Inventory trackers are not always accurate
Even in the best of cases, a store’s website cannot necessarily be counted on to have a correct and up-to-date inventory of everything in the store. Retail stores probably won’t let you know when they have toilet paper in stock at your local store.
So why do so many stores have a «Notify Me» button? We will explain.
«Out of stock» versus «Out of stock»
Some websites say that you can receive alert notifications sent to your smartphone from major retailers when essential items are completed. This is only partially true. The truth lies in the difference between the basic terms «exhausted» and «exhausted».
If a company sells an entire item and intends to replenish it, that item is «sold out». If the company does not intend to return that item in stock, that item is «sold out».
To make things more confusing, many large chains, such as Target, reverse this terminology. «Out of stock» indicates that Target has sold its stock and may or may not renew; whereas «sold out» indicates that Target will continue to sell that item, but the current stock is sold out. That doesn’t help Official target documentation contradict your own choice of words.
The «Notify Me» buttons will almost never appear for the widely sold products that some people store during the COVID-19 pandemic, including hand sanitizer, toilet paper and facial masks. These products may be sold out, but they will certainly not be sold out soon. When an item is sold out in one location, most retailers show you other sold out locations or ways to order online, unless the store is also sold out.
The «Notify Me» button is used instead for items that are no longer in stock. This means that the company has shipped the product, but may or may not have concrete plans to replenish that stock. There are many reasons why items are no longer in stock, from lower priced sales and limited availability windows to problems with production or trade.
Clearly, Target will replenish its toilet paper stock. But what about Target’s actions on the 2017 Bjork single, «Blissing Me» on vinyl? Who knows?
How to sign up for autocomplete alerts
To sign up for a restocking notification, most retail sites will only ask you to set up a free account with an email address or phone number. The «Notify Me» buttons tend to appear on the product details page, so look when the item you’re looking for is out of stock, out of stock, or unavailable.
Retail stores do not want to send an immediate alert to everyone when they receive a high-demand item, such as toilet paper or hand sanitizer right now, which could lead to the crowd heading to the store.
During the coronavirus pandemic, many grocery stores offer special shopping hours for the elderly and at higher risk. If you are eligible to purchase at that time, you may find items in high demand in stock right now.
Call the store to ask about the stock
So how do you know what items are in stock at your local store? Call the store on the phone. Most brick and mortar stores today have websites that can tell you if an item is in stock, but no one will know exactly what the people in the store have.