Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Holiday Shopping Made Easier With Mobile Apps

We are all aware that holiday shopping can be a daunting task. Consumers have to fight long lines, out of stock items and other shoppers for the chance to get our hands on the best deals. With the influx of smartphone, and tablets to the mix retailers are adding in an array of digital offerings that might help alleviate the hardships faced by the tech savy holiday shopper.

Several major retailers including Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Brookstone, Kmart, J.C. Penney and the Disney Stores have rolled out new apps geared specifically for holiday shoppers.

The new mobile based applications have grown in sophistication as retailers strive to give today's shopper more choices. No longer do tech wielding shoppers just want brief product information and pricing. They want to compare prices, receive discount offers, buy products and even get in-store maps through their handheld devices. According to a National Retail Federation/BIGresearch survey more than half of all shops this year own smartphones and plan to use them during holiday shopping. And 71% of tablet owners have said they will use their devices to tackle holiday tasks.

To better prepare for the tech-savvy holiday shopper, half of retailers significantly invested in mobile-optimized websites, while one in five chose to create tablet specific apps.

Wal-Mart's newest offering includes an enhanced iPhone app that allows users to add shopping list items by speaking, typing or scanning bar codes. It also provides the price, local store availability and, in select markets, aisle location of those items.

For many, these devices are "indispensable tools," says Mike Gatti, executive director of the NRF's marketing division. "They allow you to shop wherever and whenever you want."

Checkout these great apps for your 2011 holiday shopping season:

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