While many shoppers won’t be battling the crowds this year by purchasing all of their gifts online, many more will be in line waiting for the doors to open. Armed with their smartphones and tablets, customers will be using apps which offer up great gift ideas, ways to comparison-shop, and even opportunities to buy online while in the store. So, for those of us who fearlessly venture out to the mega-mall, take a look at a few ways technology will influence how we’re shopping this holiday season.

Mobile Apps

An interesting trend this holiday season is appearing in mobile apps for both smartphones and tablets. These apps are specifically created to make your in-store shopping experience as easy as possible. One app in particular enables you to scan a barcode with your smartphone and it will compare that products price to other stores and online retailers. Another app even lets you take a picture of the product, and it will likewise compare prices and availability. Still another allows you to skip the directory and locate the precise aisle placement of that prized gift.

Smartphone Marketing

Another interesting trend this season is in the strategies taken by marketers to hook us even when we’re not tied to our computers. Smartphone marketing may be the next big step in reaching consumers, and this holiday season will basically be the beta test. Many marketing agencies have set out to contact shoppers while they’re waiting in long lines, and offering big deals and discounts in “mobile-only” purchases.

Economical Technology Trends

This holiday season, we’ll have technology on our side in a number of ways. It will give us nearly unlimited access to pricing, availability, shipping costs, and more at our fingertips. And, at the same time, technology itself is in a battle for our attention. The Kindle Fire, iPad’s newest rival, is posing a real threat at over half the price. Apple’s iPhone is facing new competition every day. So for the consumer at this time, it may well be the best of both worlds should they have the means.

For those of us set on visiting the brick-and-mortars this season, technology can be a great help, from finding great prices to gift ideas. Apps can help us while we’re in the store, and our mobile phones may ring signaling that we’re paying too much! But the trends that make our shopping easier may take a backseat to those that signal the sign of these times: only the technologies that offer the very best value will be the hot commodities as the economy continues to stumble along.

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