Annecy has, on the whole, managed to avoid becoming a huge tourist trap, which is rather unsurprising considering its beauty and handiness to Geneva. That said, in summer the streets are filled to the brim with tourists, so I do recommend a late spring or autumn visit instead. There are a lot of shops selling postcards, snow globes and other nasty stuff, however most shops do in fact have some interesting bits and pieces amongst them.
Unique Suggestions: I did rather like the 'just add water' tshirts, which are a tshirt that has been compressed into something the size of a block of soap. Just add water and the tshirt expands to full size.
The quality of the shops have improved, with a wider range of good quality products for sale. Overpriced but lovely lace abounds and the shops with jams, soaps and other 'hand made' products are probably where I would drop my tourist dollar.
Fun Alternatives: Oh I am not saying that this tourist trap is no fun - even with the crowds, Annecy is a gorgeously beautiful town!