Retail ‘Snap Apps’ Offering Consumers Instant Buying Power

(CBS) — Starting Monday, you’ll have a new way to pay with your smartphone when Apple Pay officially launches. But today, deciding what to buy is already right at your fingertips.

CBS 2’s Erin Kennedy shows you a few apps that promise to make shopping a whole lot easier.

Have you ever seen something in a magazine you just have to have, right now?

“A lot of times, I’ll go and try to look that up, and it can be kind of difficult,” shopper Sandra Bohlken says.

CBS 2 asked her to try out one new app that could make her life easier. It’s called “In a Snap” by Target.

All you have to do is just take a picture of what you want in a magazine ad or a store ad, as long as you see the app icon on the page.

In the lab where Target developed the retail app, the team is now working on other ways to make shopping easier.

“I think, clearly, technology is changing the way we shop. Whether it’s image recognition, visual search, augmented reality — these are all things we’re testing,” Eddie Baeb, a Target spokesperson, says.

At Heels.com, you can input an image of must-have shoes and a visual search tool will either match the product exactly or bring up look-a-likes.

Apple has the “Camfind” app. You snap a photo of an item. The app recognizes it, describes it and shows you where to buy it.

Amy Curtis uses a similar app — Google Goggles.

“I use it to compare prices. I use it to search the internet for pictures and art,” she says.

There are some limitations. Sometimes, recognition tools are slow and they can’t ID everything just yet.

Google, for example, says its app is better at recognizing books, landmarks and products, but not as good with clothing.

Amy Curtis raises another issue: “It stores the pictures. And, it does tend to geo-tag things, which is always a privacy concern.”

However, she and Bohlken think giving up a little privacy is a fair trade for easy shopping.

To figure out what information any app is collecting and possibly sharing about you, read the app’s privacy policy.

Be aware, once you click over to a company site to purchase a product you’re under the website’s privacy rules. Much more information may be collected and shared.

More from Erin Kennedy

Watch & Listen LIVE