Top 10 Apps for Gift-Givers

Holiday Shopping Made Simple  

By Sarah Terry

When facing the holiday season (or the perpetually-turning wheel of birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and other occasions), finding the right gift for the right price can be needlessly time-consuming. Not any more! We’ve found the best free apps that will help you find the best deals and organize your gift-giving.

Although many shopping apps focus on bargain-hunting features, several apps can help you with gift ideas for tough-to-buy-for giftees, while others will keep you from getting lost in your local mall. With so many shopping apps to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find an app (or two) that will fit your shopping and gift-giving needs.


Free, Giftmeister Tech, (5 stars)

For many people, finding a great gift for a techie is exceptionally difficult. Giftmeister is an app for gift-giving to the tech-savvy geeks in your life! Input the giftee’s age, gender, “lifestyle” and other demographic information, and Giftmeister suggests tech gifts based on the details you provided. Giftmeister assigns a caricatured archetype to each giftee you input. You can then browse through the gift suggestions, viewing online and brick-and-mortar stores where you can purchase the products. You can compare product prices and even receive notifications when a product’s price drops below a specific threshold amount. Giftmeister also allows you to set gift budgets and a price range for each gift search. For  iPhone & Android


Free, ShopSavvy Inc. (5 stars)

Don’t want to blow your budget on gifts? ShopSavvy scans barcodes, providing reviews and price comparisons among 20,000 different retailers. The app’s barcode-scanning abilities also provide you with real-time pricing and availability among thousands of online merchants. ShopSavvy supports all barcode types, pulling up the product details, images, MSRP and more. The newest version offers several new and improved features, such as faster scanning and barcode recognition in all orientations. ShopSavvy 4 also has tools to share your shopping finds on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as exporting options, enhanced search features and user-generated content for products not listed on ShopSavvy. For iPhone & Android


Free, (5 stars)

Are you afraid of a gift-giving faux pas with your ultra-green friends and family? If you have eco-conscious people in your life, the GoodGuide mobile app will make gift-giving simpler and more intuitive. This app is designed to identify, rate and review products for eco-friendliness. You can scan a product’s barcode and GoodGuide will tell you its ratings for health, safety, environmental and social responsibility. GoodGuide also shows you top-rated products by category and makes product recommendations based on your shopping and viewing history. Browse, search or barcode-scan to view ratings and eco-reviews of more than 120,000 products in categories like household, personal care, babies and kids, pets, electronics, appliances and apparel. For iPhone & Android


Amazon Mobile

Free, Amazon (5 stars)

The Amazon mobile app is an oldie-but-a-goodie, and a must-have for those who want to do their holiday shopping in one place. This app is basically the Amazon online storefront made “smartphone-sized,” but still with access to all the products available on the site. Amazon mobile allows you to search for countless products to compare prices online versus in-store.Browse, compare and purchase gifts via Amazon mobile, viewing customer reviews and shipping and purchasing options from different vendors.

Like the Amazon site, the app has a shopping cart, as well as an option to save your buying and shipping information. If you activate the app’s Mobile 1-Click service, you’ll enjoy easy, fast purchasing. But the difference between the Amazon site and the mobile app is that the app has a barcode-scanning function that helps you to find, compare and buy items on Amazon that you find in stores. New: Amazon mobile recently added the experimental “Amazon Remembers” feature, which finds and matches your photos of products with similar items sold in the site’s store. For iPhone, Android & BlackBerry (also Windowshop app for iPad)



Free, A9 (5 stars)

If you’re shopping for a media product and want the barcode-scanning convenience of ShopSavvy combined with the extensive product info of Amazon Mobile, try SnapTell. With SnapTell, you can take a picture of the cover of a CD, DVD, book or video game, and the app will identify the product. SnapTell will then give you the product’s ratings, reviews and pricing.

