An iPad can be a powerful tool for work, for play, and for creating, but it’s also an amazing leisure device as well. In addition to the many media consumption use cases, such as watching videos, scrolling through social media, reading up on the news, and more, it’s without surprise that the iPad makes a great shopping device.
Sitting back and relaxing on the couch, doing a bit of online shopping with an iPad can be a dangerous place for some of us. But hey, if you’re not afraid of what your bank account might end up looking like, you at least need some solid iPad shopping apps. So – what are the best shopping apps for iPad? Let’s take a look at some of our favorites.
Don’t see your favorite listed? Let us know about it in the comments below!
What shopping apps list would be complete without Amazon? The online shopping giant’s iPad app offers a comparable experience to it’s desktop counterpart – if you’ve shopped with Amazon before, this will feel very familiar to you. Members have access to their account settings, wish lists, past orders and more, and Prime members of course still have access to all their benefits. Amazon’s catalog of items from various sellers across the web is superior to practically every online retailer.
While the design and experience of the app could use some work, it’s not quite enough to keep users away from the great savings and convenience that Amazon provides. If deals are what you’re in this for, you’ll be happy to find a built-out tab in the app dedicated to deep savings. Lightning Deals are only available for a limited time, and to a limited number of buyers, but the app allows you to sign up for deal alerts on your device.
Overall, I’m not a huge fan of the app itself, but still find myself going back to it just because it is Amazon. If you’re privy to shopping from your iPad, but are hooked on Amazon’s services and inventory, this is an obvious choice.
If you aren’t familiar with B&H Photo, let me just say – you’re welcome. B&H is the tech enthusiast’s dream come true. When it comes to finding gear of all kinds – including photography, audio, gaming, computing, office furniture and more – B&H is an easy go-to.
What impresses me most about the B&H app for iPad is how they’ve managed to neatly organize a mass of product. Not at one point in my countless hours of browsing various tech have I found myself feeling lost or overwhelmed. B&H doesn’t have the most modern of designs, but one thing they’ve nailed in this app is a simple browsing experience. Each category, followed by numerous sub-categories, makes it easy to find the product you need.
Outside of the browsing experience, the B&H app offers quick access to limited-time deals, as well as customer support – something they are known quite well for. The account function inside the app allows you to save guides and manuals from some of the gear you have purchased which is convenient for when you might need it later. Since we all like to engage in the occasional bout of window shopping, the built-in wishlist feature is something you might also find handy.
Ok, so this one is not technically a shopping app, but it’s landed itself a spot because it can save you a little dough at checkout. There are countless memes that circulate the internet about people going in to Target for one thing, but coming out with a cart. At least with Cartwheel, you can do it in a budget-friendly way.
Cartwheel is basically a digital rolodex of coupons for stuff you buy everyday. Once you’ve created an account, you can delve into the categories of coupons available. Think of this app as a way to prepare before you leave the house – that’s shopping smarter. If you’re going to the store for groceries, check out the “food” category and see what savings are available.
If you find a coupon for something you plan to buy, add it to your list. Once you’ve found all that there is to find, you’re ready to head out. At checkout, the cashier simply scans one barcode that will apply all of your available coupons. Even better, if you’ve picked up something as an impulse buy, you can scan the item’s barcode from the app to see if any savings are available. Pretty nifty. I must say, my wife loves this app, especially seeing how much money we have saved over the past year (the app shows you this detail.)
The Houzz app has made it onto iPad app lists of ours in the past, but this is the first time as a dedicated “shopping app.” Though Houzz is used primarily to find inspiration for the home (decorating ideas, furniture, projects, etc.) it does an excellent job of creating an integrated shopping experience for users. It’s actually a very smart approach on their behalf.
The app is very reminiscent of the Pinterest experience. Search for a something you are interested in seeing ideas on, and scroll through a highly-visual list of results. While browsing through the inspirational photos, you’ll presented with the option to click on various items in the photos. Doing so brings up details about the items, along with a price and the ability to add them to your cart. Of course these are not items sold directly by Houzz, but you can get the manufacturer and seller names if you want to do your own research on the quality of the pieces.
Outside of that, you can actually use the iPad’s camera to get a virtual look at what a particular piece of furniture or art will look like in your room. I’ll say, this isn’t the best user experience, but it’s pretty cool getting to see how something might look before purchasing. Overall, it’s that interactive and involved experience that finds Houzz on the list of best shopping apps for iPad.
JackThreads is a shopping app created for the stylish, fashion-forward guy. They have a ton of limited-run apparel and “curated gear from up-and-coming brands” available in a clean user-friendly app. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a fashionable person, but from the time I’ve spent inside this app, it seems like a great place to shop if you’re tired of the typically clothing you might find at your local mall (unless you live somewhere awesome in which your mall has a ton of cool stores.) In fact, my first experience with this app was few years back when I picked up a Members Only jacket – something I would never find in stores around me.
