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Technology promises to ease Black Friday pains

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Retailers are increasingly turning to technology to give customers new options when it comes to avoiding crowds to get Black Friday deals.

When it comes to scoring holiday season bargains, a lot people simply dread battling the crowds and waiting in long lines to check out.

This year shoppers who come to the stores may be surprised to see that they don't have to head to the register or look for the long line to make their purchase.

Both Walmart and Target have started new services that allow shoppers to bypass the checkout lanes and buy their gifts in any aisle, thanks to hand held devices carried by employees roaming through the store.

"When I see the crowds in the store, if I can just go and find someone and go and get out, like years ago they used to be able to check you out in the jewelry department, anything to make it easier for me," said Rebecca Hockman, of Grandview, Mo.

Marketing research shows the most profitable sales come from people who buy in a store, and shoppers like Hockman say when the store makes it more convenient to buy, she's more likely to come back.

Macy's also is starting mobile checkout at all of its stores this season. A customer can scan and pay with a smartphone app, then head to a special counter where workers remove security tags and bag your items.

Consumers already face a dizzying array of choices: buy online or in the store. Pick up at the store or ship to home. It's all designed to make it more convenient for you to spend your money.

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