WASHINGTON - When Georgia Benjamin goes holiday shopping this year, her smartphone will be her guide, pointing her to the items she is seeking and the best deals.
A transplanted Londoner working in New York as a fashion design intern, Benjamin said she has been using Snapette, a mobile app that allows her to find items in nearby retail stores.
"There are things on the app that I might not see otherwise," she said.
"If I'm looking for a pair of sunglasses, I will type in the brand name, and it will show me what is nearby. And it will alert me if a store nearby has a promotion."
In the past, Benjamin told AFP, she would "trudge from store to store on Oxford Street" in London, or "go through website after website" to search for holiday gifts.
As the holiday shopping season opens, shoppers will be armed with smartphones and an array of apps. Some will compare prices, offer gift suggestions, provide price alerts and more.
Snapette says nearly two million people have downloaded the app for iPhones or Android handsets to fill a need for people who want to use online tools but shop in local stores.
"Over 85 per cent of retail sales is happening in stores but there wasn't a great way to search for or discover products nearby," said Sarah Paiji, co-founder and president of Snapette.