11 Tips for Dealing With Holiday Shopping Crowds

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Venturing out to do your holiday shopping doesn’t have to be a daunting excursion. With the right tech at your fingertips and a little innovative thinking, your shopping trips can be smarter and smoother than ever.

1. Be a Smarter Parker

One of the biggest tribulations of holiday shopping begins before you even set foot in a store. Finding a parking spot during the busiest season at malls and stores can feel like an impossible task in its own right, but the right app can navigate the problem for you. ParkMe takes the searching and guesswork out of finding a spot—it will help you find the closest and cheapest available parking at over 100,000 locations. Better yet, the app allows you to reserve a space in advance so you’ll know it’s waiting for you.

2. Make the Mall Obsolete

The rise of online shopping has eliminated much of the need to battle crowds, but some items, like shoes, require an in-person store visit to ensure they fit, right? Not anymore. Shoefitr has come up with an innovative way to eliminate trips to the shoe store. By 3D scanning the insides of thousands of models of shoes with extreme precision, Shoefitr has developed a database that gives potential buyers a much clearer idea of how shoes will actually fit than they would receive just reading numbers on the box. Just tell Shoefitr what size you’re wearing in a pair of shoes you currently own and love, and the app will let you know what size to buy in the shoe you’re considering.

3. Let Your Phone Lead the Way

If you’ve been doing your window shopping online but need to make a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store, Google Now can revolutionize your holiday season. The app will clue you in if an item you’ve been searching for online is for sale at a nearby store, perfect for shoppers who prefer a bird in the hand and don’t have the time to scour every local store.

4. Carry the World’s Smartest Loyalty Card

Once you’ve finally waited patiently to make it to the front of a checkout line, the last thing you want to do is slow down the process by fumbling through your purse or wallet for the right store loyalty card. The Stocard app allows you to turn your smart phone into a consolidated mega-loyalty card from dozens of retailers. As long as you’ve got your phone, you’re ready to make a smooth purchase and end your shopping trip.

5. Time Your Trip Well

Days like Black Friday are going to be swamped no matter when you do your shopping, but some smart thinking can help minimize the crowds. Research has shown that Monday and Tuesday are generally slower shopping days for malls, and you’re more likely to find sparse crowds right after stores open and right before they close. Aim for one of these extremes and enjoy a smoother trip.

6. Don’t Forget Your Map

Navigating the inside of a mall can be tricky for even the most intrepid shopper, and finding the store you’re searching for is even trickier when holiday crowds are swarming. The Point Inside app can do your thinking for you—the app contains interactive maps for over 1,150 malls to steer you exactly where you want to go.

7. Skip the Checkout Line

Any experienced shopper knows that finding the perfect gift is only half the holiday-shopping battle. Standing in line to check out can be an adventure in its own right, but with the right mobile payment app, you may be able to skip the checkout line entirely. With a service like PayPal Wallet, you can use your phone to securely pay for your selection and step to the front of the line to pick up your gift.

8. Shop In-Store, Buy Online

Alternatively, with the right tech you can bypass the line entirely. Download a barcode-scanning app like ScanLife to help you track down the item you’ve found in person in an online shop and ensure you get the best price around.

9. Avoid Bumping Into the People You’re Shopping For

If you’re out shopping for the people on your list, chances are they’re doing the same thing. Nothing spoils a surprise like having a friend or relative emerge from the holiday swarm to spot what you’re buying them. The app Cloak uses Twitter, FourSquare, and other social media data to give you a heads-up if someone on your shopping list is in the area.

10. Don’t Forget Anyone

Make sure you’ve covered all your bases on your shopping trip so you don’t have to head out into the crowds a second time. Apps like Gifted and Gift List Manager can keep track of all your shopping lists on your phone, complete with your targets’ sizes, and can even track your holiday budget for you.

11. Make a Clean Getaway

Once you’ve braved the crowds, the last thing you want to do is stand in another line to pay for parking. With the QP Quick Pay app, you can skip this step by using your phone to settle up for your parking expenses at participating lots and street parking spots. Even better, your receipt is emailed directly to you.

If tech can make holiday shopping easier, imagine what an innovation like Intel® RealSense™ technology will do for your everyday computing. Imagine immersive chat, 3D scanning, gesture control, and more. Get out in front of the crowd and learn more here: intel.com