSavvy and TheFind Inc.’s Where to Shop identify stores in the immediate vicinity that have a product you’re looking for, and then tell you which product is cheapest and closest.

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