Beat the Bots: Use Tech to Obtain Hard-to-Get Items

Years ago, getting those hot “holiday items” entailed waiting in lines at stores for hours or even days. Finding those hard-to-get toys - from Cabbage Patch kids to Furbys - seemed to plague every desperate parent’s holiday season for generations.

Beat the Bots: Use Tech to Obtain Hard-to-Get Items

Years ago, getting those hot “holiday items” entailed waiting in lines at stores for hours or even days. Finding those hard-to-get toys – from Cabbage Patch Kids to Furbys – seemed to plague every desperate parent’s holiday season for generations. While there is no sure-fire way to guarantee to get the purchase, a combination of tips can certainly put some ahead of the pack. Here are some top tips on securing that prize holiday package:

Website Inventory Scrapers

Some modern stores (like Target, Walmart, Lowes, and more) use a public API to allow websites or apps to pull data from them for inventory. Sites like Brickseek allow users to enter a SKU number and put it in their inventory checker to see how much it is locally, but more importantly, to see if it is in stock. While not always accurate, it does help with information that even employees sometimes do not even know.

In-stock Alert Websites

These types of websites are an aggregator of multiple online stores that can sell an item. They’ll show the same item on multiple websites, allowing users to click right to the item that’s in stock. These websites use affiliate links to check inventory of hot items by doing pulls every few minutes which will tell a user when it is in stock. Some top websites include Nowinstock and Zoolert. Users can set up email alerts or even text messaging. Most hot items can be found by just using these websites.

Social Media

Using social media can put users at even more of an advantage than those using in-stock alert websites. First, an individual would have to curate a select group of Twitter or Facebook users, though. Use past tweets to see who was the first to tweet an in-stock alert then enable all notifications with those users. Other social media sources include the comment section on Nowinstock and Twitch streams of bots-scanning websites.

Preparing for the Drop

The best thing a person can do is have all their info ready to go. Log into all possible websites that can drop the item, have credit card information and shipping info all saved on personal accounts on the websites that can potentially drop the item, and lastly, notify the credit card company ahead of time (if it’s a big purchase).

#1 LONG ISLAND IT SERVICES

Providing IT services and training for Long Island schools and businesses since 1995.