-- intro: An estimated 140 million American shoppers are expected to start their holiday shopping in stores and online over Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation.
Thankfully, the shopping stampede doesn't have to be stressful. We've compiled a list of five of the best tech tools out there to help you stay organized, find the best deals and ease some of the inevitable holiday stress.
quicklist: 1 title: If This Then That (IFTTT) text: Known for their "If/then" trigger alerts, IFTTT is extending their "recipes" to benefit holiday shoppers.
The website has partnered with some big name retailers to create "custom recipes" to help users pounce on hard-to-find gifts and the best deals. Here's an example:
"If [insert hard to find gift] comes into stock at Best Buy, then send me a text message/email."
quicklist: 2 title: Strut text: Find the perfect gift for your friends with a few swipes on your smartphone. (Think of it as Tinder for all of your shopping needs.)
Swipe right for a yes, left for no. Strut offers easy in-app purchases and outfit creation for all those items you right swiped.
Oh, and it was built by Mark Daniel, a 20-year-old who was granted $1.5 million by the Thiel Foundation to drop out of college and build the best shopping app possible. How's that for dedication?
Strut is available for iOS devices.
quicklist: 3 title: Skype Qik text: For shoppers who need a quick second opinion before purchasing an item, Skype Qik can be a lifesaver. Instead of going through the pains of opening your camera app, taking a video, attaching it to a text and sending, Skype Qik lets users engage with quick, easy video messages.
Example: You're in a store and see a sweater to buy your father, so you Skype Qik your mom to show it off from all angles. Her quick video reply will say it all.
Another perk of using Skype Qik: It'll help you make sure you don't duplicate gifts. Who really needs two copies of the same video game anyway?
Skype Qik is available for iOS, Android and Windows devices.
quicklist: 4 title: Wunwun text: It's not magic, but it certainly feels pretty darn close to it.
Wunwun is a service that allows users to place orders from their favorite stores and will deliver them to a specific location within the hour.
The service is great for those days where you're stuck at work or simply don't want to brave the cold weather and crowds.
Here's the downside: It's currently only available in New York City, the Hamptons and San Francisco. If you ask nicely, it's possible Santa may expand Wunwun to more cities in 2015.
Wunwun is available for iOS devices.
quicklist: 5 title: Black Friday 2014 Ads App text: This app is the best kept secret of Black Friday.
Download the Black Friday 2014 Ads App for a quick way to browse ads in real-time and create shopping lists, helping you devise a plan to battle through the sea of shopping carts on the big day.
The app is available for iOS and Android devices.