What websites should you visit when buying toys online? Thousands are vying for your holiday dollar but few have the credibility of the market leaders Amazon and Walmart. From a marketing perspective, Amazon has made a significant investment in technology during the past year that puts them at the top of everyone's list when shopping for toys.

With innovative search features and videos on every product page, Amazon has turned a frustrating shopping experience into a very merry melody. They gained popularity over the years with consumers by leveraging customer-to-customer communications; product reviews provided by people like you or myself that have purchased the product. Amazon continues the trend by giving their customers the ability to select the season's hottest toys. 

BUSINESS WIRE, Nov. 01, 2007 Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today unveiled a new section of its Toy Store called Amazon's The Holiday Toy List, featuring new, innovative navigation tools and videos on every product page for over 450 of this year's top toys, video games and sporting goods. Utilizing search features from its popular shoe website Endless.com, customers can now quickly narrow and expand search results by age, gender, price, category, favorite characters and preferred brands simultaneously. In addition, each product page will feature video content demonstrating the toys in action that customers can e-mail to family and friends as well as options for customers to upload their own video reviews or download and print a PDF of The Holiday Toy List.

"Amazon has made it easier than ever for customers to discover the perfect gifts for their kids, by creating the ultimate holiday toy destination that's simple to use, convenient and fun," says Mark Randall, vice president of the Toy and Baby stores for Amazon.com. "The Holiday Toy List is a place where parents can really engage and learn about the products their kids are asking for by watching interactive videos of the products and reading customer reviews and ratings from other parents."

Walmart continues to be the low-price leader but lacks the tech savvy served up by Amazon this holiday season. However, it appears Walmart is making a move to appeal to a slightly higher end demographic. A few weeks ago I noticed significant changes at our local Walmart; cleaner, more overhead banners, and several upscale products in premium spots – I couldn't resist the T-bone steaks and they were excellent. The entire store looked better but the website stills trails behind Amazon's innovation.

Other online stores such as Overstock.com are aggressive when it comes to affiliate promotions and their pricing models but the websites also lack the technical luster of Amazon.com:

Here's a few toys expected to be consumer favorites this holiday season:

I can't believe the holiday marketing blitz is upon us already – shop 'till you drop, enjoy.