Navigating the toy section in a store can sometimes lead you to a colorful "black hole" -- an overwhelming array of gadgets, movie toys, dolls, games, playsets and more. Laurie Schacht, an expert at Toy Insider, wants to save everyone from falling into that toy void and shared her tips on how to shop smarter for this season's hot items.
Don't wait to buy popular toys.
If you are on the hunt for this season's hot toys -- like Star Wars or Cabbage Patch Kids items -- Schacht recommends making your move quickly. "If there is specific item that your child really wants and you are waiting for the bargain you might not find it," said Schacht. In general she says popular toys and games rarely go on sale, especially if they are selling out fast -- so don't put yourself in a bind and find out later on that your item is sold out.
Don't worry, there are still discounts.
For consumers who missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, don't worry. Schacht said there will be discounts through the holidays this year. "Retailers want to clear their shelves and get ready for new stock come January 1st," she explained. So keep looking out for deals on those toys you have been eyeing to buy in your local neighborhood stores, in large retail chains or online. If the items aren't this year's most talked about toys, Schacht said "better deals can be found closer to the holiday."
Follow your favorite retailers on social media, like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. See if they are having events or deals that you might want to pounce on. Beyond social media, she recommended signing up for retailers' newsletters. "That kind of makes you a loyal customer ... those retailers are going to send you special coupons, special deals that the rest of the world might not know about," said Schacht.
Schacht's favorite app right now for toy shopping is Shopsavvy. "This is a really cool app that puts all of the bargains in one place," she explained. You can search by retailer, product and brand. What Schacht really loves about this app is when you put in a product, the app it will show you prices and everywhere you can purchase in your vicinity.
Here are some of this season's popular toys Laurie showed CBS News:
-Lego City and Star Wars sets.
-Cabbage Patch Kids items - especially the Adoptimals (plush pets).
-Shopkins season 3 items - miniature accessories for shopping.
-Air Hogs Star Wars Remote Control Millennium Falcon.
-Hoverboards (One thing to note, as hoverboards have recently made headlines concerning safety: The Consumer Product Safety Commissions recommends, "Consumers should not charge hoverboards overnight or when away from home, and should not bring the devices to a full charge before putting under a holiday tree."
"Make sure you are there when charging and awake, and wait to charge until it is ready to be used," a spokesperson advised. "Riders of hoverboards should stay off streets to avoid collisions with vehicles, and wear a skateboard helmet and other protective gear.")