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I was already a big fan of the eBay app, but now they’ve come up with a new one, the eBay Fashion app. It takes the ease of eBay shopping to a whole new level by allowing you to browse and even “try on” apparel that is available in the eBay world. You would never guess this is an auction site (unless you get to the bidding stage) because it is organized so well and has the look and feel of a fashion catalog. It allows you to check out the latest fashions, browse the vintage collection (I’m obsessed with the 70s), and it has a virtual closet function where you can see what your items look like when paired together! You can even upload a picture of yourself and superimpose the items on yourself. Of course, it also has the requisite email, facebook and twitter options as well. Best of all, it’s totally free.

What I love the most is that the people at eBay are thinking about how they can take advantage of mobile to really take their services to a whole new level. I guarantee that I will be using this app in the very near future.

Check out this demo for a walk-through of all the features:


I’ve always been a huge fan of the scanners at Macy’s that enable you to find out the actual price of an item after all the discounts have been calculated. Not only is it empowering to know what an awesome deal you’re getting, but it also makes shopping much more fun and interactive.

There are several mobile apps that have taken this concept one step further by allowing shoppers to comparison shop, i.e., to scan a barcode and search the internet for all the stores and websites that have that item available for purchase.

As a born-and-bred bargain shopper, this is exactly the kind of app I’m looking for to simplify my life. So I checked out two free ones: ShopSavvy and Red Laser.

Both are similar in the way they use the technology. Basically, you use the built-in camera on your phone to “scan” any barcode for its information. It sounds a lot easier than it actually is, though. You have to hold your phone extremely still for it to actually register, and you need to be careful there aren’t any shadows in the way. The scanners also don’t work so well in dim lighting.

On both, once the barcode is registered, they come up with a list of prices and places where you can find that item (including websites and nearby stores). Each one has a couple unique features too. For example, ShopSavvy allows you to register for price alerts, in case you prefer to wait for an item’s price to drop, and RedLaser lets you email searches to yourself.

Of the two, my preference goes to RedLaser, though. It goes beyond just being a price-checker by offering additional useful information. For example, it’s got a book-scanning function that tells you if a book is available at your neighborhood library. But perhaps the most awesome feature of all is its nutrition and health facts function, which lets you know about food allergens.

I’m an online shopper. In fact, in college, I suffered a slight addiction to it. I realized that one morning when the mailman greeted me with a Jennifer Lopez CD box set. Yikes.

But in my current life, online shopping has become more a necessity than anything. Between work, school and frequent travel, I rarely have time to go shopping during business hours, so Amazon and eBay now make frequent appearances in my browser history.

Of course, this compelled me to install both apps onto my phone, so that I could take care of shopping errands during little moments of downtime. Whether I’m waiting for a flight to board, on the bus or waiting for the 2 train at 96th St., I can get some serious shopping done with these apps. Talk about simplifying my life.

The Amazon app is pretty great. It syncs up with your existing Amazon account so that all your account information is automatically stored in its system. It allows you to do all the same stuff you can do with the actual site, including saving your favorites and even comparison shopping with other websites. And of course, Amazon is no longer just for books. In addition to buying majorly discounted text books, I’ve bought hair products, office supplies, wall art and even furniture on Amazon.

There’s also a cool feature on the mobile app called “Amazon Remembers”, which allows you to actually take a picture of an item you like, send it out to the Amazon community and get an email update once a seller matches what you’re looking for. Unfortunately, the match-up isn’t always that accurate. I took a picture of a multicolor striped pitcher and it sent me back a checkered creamer. But regardless, the concept is really cool and they send you a “match” in just a couple minutes.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate the Amazon app a 8. I just wish they could create a limited version that is functional even without wifi. And they should improve the Amazon Remembers function because it would be so awesome if it was actually accurate.

The eBay app is also pretty sweet. Again, it functions almost exactly like the website, with the added benefit of allowing you to bid even when you’re not by a computer. Similar to Amazon, it saves all your account information for added convenience.

With a simplified interface, the mobile app is actually easier to navigate than the website, especially when it comes to messaging buyers and sellers. It also has links to install other relevant apps, like PayPal and eBay Classifieds (for local buying/selling).

Of course, the best thing about the app is that it allows you to follow an item you’re bidding on and receive real-time updates. The “old school” version of this was text message updates, but that always seemed clunky to me. This is way cooler.

I’ve tried to come up with reasons for this to get anything lower than a 10 rating, but I’m at a loss.  Of course, it would be great if it were functional without wifi, but since eBay functions primarily as an online auction space as opposed to an existing database of items for sale, this is a pretty unrealistic desire. So, the eBay app gets a 10 out of 10.