Besides the clean, well-designed and fast shopping experience, there is something really cool that puts it up there with my favorites. It’s called Tryouts. Unlike most online shopping apps that just want to take your money as fast as they possibly can, JackThreads encourages you to make sure the item is going to work for you before you keep it.
Once you’ve chosen all of your gear, instead of proceeding to “checkout,” you’ll proceed to “Tryout.” JackThreads will send you everything in your cart, no limit on quantity, completely free. Once your items arrive, you have one week to try them out and decide what you want to keep. You pay for the items you keep, and the ones you don’t, you send back – free shipping on the return as well. This is an excellent experience for anyone like me who hates trying on clothes in-store.
Coming in as another recommendation from my wife, Jane is an app geared toward women who love a bargain and who also love unique, boutique (hey, that rhymed) items. Each day, logging in brings up fresh deals to explore. Those who have created an account can get a sneak peek at upcoming deals so they know what to look out for. Jane offers a familiar browsing experience, taking cues from the likes of Pinterest and integrating a sort of social aspect to shopping.
For instance, users can mark items as favorites to save for later, but that information displays on each of the products in the search results. So, you can see what’s popular with other users when deciding what to purchase. Overall, the app has a very modern feel that makes looking through a large assortment of items quite enjoyable (again, mostly geared toward women.)
In today’s economy, saving money is no longer the poor man’s sport – it’s the every man’s sport. There are tons of shopping apps with the goal of saving you money, but Jet.com – a relative newcomer in the shopping space – is far and away one of our favorites. The Jet.com app for iPad gives you instant access to savings with no membership or annual fees required, but more interesting are the options you have to shave a little more off the top at checkout. For instance, bundling items with a tag icon will save you money because these items can be packaged and shipped together. You can also opt-out of free returns on certain items, and pay with debit card instead of credit card to earn additional percentages off your purchase. Pretty neat.
If you spend any time watching TV, you’ve likely seen the quirky spots promoting this app. The premise is this. Buy and sell second-hand items, faster, easier and safer. While the commercials are humorous and lighthearted, this app is actually quite good. There are a ton of features built-in that would entice me to use this instead of some of the other popular classified sites. One of those feature is the ability to view full user profiles of sellers so you know exactly who you’re buying from (theoretically.)
In addition to that, there is a chat function bundled into the app so you won’t need to jump from app to app in order to get in touch with buyers and sellers. There are some other gimmicky features in the letgo app, like being able to produce “commercials” for the products you’re selling, but when it comes down to the core of the app, it’s the simple and quick experience buying and selling second-hand that make this a contender.
Similar to Jane and JackThreads, the Touch of Modern iPad app helps users find a ton of merchandise that you typically wouldn’t see everyday. The items you’ll find here are, well, modern as well as stylish and in some cases, pretty affordable (and pretty expensive in others.) The sales in the app are only available for 5 days, but I was really impressed with the inventory available. If you like discovering new brands, Touch of Modern is an excellent choice, but you will also stumble upon brands with which you are already familiar. The app is definitely designed to appeal to tech enthusiasts, gear-heads and those interested in fashion. But, if you don’t fit that description, this is also a great app for gift shopping when the holidays are approaching.
As far as the app experience goes, I think they could do a bit better. It seems the developers were going for a simple approach in which users could quickly jump in and start finding deals. While this is true, I was a bit disappointed in the lack of a few key features. For instance there aren’t any real categories in which to filter your search up front. There are a ton of cool items, but I don’t want to scroll through them all to find something I’m interested it. There is a big missed opportunity here for the app to define your interests when setting up the account so at least you feel that your results are somewhat tailored.
Speaking of gear-heads, if you are one, we have another app that will be right up your alley. Uncrate has been around for a little over a decade now and has always been committed to finding unique items – cars, tech, apparel, etc. – that you might not have otherwise known existed. As a gear and tech enthusiast myself, I find it incredibly hard not to get sucked into this app, just marveling at the number of items I didn’t realize I “needed” until that moment.
Probably one of the best features of this app is that you can start browsing without ever having to sign in or create an account. This means your experience of looking at $1.5 Million jets, solid marble kettle bells, lawn mowing robots or secluded houses in the middle of scenic escapes for sale (yes these are real) isn’t impeded by even a second.
However, if you do choose to create an account, you can “stash” items you like to view later – in case you ever become filthy rich. I joke the extremely pricey items in the app, but there are also so everyday affordable things that you are sure to love. For me, I’ll continue finding pleasure in viewing things I can’t afford.
Whether you’re looking for bargains, or for incredibly unique and expensive finds, you’ll find something for everyone in this list of best shopping apps for iPad. When shopping on your iPad, what is your go-to app? Let us know in the comments below!