With supply chain issues resulting in shortages of everything from microchips needed in the production of smartphones, video game consoles and televisions to clothing, sporting goods and even pet products, holiday shopping may pose additional challenges this year.
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Of course, it’s not too late to start shopping if you haven’t already (which 52% of Americans have done!). But it may take a little more time, diligence, and patience to find everything on your friends and family’s wish lists. And it helps to have a few backup ideas in case you can’t do some holiday magic exactly the way you imagined.
Fortunately, as with so much else this decade, technology is making it easier to overcome the challenges inherent in a pandemic. A host of apps have hit mobile devices that make it easy to see if an item is in stock before you venture out or spend hours surfing your favorite shopping sites. Many also allow you to sign up to receive an alert when your coveted product is (finally) in stock.
Let’s take a look at the options available and compare their costs, ease of use and capabilities.
HotStock.io is sure to be a hot ticket this holiday season, following the availability of thousands of products from retail and manufacturer websites such as Best Buy, GameStop, Newegg, Target, Walmart, Microcenter, Nintendo, Asus, and Amazon.
The site mainly focuses on electronics and toys, which are usually some of the hardest items to find while on vacation. When you find the product you like on the website or iPhone or Android app, click the “Alert Me” button. You will receive a notification as soon as it is in stock in one of the HotStock.io stores.
You may receive notifications on your mobile device, email, or web browser, according to the HotStock.io site.
StockInformer.com has been flying under the radar since its launch in 2012, but this year, inventory tracking software could prove to be more valuable than ever. The free service offers unlimited notifications for the products you want. It can send notifications through email, your web browser, Discord, Telegram, or your Android mobile device without the need to download an app.
Like HotStock.io, StockInformer.com focuses on electronics and tracks inventory for around 30 stores and websites, including Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy.
If you are looking for housewares, home decor or sporting goods, this service can also help you as it tracks the inventory of Bed, Bath & Beyond, Ulta, BJ’s and Sam’s Club.
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When it comes to tracking inventory of everything from video game consoles to home appliances and even essentials, BrickSeek.com has been a leader in the field. The app also helps you find the best deals and lowest prices on the items you need and want.
The app only checks inventory for around 10 stores: Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, Office Depot, The Home Depot, Macy’s, CVS, Staples, BJ’s, and Dollar General. But it has a wide range of product categories to choose from. You can receive alerts whenever a product is in stock or choose to be notified only if it drops below a certain price, which is useful for bargain hunters.
The site offers three levels of service:
Basic: Receive 3 online offer alerts and one local inventory alert. You can also search local and online inventory and product prices.
Premium: For $ 9.99 per month, get early access to deals and set up 5 local inventories and 10 online deal alerts per month. Your local inventory search radius is broadened to reach more stores.
Extreme Deal Hunter: For $ 29.99 per month, you’ll be the first to see all deals and be able to set up 20 local inventory alerts and unlimited online deal alerts every month.
If you’re keen to find everything on your list – at the lowest prices available – investing in the highest plan might be worth it for a month or two. The top two levels also provide access to an online community of like-minded bargain hunters who also share information and offers, so you get more than just alerts from the service. If you think of holiday shopping as a quest or a game, BrickSeek could be considered your ultimate gamer guide.
If you don’t mind a browser-based inventory tracking tool, NowInStock.com might be the website for you. NowInStock.com tracks products in 10 product categories. These include electronics, video games, toys and games and expected computers, but also clothing and accessories, home and appliances, camcorders, cameras and lenses, collectibles and sporting goods. This makes it more flexible than most of the other trackers available.
Create a free account and receive unlimited alerts when a product is in stock or available for pre-order. It’s that simple. You will receive an email or text email notification, depending on the website. Like many other sites and apps, NowInStock.net tracks stores such as Amazon, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and B&H Photo.
Similar to NowInStock.net, zooLert is a product inventory tracking tool that sends email and SMS alerts when the products you want are in stock. Although it works on a web browser, you can easily access it from your mobile device’s browser.
If you want even faster notifications, you can let the site run on your computer or mobile device to receive an immediate alert when the item you want is back in stock. You will receive an audible alert in the form of an animal sound.
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zooLert doesn’t look as rugged as some of the others on this list, but it tracks online inventory in a variety of categories, including cameras, camcorders, computers, electronics, video games, toys and games and various items such as household items. You can also track the local inventory of Best Buy retailers.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 5 Apps That Send Alerts When The Holiday Gift You Need Is Back In Stock