SnapTell is perhaps most useful for its image-recognition technology, which can give you pricing and product details based on the picture you take of the product or its barcode. When the app identifies the product, SnapTell gives you a complete list of merchants selling the product, as well as a listing of relevant links to sites like Google, YouTube, IMDb and Wikipedia. For iPhone & Android


ESRB Rating Search App

Free, Entertainment Software Rating Board (5 stars)

When it comes to giving video game gifts, especially to children, you need more information about the game than what you can get on the back of the package. Sure, the ESRB ratings provided on video game packages can offer the general category — “E” for Everyone, “T” for Teen, “M” for Mature, etc. — but the ESRB Rating Search app gives you a much more detailed look at the game. Snap a photo of the game package or enter the game title into the app, and ESRB Rating Search will give you the rating summaries you need. Also, the app offers detailed game content descriptions with specific examples from the particular game, so you can rest easy knowing that the game is appropriate for its intended recipient. For iPhone, Android & Windows Phone 7


Holiday Gift Guide

Free, NearbyNow (5 stars)

If you’re really at a loss for gift ideas or need to find a gift for someone you don’t know very well, Holiday Gift Guide can help. The app enables you to browse through more than 1,000 products listed on the most popular holiday gift lists.

Holiday Gift Guide tells you where you can find the products in local stores or from online vendors. The app’s design combines 18 digital gift guides from brands like Macy’s, Nordstrom and InStyle, and categorizes holiday gifts for a fast and easy shopping experience. Gift categories include the basics like For Him, For Her, Stocking Stuffers, Kids & Teens and Gifts For Home.

The app’s developer NearbyNow also offers a live concierge to call the local store for checking on an item’s availability or placing a product on hold. Another great feature is the “Gift Finder,” which generates targeted gift ideas when you select your budget, along with the giftee’s special interests and gender. The app serves up relevant results categorized under Adults, Teens and Kids using an image-gallery format.  For iPhone


Buzzillions Mobile

Free, PowerReviews Inc. (4 stars)

Based on the community website, Buzzillions Mobile offers more than 13 million product reviews. All reviews are reliable, written by “Verified Buyers,” not paid reviewers or merchants. The reviews run the gamut of products from digital cameras to sporting goods to appliances. Product categories include electronics, computers, sports, home and garden, health and beauty, clothing, shoes, toys, baby and books. Buzzillions comes in handy when you want to make sure you’re giving a gift that’s high-quality and that won’t break in a week’s time. For iPhone



Free, GPShopper LLC   (4 stars)

Slifter is an all-around shopping-buddy app that includes local product search, prices and images, maps, personalized shopping lists, specials and deals, and more. One of the best features is that Slifter works on any type of smartphone or mobile device with a data plan.

With Slifter, you can search more than 1 billion products at both online and local stores. Compare prices, send your finds to friends and family, and call local stores with one click. You can enhance your Slifter experience by getting Slifter GPS, which provides pinpoint accuracy for your location. Slifter GPS works on Nokia and Sprint networks. For All Platforms



Free, MindSmack LLC   (3.5 stars)

Do malls make you shiver with dread and your palms sweat? FastMall is an app for those of you who hate shopping in malls during the busy holiday season — or really anytime. The app can help you find your way around the mall and even find parking. One caveat to this app is that it doesn’t include all malls in the United States, although most are available. But a major bonus is that you can use FastMall “offline,” providing interactive navigation without an internet signal after you’ve downloaded a mall map. FastMall also offers deals, product reviews and a community. The app’s newest version has improved deal updates and category-search speed. FastMall also links with the ShopSavvy app for enhanced shopping features and has voice-over-navigation capabilities for the visually impaired. FastMall is truly a must-have app for people who frequently get lost in malls. For iPhones

Tip:  Got to “go” right now? Simply shake your iPhone, and FastMall will give you the nearest restroom!

How to give apps as gifts

Instead of using a shopping app to find the perfect gift, how about giving an app? Apps are inexpensive — and you don’t have to go to a mall or department store to shop for one. Unfortunately, Android Market still doesn’t allow you to give apps as gifts. However, Apple has a “Gift This App” option built right into its app store for iOS devices. Just follow these steps in the iTunes App Store:

1. Select the app you want to purchase and go to the app’s web page.

2. Click the drop-down arrow beside the “Buy App” icon. You’ll find this arrow beneath the app’s icon on the upper left-hand side of the screen.

3. Select “Gift This App” from the drop-down menu.

4. Complete the “Give a Gift” form with the recipient’s information. Follow the rest of the instructions on the screen to finish your app purchase.

This is in the current issue of  Beckett Guide to Phone Apps magazine, which is now on sale.

About Erin Lang Masercola

As Business Unit Editorial Director at Beckett Media, I lead creative teams in technology, gaming, collecting, autos, home decor, outdoor sports, and more.

Posted on December 12, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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