Holiday shopping is a necessary evil. It’s always fun to see the joy on your friends and families’ faces when opening gifts, but the time and effort it takes to get to that point is overwhelming. Holiday shopping is tough. It’s time intensive, tiring and it sucks away your disposable income.
To make your holiday shopping more efficient, less expensive and more enjoyable, Arc compiled a list of holiday shopping hacks that our mobile shopping experts personally use from the beginning to the not-so-bitter end of his holiday shopping season.
1. Make sure your favourite shopping companion (your smartphone) is prepped and ready.
More than ever before, your mobile phone is your most important holiday shopping partner. So to make sure your mobile phone is primed and ready to scoop up holiday deals both inside and outside the store – it only takes a few minutes – follow these simple steps for shopping success.
Power up. Avoid the dreaded ‘10 per cent battery life remaining’ message. Fashion designer Kate Spade recently unveiled a sleek, clutch purse with a phone charger built in so you can swipe, click and compare from sun up to sun down.
Flip on your Bluetooth. Make sure you’ve turned on the Bluetooth function on your phone (usually found within ‘settings’). Turning on your Bluetooth is simple and oh-so-important. This technology allows your phone to wirelessly connect and ‘talk’ to brick-and-mortar retail stores so you can receive special deals and discounts while holiday shopping.
Download three of the top, free mobile apps for deals, price comparing and store scouting. The first app you need is AroundMe. By using GPS and Wi-Fi, this app gives you the 411 on what’s nearby including stores, restaurants, parking and ATMs, so you can expertly plan your shopping trip. Next, download ShopSavvy. With the scan of a barcode, you can easily find the lowest prices and receive alerts for new price cuts and sales you might have otherwise missed. Lastly, be sure to download shopkick as tons of retailers are providing exclusive deals and discounts through this app. And, now that you’ve turned on your Bluetooth you’re set to receive those deals!
2. Shop without your wallet. Heck, never even leave the car.
This holiday season you should lose your wallet. No, really. Mobile wallet technology has never been easier to use. Most smartphones can be connected to your credit card so you’re able to tap or hover your phone at checkout instead of using a physical credit card. It’s faster and easier. If you have an iPhone, use Apple Pay. With a Samsung phone, use Samsung Pay. There’s even Android Pay. It’s as simple as storing your credit card data with a PIN code or fingerprint for verification. Hover your phone over the payment terminal at checkout and poof; you’ve paid.
Another shortcut? Hot new mobile app Curbside will find and buy products on your holiday wish list at nearby stores such as Target. Once purchased, drive to the nearest store, pull up to the curb, pop the trunk and Curbside employees load your gifts without you stepping foot outside your vehicle.
3. Think you can’t afford a personal shopper? Think again.
This holiday season, personal shopping is going mainstream with two top-notch innovations. The first is a free mobile app called, Operator. Type your gift list into the app and a real person answers you and makes arrangements to procure and ship your gifts directly to your doorstep. And be sure to download mobile shopping experience Mona, billed as the ‘smartest personal shopper’. Tell Mona the item you want, for how much and from what brand and every day the app will show items ready to be purchased that meet your specific request.
4. Forget a gift for Grandma? Have it delivered to her doorstep in a snap.
We all have that one family member who waits until the last possible second to purchase holiday gifts. Maybe they’re onto something as Amazon and Google are now catering to these types of shoppers. The Amazon Prime Now mobile app allows you to get anything from Amazon delivered to you in as little as one hour. Similarly, Google Express can get you anything from coffee, to a holiday ham to a guitar that same day. Procrastinators unite!
5. Clean up the holiday aftermath like a boss.
When the holidays are over and you’re stuck staring at the unicycle Uncle Bob gave you, along with piles of torn wrapping paper and stacks of shipping boxes, it’s time to use technology to get the mess cleaned up. TaskRabbit has a community of Taskers that help you get small jobs and tasks done quick. So hire someone to help organise your gifts, wash the dishes or take out the trash, while you put your feet up.
Spend too much this holiday season? Mobile app Paribus is your saving grace. The app was built on the premise ‘stores owe you money, and we are going to get it back for you’. The app scans your holiday email receipts and checks for lost deals on holiday gifts in order to redeem discounts when the price is less than what you paid.
And lastly, need some sustenance after coordinating all that holiday clean up? Text #EASYORDER or send a pizza emoji to Dominos and they will deliver a steaming hot pizza pie to you in 30 minutes!
What’s next? The future of holiday shopping.
You can look forward to even more hot new shopping innovations coming to a mobile phone, wearable or store near you. For example, MasterCard launched a new program last week that'll allow tech companies to make gadgets such as smart rings, car keys, and fitness trackers that can also be used to make credit card payments in stores, just like most new smartphones can with programs like Apple Pay and Android Pay. And the world’s first biometrically authenticated wearable credit card is on its way. MasterCard is partnering with Nymi to create a wristband that authenticates payments by using your own unique heartbeat. You’ll also be able to use it to check into your hotel room after that long day of holiday shopping.
Nick Jones is EVP, Head of Innovation at Leo Burnett/Arc