Christmas is the most glorious time of year except for the headache of trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.  As someone who starts listening to Christmas music in August, I consider myself a Christmas pro.  My rough guidepost for gift giving is “if I want to keep it, it must be good,” and it hasn’t really steered me wrong yet.  Plus, I keep a notes section in my phone for gift items that I see throughout the year so I can reference the list when needed.  With more and more retailers creating mobile apps for consumers, you can sit on your couch in polar bear pyjamas and finish all your holiday shopping in the time it would take to find a parking spot at the mall.  So sit back, relax with some eggnog and start picking out gifts from these 4 mobile apps.

Frank & Oak iOS or Android

The first shopping app I investigated was the Montreal based menswear store, Frank & Oak.  What initially struck me about this app was the clean and simple UI design.  With a scroll down menu and a stationary footer, it was so easy to navigate and find what I was looking for.  I could browse the gift guides and highlights, or I could jump right into a certain section.  I really like how the search categories are specific, such as casual shirts or dress shirts, because it saves you from scrolling through items you don’t want. Also, they have an apothecary section which thrilled me more than it should.  I recommend you spend time browsing the app because it’s not just clothing.  I found a homemade gin kit and a carry on cocktail kit (are you sensing a theme?) which I desperately want.

Frank & Oak have items to fit any budget so you can find everything you need without going overboard.  Also, since Frank & Oak is a Canadian company, you won’t end up broke after converting for the exchange rate- that’s much appreciated for us Canadian consumers!  There were two minor things I would change about the app which are the mandatory login and minimum spend for free shipping.  I was unable to add items to my cart without logging in which irked me because most online retailers allow you to check out as a guest.  As for the $100 minimum for free shipping, I thought that was nuts.  One huge push for me when online shopping is free shipping so I would not be able to impulse purchase anything (maybe that’s a good thing) by telling myself I was saving money on shipping.

Overall, this app was freaking awesome because of its fantastic design and range of product offerings.  I can’t wait to do my Christmas shopping using the Frank & Oak app.

JackThreads iOS or Android

When I opened the app after downloading it, I was immediately asked to sign up or log in which I didn’t like. It wasn’t a big deal because I was still able to browse the app but being immediately accosted was annoying and would usually turn me away.  However, when I was browsing the app I found it less user friendly than some mobile shopping apps.  For example, the product categories were very general so finding specific items took more time.  The slider took up almost the whole screen which was kind of a waste of space.  The product categories were relegated to the bottom of the screen along with the shopping bag and sale items.  The clothing and tech items offered on the app were great but the selection wasn’t too broad.  The UX design left room for improvement but overall the app offered interesting products and prices in Canadian dollars so I still consider it a win.  

Touch of Modern iOS or Android

The Touch of Modern app requires a login (much to my annoyance) but I persevered.  Once you’re in the app, there’s a world of cool stuff waiting for you. Some items that lept out at me were the solar powered mason jars for fancy parties I’ll never host and the motion activated toilet night light which will save me from the Boogeyman.  Products are often deeply discounted so getting a good deal on Touch of Modern is easy.  Plus, with so many items on sale, it won’t break the bank. Holiday shopping got easier with this app because you can go to the ‘Holiday Hub’ and select the type of person you’re shopping for.  Options include the gourmet, the adventurer or gadgeteer which then showcase items that that personality might like.  There is certainly something for everyone on your list at Touch of Modern.  Overall, the UX and UI design made the app wonderfully easy to navigate.  

Honorable Mention

Sephora iOS or Android

Sephora is heaven on earth so it’s no surprise that their app is just as amazing as the store itself.  They make it worthwhile to download and use the app because they offer mobile promotions that aren’t available in store and you can collect points when purchasing in the app.  The app is well organized so you can shop by brand, best sellers, travel or value sets, in addition to searching by categories.  Sephora has the biggest selection of cosmetics and beauty products on the face of the earth and they have a very liberal return policy which removes the stress from buying gifts for someone.  For example, the eyeshadow stick that looked perfect when I tried it at Sephora looked horrid after I wore it for one day (think glitter everywhere).  Every other cosmetic retailer would have laughed in my face if I tried to return it, but not Sephora!  They took it back without hesitation and didn’t grill me on why I didn’t like it so I didn’t have to explain that it made me look like a truck stop waitress.  Their return policy has made me a loyal Sephora shopper because I know if something doesn’t work, I can take it right back.

Merry Christmas To All and To All a Goodnight!

When I’m done my Christmas shopping I like going to the mall, get a Starbucks eggnog latte (pure eggnog, no nutmeg on top) and watch the frantic shoppers run from store to store.  It gets better as it gets closer to Christmas too.  Since you have these mobile apps to do all your Christmas shopping, you won’t be one of the crazy people I see frantically running through the mall.  Instead we’ll exchange knowing nods from across Starbucks as we mock those shoppers who didn’t buy their gifts online.  

I’ll leave you with this horrible Christmas verse:

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a smartphone was beeping, not even an Android

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

Because your online presents were all there

The 4 Best Apps for Christmas Shopping So You Can Keep Calm and Jingle On