Are you sitting comfortably? Now, I’m going to say this quietly and I don’t want you to panic. But as I write this there are only 51 days until Christmas (click here for an up-to-date countdown).
Stop running round the room waving your hands in the air – there is no need to panic because lots of clever people have compiled apps to help take some the pain out of buying all those gifts.So, pour yourself a cup of something soothing and read on to find out how your mobile device can be your friend as you enter the frantic festive foraging season.
One of our worst fears when shopping (apart from descending into the bowels of the M&S on Oxford Street and never being seen again) is that we’ll buy something that will become – whisper it – an unwanted present. Nobody wants to buy a gift that ends up being a prize at the next fete tombola or sent to the charity shop in a black bag. That’s why there’s an app called indulgeme.
It’s been designed to take the anxiety out of shopping for – and receiving – presents. The idea is that people create detailed wishlists of gifts, with pictures and barcode scans, the location of the shop and so on for events such as Christmas – as well as birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers or whatever. They can then share the item or list with family and friends via email / facebook / the app immediately or a number of days before the event, to give them enough time to make the right purchase for the occasion.
Get all your friends and family to download the app and you’ll be able to see their lists and tick of any pressies you’re planning to buy. If they don’t have an iPhone or iPad – maybe they should put it on their list – then they can access lists at www.indulgemeapp.com.
Indulgeme costs 59p.
If queues are the thing you most despite about Christmas shopping, you’ll need Qmatic. It’s free for iPhone and Android users (and a bespoke solution for retailers, costing around £2,500). It works by using GPS to help you find the nearest location or store and then lets you ‘virtually’ join a queue, so that you can be routed to a specialist service advisor before you arrive. It’s rather like getting a number from a ticket dispenser, but in this case your number is an electronic one, and you don’t have to wait around for it to be called. You can have a wander round the store, get a coffee or do some other shopping while you’re waiting. More on Qmatic can be found at www.qmatic.com/uk
We all like a bargain, and never are they more important than at Christmas time when you’ve got lots of people to buy gifts for.
Deal hunting community HotUKDeals is just about to launch a new app in time for you to get the best deals on your Christmas shopping.
If you’re not familiar with HotUKDeals, bargain hunters around the country identify and share good deals – there are 590,000 members at the moment, identifying up to 500 new deals a week.
If you want to share a deal while you’re out and about, simply grab the info on your camera phone and include a few details before sharing it with like-minded bargain hunters.
To find a deal you can search by location, categories and other filters. You can also set up push notification deals on your smartphone so you never miss out on the latest info.
The HotDealsUK app will be free on iOS and Android devices. We’ll let you know as soon as it goes live.
If you’re a fashionista or are searching for that special something for someone who is, the iPhone app Snap Fashion could help you out of your sartorial dilemma.
Take a photo or post a link of the fashion items – whether it’s a dress, top or shoes to die for – then Snap Fashion searches for matches among its list of affiliate retailers. The list includes high street giants including Gap, Jigsaw, Jaeger, Uniqlo, Warehouse, Topshop, LK Bennett, French Connection, Reiss, Monsoon, and Kurt Geiger, in addition to etailers Net A Porter, Mywardrobe.com, Stylebop.com and Farfetch.com and a host of department stores such as Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty, House of Fraser, and US fashion emporium, Bloomingdales.
You can even upload pictures of people you see on the street, images from magazines and snaps of celebs on the TV – and Snap Fashion can search for outfits based on colour, cut and styles.
The results can be browsed, favourites saved to buy later, or you can go straight through to a retailer’s website to buy straight away.
If you don’t have an iPhone, the search can be conducted via www.snapfashion.co.uk
That’s the Christmas shopping made easy then – now I just need to find some ‘make a load of money between now and Christmas’ apps to pay for it all…