Your smartphone has leveled the playing field between your favorite store and you -- giving you tremendous shopping power. Now you can know nearly as much as they do about the true cost of that TV, dress or fruit parfait you've been eyeing.
The upshot: You can save big bucks by shopping other retailers right in the aisle with price-comparison apps.
"Showrooming," the act where consumers look at products in store and then research or buy online, has become the norm in retail. But poking around a bunch of websites can be a hassle, especially while you're standing in an aisle.
Leah Ingram, founder of the website Suddenly Frugal, says price-comparison apps allow you to scan product bar codes and easily shop other retailers on the spot.
"These apps let you literally see what the same products cost either down the street or online. You can make these buying decisions in the moment and save a lot of money," says Ingram.
Here are 3 price-comparison apps that can help you save big while shopping.
RedLaser (Android, iOS, Windows)
RedLaser is a bar code scanner app that shows you how much different retailers charge for the same product. Simply scan the product bar code and view prices online and at nearby stores, along with reviews and similar product recommendations.
You can add your scanned products to lists and organize them for quick retrieval, which is a great way to do more research and product comparisons while browsing in the store.
One of the coolest parts of RedLaser: You can scan and store loyalty cards from hundreds of retailers.
ShopSavvy (Android, iOS)
ShopSavvy features an easy-to-navigate main page with a scrollable display of constantly updated sales and offers at major retailers.
The bar code scanner quickly retrieves data and prices from dozens of retailers. You can also text or email your findings to anyone. Tap the retailer's icon, and you'll be taken directly to its website for ordering.
App users can also share new sale and discount findings with the ShopSavvy community. One function allows you to find sales and deals in your area; there's also an alert function that notifies you when designated products go on sale.