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<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/0-shopping-intro.jpg”>Now that it’s December, it’s time to begin shopping for the holidays. This can prove difficult at times, especially if you haven’t made an attempt to stay up with current trends. Browsing stores isn’t easy this time of year either, as they are often overrun by the holiday crowd, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for you could miss out.
In this article, I am going to show you the best free shopping apps you can utilize this holiday season. Having the ability to browse a store virtually from your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch should cut your shopping time significantly, leaving you more time to spend with your family.
To get started, check out our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide.
With the Amazon Mobile app installed on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, you can quickly search, shop, compare prices, read reviews, and make purchases on Amazon.com using a simple interface. Access your existing cart, wish lists, payment and shipping options, order history, and more right from the app, and all purchases made on Amazon Mobile are routed through Amazon’s secure servers just as they are on the web.
For the iPhone and the iPod Touch, the app also includes the experimental feature “Amazon Remembers” that allows you to use the camera on your device to create a visual list of things you want to remember while out-and-about. Amazon Remembers will even try to match your photo to products on the web, emailing you the results if there are any.
2. Best Buy
With the Best Buy app, you can gain access to the same weekly ads you’re used to looking at from the store. This app also lets you scan mobile codes and UPCs to get more information about Best Buy products. View product descriptions, detailed specs, ratings, reviews, related items, enlarged views, and compare items. Find the store closest to you or buy products through the app.
3. eBay Mobile
If you’re looking for some bargains, let’s not forget about eBay. With the eBay app, members can search, bid, and check their activity on the go. Place that last minute bid on a great gift or sell some of your junk to get extra money to go shopping elsewhere with.
4. Toys “R” Us
Toys “R” Us was always one of my favorite stores as a kid. As a parent though I would imagine it could be rather hard picking out the right gift there. This app makes it easier, allowing you to browse/purchase products online, get detailed item views, check out special offers, and read helpful reviews. Or you could just let your kid play around with it and tell you what they want.
Another good app you should look into is ToyHopper (free for a limited time).
5. Macy’s iShop
I never expected Macy’s to have an iPhone app, but they do! Macy’s iShop puts their entire online store right on your iOS device, so you can shop from anywhere. Use it to find stores near you, get calendars of in-store events, and locate the best deals.
The app even uses your device’s built-in GPS capabilities to provide directions to the Macy’s store nearest you. Download in-store savings passes and head to the store already prepared.
The Rakuten.com mobile shopping app houses millions of products. Use it to watch thousands of BuyTV video product reviews, shop hundreds of new deals each day, and browse tons of customer reviews. All activity and orders are routed through Rakuten.com’s secure servers just as they are on the web.
Some interesting features include voice search, price compare, video reviews including top 10 countdowns and product trailers, and weekly specials listings.
As a change of pace, CardStar is a good tool to use while shopping. This app lets you easily store and quickly retrieve loyalty, reward, and club membership cards, where they can be scanned directly from your screen at many merchant’s. Use CardStar to enter card information for numerous national and regional merchants, like CVS, Best Buy, Blockbuster, and PetSmart, as well as other stores. Add custom cards too.
Some other cool features include SyncScan for compatibility with many models of scanning guns, backup/syncing of your cards, automatic card launch based on your location, and the ability to check into Foursquare right from the app.
[Note]: If a barcode ever doesn’t scan, CardStar displays your membership number so that you or the cashier can enter the number by hand.
We can’t leave out Target! The Target App makes shopping easier for you by giving you products to browse and search, ability to check item availability and aisle location, view the weekly ad, manage your lists and registries, and discover daily deals.
It also includes a barcode scanner so you can check reviews while you’re at the store.
FastMall is a really cool app that lets you navigate any mall map without the need for GPS of Wifi. Once you download a mall map you can get interactive navigation even without an Internet signal.
Use it to help remember where you parked your car, add a text, photo, or video review of anything you find, and share things with others. Check-in at the mall or stores you love and shake your iPhone to locate and then be taken to the nearest restroom!
FastMall has over 50 features and is a super fast way to navigate any of the malls you visit to go shopping.
10. Apple Store
And last but certainly not least, the Apple Store app. I figured if you’re reading this you probably have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, so maybe you could consider shopping at the Apple Store for gifts this holiday season. This one’s pretty self-explanatory, enjoy!
With these shopping apps, there’s really no reason to set foot outside of your house for shopping during these winter months. You can browse your favorite stores, find the best deals, and even make purchases right from your iOS devices.
Are you using any apps during the holiday shopping season?
Image Credit: Andresr