Several apps like Fat Wallet's Black Friday App, Black Friday 2013 Ads and DealNews's Black Friday App give consumers the opportunity to search advertised deals. You can view specific stores or certain products and look at copies of printed ads or scroll through a list of deals on a particular product, like digital cameras. You also use the apps to build shopping lists.
Once you've found the sales, you want to make sure you load up on coupons. Retailmenot, CouponCabin and CouponSherpa all deliver discount coupons, and many of which can now be simply flashed at the cash register, where the bar code can be scanned from your phone.
If you're serious, you'll download all three: "They don't all have the same deal," notes Brandon Hunt, co-founder of the site DealScience.com, which collects and sorts deals from top coupon offering sites.
He notes that stores including those owned by Kohls, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sears, Jo-Ann Stores Holdings, and Office Depot will typically offer coupons and online promotions through those apps - so you shouldn't pay full price for items at those retailers.
Finally, don't forget your loyalty cards. You can load them onto your phone, too, with apps such as FidMe, Key Ring and Card Star. Like the coupons, the bar codes can be scanned off your phone.
Game time apps
The power of your smartphone will most likely be felt at game time - when you're in the store looking at the merchandise. Say, for example, that you are standing at the display about to grab a $300 flat screen television. Deal or no deal?
You can get the answer almost instantly, by checking apps like PriceGrabber, Amazon PriceCheck and ShopSavvy. They all allow consumers to scan a bar code through their phones to generate a list of prices that item is selling for elsewhere. While the Amazon.com Inc app is going to return prices from the online giant and its collection of sellers, you'll still get a quick take on how good a deal you're really getting.
If the price that pops up on your phone is better than what you find in the store, you've got some options. You could order it from the online seller with a lower price or head to the store that has the product for less. Or you could find a manager and present your findings and see if the store will match the price.
"It's an uncomfortable conversation and it's awkward," Goldstein acknowledges. But if you want to pay that price right then, it's worth a try."
Retailers are well aware of the increasing use of devices by consumers doing research while standing in store aisles - a practice known as "showrooming." Some smaller, local retailers have tried to ban the use of smartphones, fearing price comparisons will lead consumers out of their boutiques and onto the web.
But Goldstein says larger retailers are well aware of the trend and are more likely to match the price because they don't want to lose the sale. Wal-Mart and Target both have price match guarantees, although they limit that to prices offered by their main competitors or locally published ads.
You can also quickly find out what others think of a product you're about to buy. The iPhone app BuyorNot and Amazon's app can give consumers a quick window into what other consumers think. After all, is a big discount on a TV really such a good deal if most of the people who have posted reviews complained that it has a lousy picture?