Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a regular, the Visit Dubai app, released by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, remains one of the best sources of information on the city. For avid shoppers, the Shop, Dine, Relax section covers the emirate’s malls, souqs and hip boutiques.
Or you could go off the beaten path to visit local bazaars and farmers’ markets, returning with a few sun-ripened tomatoes and juicy nectarines. The Deals section lists discounts on almost everything under the sun — from go-karting to driving around in a rented Porsche.
We agree with ShopShopMe’s claim that the UAE is a “shopping haven for people from around the world”. We also think the app’s developers are bang on when they are “guessing that you love shopping”.
ShopShopMe is a comparative shopping app that wants to democratise the online shopping experience while saving you time and money. It trawls through hundreds of sites, including the likes of Souq, Carrefour, JadoPado and Namshi. You can further filter out the results by price, colour, shipping speed, payment methods, brands and more.
Another popular service Pricena allows users to compare prices in the UAE for thousands of products from 500 product categories and more than 50 online stores. Pricena — Arabic for our price — insists it has enough data to be able to show you the cheapest deals every time.
You can also set the app to alert you when prices drop for a particular product. The service keeps track of historical prices from all retailers and claims it is smart enough to see through fake discounts.
ShopperInput offers you a new way to make money while you shop. The app uses location tracking and presents you with a list of assignments you can take on in return for points and money. The more points you accumulate, the more interesting the assignments become.
Typically, these tasks include evaluating the performance of the sales staff at a store, participating in promotional activities and surveys, doing price or brand audits and helping the store figure out optimal product placements.
The Sallety app from the Department of Economic Development keeps track of food items and basic commodities at leading hypermarkets and stores in Dubai, including Carrefour, Al Maya, Choithrams, LuLu, aswaaq, Spinneys and Emirates Co-Op. It claims to track 270 items and saves you time plus money by pulling the best prices across stores.
Also use it to stay in the loop on store promotions, discounts and special offers, or to lodge complaints. One of its objectives is to become a virtual mall that respects and protects consumer rights.
Out of gas in the middle of cooking a seven-course meal? Well, open the Qshop app and order an LPG cylinder. The app provides access to a range of products and services wherever you are in Dubai — from groceries, water cans, beauty products and movie tickets to laundry, home cleaning and pest control and packers and movers.
You can scan barcodes to order and pay cash on delivery. It claims an average delivery time of 30 minutes and can be used to buy a single product or the entire month’s quota of household items.
The Dubai Mall
The world’s largest mall surely deserves an app of its own. Emaar Technologies, the makers of The Dubai Mall app, says the behemoth has more than 1,200 stores spread over 13 million square feet, making it rather easy to get lost or have a hard time finding a particular store. But help is just a tap away.
The Dubai Mall app wants to be your guide. It uses GPS and maps and shows you around the mall, or takes you to stores, entertainment venues and restaurants. The app lets you save your car’s location with a voice note, a picture or by pinning it on the parking map.
It promises you will “never miss a great deal in UAE malls”. Nearbuy monitors The Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre, Abu Dhabi Mall and Marina Mall among others for the best discounts, new collections and events. Using location tracking, it pops up these updates as you step into a mall.
Also follow favourite brands and get a snapshot of events at their stores. The app tracks more than 100 brands in the UAE, including H&M, Zara, IKEA, Sharaf DG, Splash, Adidas and Starbucks.
If you’re a hardcore shopper who can’t afford to take a break even to cook your next meal, fret not. Just download Foodonclick and continue the hunt for deals from more than thousand restaurants that deliver to your doors.
The app displays menus and dishes that range from pizza and burgers to Indian and Chinese — this solves the need to maintain your own menu stockpile. And there’s no more waiting on the line or miscommunication over the phone. Fire up the app and touch to order whatever you crave for.
If you love walking around soaking in the sights at your own pace and leisure, GPSmyCity offers self-guided walking tours to see the best of Dubai.
It comes baked with route maps and navigation features that will guide you from one point of interest to another. And the money you save on tour guides can be spent on shopping!
The app has two walks that cover shopping in Bur Dubai and Deira as well as a shopping and dining tour of The Walk JBR. You can also opt for the art and culture tour to pick up some interesting artifacts.
Eyeing that swanky new phone, but unsure what to do with the existing one? There’s an app for that. Dubizzle wants to be the place you go to for selling unwanted items or picking up second-hand goods.
You can buy and sell almost anything, from furniture to books to fashion items to cars and homes. You can even find a job here.
Airports today are an important shopping destination as well, offering everything from cosmetics to confectionery.
So, apart from keeping travellers informed on arrivals, departures and connecting flights, the official Dubai Airports app has a While You Are Here section, with details on restaurants and shops to visit, with locations.
And when you are done with the shopping, you can go through the 5 Cool Things To Do At Our Airport. Fancy a swim? You got it.