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Tis The Season To Be Mobile, Smartphones And Tablets Make Shopping A Breeze

NEW YORK (CBS2) -- The clock is ticking if you still have holiday shopping left to do. Whether you love the thrill of the hunt for merchandise at the mall, or want to avoid it altogether, smartphones and tablets can make finding that perfect item a snap.

One shopper told CBS2's Rhiannon Ally that she does all of her online shopping on her iPad. "On my iPad I do. I use Zappos, Ebay, and Amazon. They're a lifesaver," she said.

And some apps have taken it one step further, giving shoppers the best of both worlds, by allowing them to use their smartphone while looking at merchandise in the store.

"You can touch it, you can feel it, you can see it, but then they're gonna price check on their mobile devices or their mobile tablets," said Fiona Dias, a retail and e-commerce expert.

The Google Shopper App for iPhone and Android is just one way to make sure you're getting the most bang for your buck.

"You can go on and find product information, reviews of the product from other consumers who have purchased it, do price comparisons with other online retailers and brick-and-mortar retailers. Looking for deals and coupons that are available online is a huge way that people use search and use their mobile devices," explains Google Retail Industry Director Julie Krueger.

Location-based apps like Foursquare are a favorite part of retailers for limited-time offers, and a simple search for nearby deals may yield more than you expect.

The tablet has given rise to another trend, "couch commerce." Easier to tote around than a laptop, consumers can even take their tablet to bed with them, so the shopping never has to stop. Shop-Runner brings together dozens of retailers, and offers free 2-day shipping.

Slice, an iPhone app, allows users to keep track of online purchases. Slice scans the users in-box for confirmation emails, then follows up with shipping information and package tracking making it easier for users to monitor their online purchases.

At this time of year it can often be hard to find the "must have" toy, so stores like Toys R Us are offering apps that let users search to find out where a particular item is still in stock.

How are you using your hand-held to improve the shopping experience? Let us know in our comments section below...

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