4 Ways to Fit Holiday Shopping Into Your Hectic Schedule There are better ways to find the right gift, at a desirable price, than wander up and down the aisles.

By Larry Alton

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Are you feeling the pressure? Have you even considered buying presents for your loved ones yet? Holiday shopping can seem like an insurmountable task, especially for those who aren't inclined to jump into the retail fray. However, you can reduce the stress and time spent shopping by turning your technology into your own personal shopper. There are a number of apps and automated systems that can come in handy during the holiday rush. Take a look at these four time-saving tips to get your shopping done and maybe even have a bit of fun in the process!

1. Don't know what to get? Hit social media!

If you are drawing a blank trying to come up with the perfect gift for a friend or loved one, start thinking like an advertiser. Where would you go to learn more about a gift-recipient's likes or interests? That's right, you'll need to check their social media accounts. Scroll around in their news feed for links to products or services they find interesting. If you know the gift-recipient's general interest, then Pinterest and Tumblr can be a gold mine of product inspiration. These social media platforms allow you to search through hundreds of relevant images quickly, while fans with similar interest promote popular buys.

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2. Check for public Amazon wish lists.

If you're feeling really stuck, search Amazon's enormous database of publicly shared wish lists. You might be surprised by how many people use these lists as personal reminders or share wish lists with gift-givers. According to Amazon CEO Jeff Bazos, the company's active user base includes 244 million consumers, so chances are, you'll find the wish list of someone you know.

3. Scanning bar codes to see if sales are legit.

Unfortunately, some retailers will inflate prices before the holiday seasons, and then "discount" these items so that buyers will snatch up inventory. However, you might not be getting a very good deal by following the hype. If you're waiting in line to purchase the latest sale item at a store, check it's average retail price by scanning the barcode with an app like RedLaser. This will instantly show you the product's prices through other retail channels. These quick price checks can help you avoid duplicitous sales as you navigate crowded malls.

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4. Consider purchasing "experiences."

Do you know someone who seems to have all the products they could possibly want? Perhaps they've got simple tastes or a seemingly endless disposable income. Well then, consider treating them to a unique experience or surface. If a loved one has recently moved to a new city, consider gifting them a membership to a local art gallery, theater, gym, or community club. Explore Groupon and Amazon Local to get further inspiration and access to local service deals. Your gift recipient will likely be glad to try a new adventure.

Need to make a snap judgment and take care of your holiday shopping right away? See if these online system can make your life a little easier and provide you with ample gift inspiration.

Related: The Procrastinator's Guide to Time Management

Wavy Line
Larry Alton

Freelance Writer & Former Entrepreneur

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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