a blog from CenturyLink

Snagging the perfect out of stock Christmas gifts

by | Dec 5, 2022


For months, you’ve had the perfect Christmas gift for your partner picked out. But when you go online to order it, disaster strikes . . . The store is out of stock! But don’t panic yet, because you have a couple of options. You can frantically find something similar and hope they’ll realize it’s the thought that counts—or you can use an online tracker service to help you find the out-of-stock item.

Keep reading to learn how you can score the perfect out-of-stock item for your loved ones this holiday season.

Tips for finding items that have gone out of stock

Christmas gifts for tech lovers that were out of stock

Researchers found that 81% of U.S. adults aged 26 to 30 are more likely to shop online, and overall, US shoppers spent $201.32 billion online during the 2021 holiday season. While online shopping is undeniably convenient and can even save you money, one of the downsides is that items can disappear from your cart without warning.

Here are some tips you can use to find items that have gone out of stock on a website:

  1. Keep checking back.
  2. Search the brand or designer.
  3. Sign up for restock notifications.
  4. Check the “back in stock” tab.
  5. Use an in-stock tracker service.

If you’re a small business owner, you can use these services to create an amazing customer experience. Learn how you can find the best online marketplace for your small business.

Keep checking

Woman checking if gift is out of stock

One easy and effective way to snag items that have gone out of stock is to keep checking the website for updates. Items are often returned and restocked. Say you’re looking for a specific pair of comfy shoes for a loved one who’s a nurse, but the store is out of their size. Someone may return a pair of those size sevens, which you can then snatch up because you’ve been scanning the website daily. You can check as frequently as you’d like, but keep in mind you have a higher chance of scoring the item if you’re looking frequently.

Search for the product online

If the item you’re looking for is out of stock on one website, it may still be available somewhere else. Find the name of the product and manufacturer and search for the item on Google. For example, if a popular smart notebook is sold out at Target, search online and see if the device pops up anywhere else. It may be available through another vendor, such as Office Depot or Walmart. Looking at other vendors is also a great way to compare prices or catch an ongoing sale, helping you save money.

Set up a restock alert

Christmas gifts for tech lovers

Not everyone has time to keep checking websites for a restock, which is why many websites have restock alerts that you can sign up for. You may even be able to customize the alert for the specific size, color, or design you’re looking for.

Next to the “out-of-stock” alert on most websites, you should see an option to receive email or text alerts. Once you submit your information, the company will notify you when the item is available for purchase. Keep in mind this isn’t a guarantee the item will be restocked, and it doesn’t reserve the product for you either. But it is a great way to get your hands on the item if it becomes available again.

Check the “back in stock” tab

Many websites have a “back in stock” page. Here, you can find popular items that the business has recently restocked. This is a great way to quickly find in-demand products or items that slipped through your fingers the first time.

Track in-demand items with zooLert

Woman holding stack of Christmas presents

ZooLert is a free in-stock tracker service that helps you find out of stock items. They monitor the availability of your favorite products and alert you when they’re back in stock or available for pre-order.

To register with zooLert.com, all you need is your email and a password. After becoming a member, you’ll be able to set up a custom alerts tracker, set up a price drop alerts tracker, and receive email and/or mobile text alerts. Don’t forget to confirm your email or phone number, or you won’t receive alerts.

If you don’t want to receive custom alerts to your email or phone, you can also use the zooLert website. When an item is in-demand or hard to find, leave a tracker running on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. It auto refreshes every minute, even faster than TXT and email alerts. When your item is available, you’ll hear a notification go off.

More holiday shopping tips

Shopping for loved ones during the holidays doesn’t have to feel rushed and stressful. There are plenty of gift guides available to spark ideas and inspiration. Are you shopping for a gamer this year? Check out our guide on holiday gifts for gamers. We also have a gift guide for all the tech lovers in your life. If you’re a business owner, learn how you can prepare for an influx of holiday shoppers this season.

What are your favorite hacks and tips for Christmas shopping? Leave us a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

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<a href="https://discover.centurylink.com/author/emilyr" target="_self">Emily Richey</a>

Emily Richey


Emily Richey is the Content Manager for the CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber blogs. A recent graduate of Pace University NYC, she's an avid reader and writer. She spends most of her free time in bookstores and cafes, seeking the perfect cup of coffee.