(CBS NEWS) Black Friday, Cyber Monday or even the newly coined "Mobile Thursday" -- whatever you call it, the kick-off to holiday shopping has arrived. With retailers bombarding potential customers with extended deals and store hours, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Here are some mobile applications to help ease gridlock, bargain hunting and navigation.
Deal finders and price comparisons
TGI Black Friday (Android, iOS) - The TGI Black Friday app lets users search through deals from major retail stores in the U.S., including Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Kohls and Sears, among others. The listings include both retail and sale prices, as well as price comparisons between retailers.
Red Laser (Android, iOS, Windows Phone) - The Red Laser app lets users scan barcodes or take photos of an item to get a list of prices nearby or online.
Amazon Price Check (Android, iOS) - Similar to Red Laser, Amazon's Price Check app lets users scan items or take a photo to get a list of products for sale on Amazon.com.
Shopping guides for parents
ESRB (Android, iOS, Windows Phone) - Parents of gamers should definitely consider using this app before agreeing to buy a video game without seeing its rating. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is a non-profit organization that rates video games and apps. The ESRB app lets users either type in or say the name of a video game to get its ESRB rating.
Common Sense Media - Kids Media (iOS) - Common Sense Media is a non-profit organization that rates popular media like music, movies, TV shows, books, video games and mobile apps. The group offers a mobile app that use its three-color system: green, yellow and red. A number is also associated with the rating system, which is Common Sense Media's suggested minimum age for specific content.
Macy's (Android, iOS) - Macy's mobile app lets users find deals and find stores, but it also features savings passes and floor maps at select stores.
Google Maps (Android) - Android users can use Google Maps to see the floor plans of select malls and retailers, using its indoor floor plan initiative.
Foursquare (Android, BlackBerry, iOS) - Foursquare is mainly known for the location-based check-ins, but the mobile app is also great for finding nearby businesses, like restaurants or bars for shopping breaks.
This year, Foursquare has partners with retailers to offer discounts when users check-in. Users can get up to 40 percent off at Saks Fifth Avenue, 15 percent off at American Eagle, $20 off a $100 purchase at Sports Authority and a $10 gift card for every $75 spent at Toys 'R' Us.
Here's a pro-tip: Foursquare says that the peak time for shopping is 2 a.m. and that superstores have the shortest lines at 6 a.m.
Retailers get creative
Staples (Android, iOS) - This will be the first holiday shopping season that Staples will offer flash mobile deals. A Staples spokesperson told CBS News that starting at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, the retail giant will offer hourly deals for mobile shoppers.
eBay (Android, iOS, Windows Phone) - Online auction giant eBay will start mobile deals at 5:23 p.m., according to Ad Week.
Walmart (Android, iOS) - The Walmart app lets users find the closest store, look at the circulars for specific locations and scan barcodes to keep a running total cost of items in your cart.
Target (Android, iOS) - Target's mobile app will let users scan barcodes or QR codes and purchase items from the mobile app, which will be shipped home for free. In stores, the retail giant will offer free Wi-Fi and product reviews from CNET.
Best Buy (Android, iOS) - Shoppers will also be able to purchase items and have it shipped home straight from Best Buy's app.
Sears & Kmart (Android, iOS) - The Sears and Kmart apps let shoppers buy items scanned with the apps' barcode scanners. Sears starts listing doorbuster-sales on Wednesday night, and Kmart starts Thursday night. Sale associates at 500 Sears and Kmart locations will carry tablet computers, so that shoppers can check prices, inventory or even pay on the spot.