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ShopSmart: Best Sites & Apps For Shopping Local

Poll of dedicated local shoppers finds four out of ten women plan to shop independents this holiday season and reveals five of the top reasons why they do so all year long

YONKERS, N.Y. , Nov. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When shopping local, shoppers may have a few go-to stores, but there are sites and apps that can uncover other local gems in time for the holiday shopping season. The December 2012 issue of ShopSmart, from Consumer Reports, identifies 11 sites and apps to help shoppers navigate their local businesses and even score discounts and deals.

"Shopping at local, independently-owned stores doesn't necessarily mean you'll spend more," said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. "Shoppers can use sites and apps to find coupons and other special promotions from these retailers."

ShopSmart also conducted a national poll to find out why and where American women shop locally.  Respondents deemed thrift stores/consignment shops as their favorite type of independent store by far, followed by hobby/craft supplies, clothing boutiques, bookstores and antiques.  When asked why they shopped locally, the women who had a favorite store named the following (other than price) as their top five reasons:
  1. Fun to browse (40 %)
  2. To support small-business owners (34%)
  3. Customer service (29%)
  4. Location (27%)
  5. Unique or specialty products (25%)

Here are four sites and apps that can help shoppers navigate local businesses--the entire list is featured in ShopSmart's December issue:
  1. Dealize.com helps users stay on top of deals by sending a daily e-mail comprised of all the day's offers from Groupon, Living Social, and others which can often save 50 percent or more on local eats, goods and services. 
  2. IndependentWeStand.com is best for finding independently owned businesses by ZIP code. The database isn't totally complete yet but is growing.
  3. Valpak Local Savings app features coupons for local retailers and services such as chimney cleaning and taxis.  Available for Android and Apple.
  4. Yelp.com is best known for its restaurant reviews, but it also lists local shops so users can see what other people think of retailers, service pros, and others.  Yelp app users can score check-in discounts as well.  Available for Android, Apple, and Blackberry.

The full report "Shop local & Save! Why it really pays to visit downtown stores this holiday season" is featured in the December issue of ShopSmart magazine.  It also identifies seven smart ways to save when shopping local, 15 local websites worth browsing and three new trends in local shopping.

About Consumer Reports:

Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

About ShopSmart magazine:

Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon the publication's celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. ShopSmart features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and "best of the best" lists. It's ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at www.ShopSmartmag.org.

ShopSmart is available 10 times a year. Subscribe at www.ShopSmartmag.org.

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