NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- We realize Halloween hasn't passed yet, but smartphone owners who aren't thinking about holiday shopping every time they twiddle around on their touchscreens this time of year are going to be toast by Black Friday.Mobile consumers already have visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads and holiday shopping apps downloaded to their devices. According to a survey of 2,469 U.S. online shoppers from PriceGrabber.com, 31% of mobile shoppers already have shopping-related apps on their phones. Of those, a whopping 82% are using apps to save money on presents.
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When you start holiday shopping this early, store return policies become an important part of the buying process. Will someone still be able to return your gift after the holidays if it's not what they want? How do you keep return deadlines straight if you shopped dozens of places in search of the best deal? ReturnGuru covers those bases by letting users take pictures of their receipts, store and track those receipts by store return policy and get alerts before those receipts expire. ReturnGuru founder Erica Oesterreich designed the system as a convenient household helper for a working mom and launched the service back in March. This holiday season will be ReturnGuru's first big test, but shoppers who've braved post-holiday return counters and lived to remember the experience will find this app indispensable.