5 tips for tracking out-of-stock items this holiday season
Since many of us weren’t able to spend the family vacations last year, it’s even more tempting to make the most of this year by finding the best gifts for the people we love. But as you may have noticed, some products are scarce or in severe shortages worldwide.
Now listen, you might not be able to get everything you want to give this year, but you can beat the problematic supply chain (and other buyers) by keeping track of when your most coveted giveaways are. are back in stock.
Subscribe to alerts
The most obvious way to know when a product has been restocked is to set up a notification system. Some online retailers allow you to sign up to receive email or app alerts when a particular item is back on the shelves, so if you see that option, go ahead and subscribe.
[Related: How to unsubscribe from all your newsletters at once]
Of course, the downside to this approach is that you will have to do this on every site that offers the article that interests you. And some retailers don’t even offer this feature for all of their products. Amazon, for example, will sometimes display a Alert me in the right sidebar, but don’t be surprised if you don’t see it every time.
Give your local store a good ol ‘phone call
Before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the supply chain, restocking schedules were fairly consistent. You could have surfed the web and found out, for example, that Best Buy publishes restocking information on Friday, which makes it a great day to open that store’s site in a browser tab, ready to refresh regularly. .
But now retailers can’t rely on that consistency, so they can only know when they get more of a new product a few days in advance. The best way to stay in the know is to ask them directly. If there are large chain stores near you, find the phone number for their nearest location or, the next time you go, ask the manager how best to contact them with questions about replenishment.
They may redirect you to the general customer service number or say they can’t help you because the holiday season is a busy time of year and many stores are currently understaffed. But if you’re lucky, you might get in direct contact with someone who has enough information to increase your chances of getting the gift you crave.
Get help from the pros
Since the great PlayStation 5 craze of late 2020, there has been a surge of sites and social media accounts whose sole purpose is to educate readers about restocking at America’s largest retailers.
Stock Informant is a. The site monitors hot items, like the PS5 consoles, Google Pixel 6 Pro, or Nintendo Switch Lite, and after you sign up, they will notify you of restockings in a variety of ways including email, push notifications to your Android phone. (sorry, iPhone users), or even your Telegram account. The downside to StockInformer is that it only tracks a handful of the hottest items, so you won’t have a way to track something that isn’t already on their list. Still, it’s a good way to keep an eye out for highly coveted tech products, which are particularly scarce due to a global chip shortage.
You can also track replenishment accounts on various social media platforms. You can find a myriad of them on Twitter, where some are even dedicated to certain geographies and specific product types. From the Twitter home page, go to the search bar in the upper right corner of your screen and search for “restock.” On the results page, go to the People tab to see which accounts are following the products you are interested in, and give them a follow. You’ll find that a lot of these are focused on electronics, but there are also some that are dedicated to the sneakerhead community and specific fandoms, like PokÃ©mon.
Keep in mind that many of these accounts may be inactive, so before signing up for their updates, make sure it’s not six months since their last tweet.
Activate dedicated trackers
The internet is full of shopping extensions that aim to get you the best deals on the web. But unfortunately the challenge this year is not the price of your favorite item, but its sheer availability.
Fortunately, some browser extensions come with restocking options. It’s the case for OctoShop, who can alert you when a product is back in stock. Available for Chrome and Firefox, you just need to install it and go to the page of the item you want on one of the reseller sites supported by OctoShop. These include Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart. You will see a purple tab on the right side of your screen that shows that the app is running in the background, and if you click on it, it will show you maps with different stores where you can purchase the item you are looking for. for.
Anywhere the product is out of stock, turn on the toggle switch next to Notify me when in stock. A menu will appear asking you how often you want OctoShop to check the item (Instant check extension more frequently) and a cap price so you only get alerts when the item is below a certain price. Here you can also configure the notification sound you want OctoShop to use. When you are finished, click Track. If you are looking for an item in a specific size or color, be sure to make your choices before enabling tracking on OctoShop. Otherwise, you will receive notifications when any size or color of the product comes in, not the exact one you want.
If you buy clothes, BackinStockAlerts.com can help. Using this site is simple: copy the URL of the product you want to track, paste it into the website search bar, enter your email and you’re done! You will receive an email when the product you are tracking is back in stock and you can set up as many alerts as you want. The only downside to BackinStockAlerts is that it works with a limited number of stores, although two of them (Amazon and ASOS) can cover most of your fashion needs.
Finally, you can set up a webpage change tracker to receive notification the second the item you’re looking for is back in stock. These programs are designed to notify users when something (something) on ââa web page changes, but you can use it for online shopping if you know what to track. We used Distill, a browser extension available for Chrome, Firefox and Opera.
Open the page of the product you will follow and click on the extension icon to the right of your browser’s navigation bar. She looks like a raindrop. There, select whether you want to track changes across the entire website or only parts of it. When you follow large online retailers like Amazon, it is impractical to follow the entire page as you will receive notifications whenever there are changes, including new customer reviews or related products.
Your best bet is to choose Select parts of the page. When you click on this option, a new Distiller menu will appear at the bottom of your screen. You will notice that specific parts of the website will be highlighted in a black outline when you hover your mouse over them. These are the sections you can follow. To find out when there is a restock, choose sections that contain text such as “Temporarily Out of Stock”, “We’re Sorry!” Or “Out of stock”. It’s also a good idea to select the list of available sizes and colors, so when yours is added you will be notified. When you are done, click Save selection at the top right of the Distiller menu.
The extension will then take you to a website where you can change your tracking settings. The most important here is Schedule audits– it determines how often the plugin checks for changes. You can set intervals ranging from every five seconds to every day. You can also click the drop-down menu and set it to Live, which will require Distill to constantly check in the background. But this feature is still in beta, so it might not be perfect. When you are finished, click To safeguard.
Diversified strategy wins the race
Winning isn’t about choosing the best tool, it’s about diversifying your approach. The more soldiers you have in the field, the better your chances of winning this elusive gift. Still, you’ll need to keep in mind that getting your hands on this replenishment is only half the battle. .
[Related: Amazon is one big step closer to delivering packages by drone]
Remember that nothing is guaranteed, and while doing your best isn’t enough, it really is the thought that matters. And it helps if you itemize all the alerts you set up while you tell your story of doom.