Getting plugged in to deals, discounts at Walmart, Target, Best Buy this holiday season
Walmart's "Check out with Me," service brings a personal checker throughout the store to get you out of holiday shopping lines. USA TODAY
Get a text, find a deal? Scan a page, buy a toy?
Those are just two of the ways shoppers will be able to use technology to find gifts, purchase a tree, or pick out a party outfit this holiday season.
Some tech-based services, like the handheld devices that allow Target employees to check out shoppers wherever they are in a store, are available year-round. But there are digital deals being rolled out just for the holiday season.
Best Buy shoppers can sign up for text alerts that let them know about upcoming sales, such as the "20 Days of Doorbusters'' the electronics seller launched last year.
Meanwhile, for the first time, Walmart shoppers can use their smartphones to scan a page in the retailer's holiday toy catalog, then make their purchases through the Walmart app.
App-based maps will guide shoppers right to the shelf where they can find the doll, gadget or game they're searching for. Then, instead of cooling their heels waiting to pay at a register, shoppers can get checked out by an employee in the store's aisles.
Those needing help deciding what to buy those on their holiday lists can go to Walmart's online gift finder, answer a few questions, such as the price range that's best for their budget, then sift through a list of suggestions.
“For our customers, convenience starts with our network of physical stores,'' says Steve Bratspies, Walmart U.S.'s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. But "we also have tech-enabled solutions in place to make shopping in our stores and on Walmart.com as seamless as possible.''
Target's app will allow customers to size up their Christmas trees – literally. Shoppers can tap a picture of an artificial fir, then see how it would look in their homes through the use of augmented reality.
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Meanwhile, Nordstrom's year-round, on-demand digital styling service could come in handy for those figuring out what to wear to parties this holiday season.
Shoppers can click the "looks'' icon in the Nordstrom app and pick a stylist. After discussing what appeals to them, the stylist will offer recommendations.
The holiday season is the most important period of the year for retailers, and a tech focus may please shoppers and give a significant boost to the bottom line.
“Many of us like to think of holiday shopping as a fun experience, but in reality, many consumers are time-poor so they really value convenience,’’ says Samrat Sharma, a partner with consultancy PwC. “Retailers are responding by offering a range of digitally-enabled services that help make the experience more streamlined.’’
Follow Charisse Jones on Twitter: @charissejones