The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and the usual scramble to purchase those hard-to-find items has been compounded by the pandemic. Supply line and labor shortages have created an even higher demand for the hottest tech gifts. Fortunately, there are tools to help you get what you want for special people in your life.
Retailers offer memberships that include perks like free shipping, easy returns, tech support and more. But many sign up just for one thing — access to products that sell out quickly. Best Buy’s TotalTech offers subscribers first dibs on certain items as soon as they are available. At $200 per year, is TotalTech worth it? Tap or click here to see for yourself.
Another option is to use tech to score tech. Gen Z’ers have been using shopping bots to get rare sneakers. Parents and gamers are now using them to increase their chances of getting the unicorns of holiday gifts such as the Sony PlayStation 5 and Microsoft Xbox Series X consoles.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em
Bots are helpful tools for scalpers who use them to score the hottest products, which they then sell at marked-up prices. While this isn’t illegal, it’s not an admirable practice. You don’t need to be a scalper to use these tools, however.
So how do bots help scalpers? They are automated programs that scan retail sites to find out the second an item is in stock. They can inform you of this fact or even purchase for you right then and there. It sounds like a great way to get what you need, but you also need to take caution.
As with any popular software, malware, ransomware and stalkerware are being spread under the guise of shopping bots. Do your research before you download anything online. We’ll help you get started with some legitimate programs.
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SnailBot is a cloud service that lets you link your Amazon and Walmart accounts and select your most wanted items, including consoles, GPUs and trading cards. The list is updated every week. Once your chosen items are back in stock, SnailBot will try to purchase them.
The bot’s website proclaims that it secured more than 8,000 PS5s during the last restock. You need an invite to join SnailBot, after which you’ll get the membership pricing. A Lite membership is available for those who just want to purchase consoles. Check out more at snailbot.io.
SlapX is an automated checkout tool that helps you purchase high-demand items, including sneakers and gaming consoles. The bot supports retail sites such as Amazon, Walmart and other online apparel and shoe stores. SlapX includes one-on-one tech support and a user-friendly UI.
SlapX has an initial fee of $39.99, followed by a monthly renewal fee of $29.99. Learn more at slapio.com.
Related: Need holiday cash? Amazon is looking to fill 150K seasonal job openings
Stellar has multiple checkout modes so that you can purchase items from various retailers at the same time. You can group your tasks to keep track of what you’re watching, and 24/7 support is available.
The bot works with Target, Amazon, Walmart, BH Photo, GameStop, Best Buy and more. Stellar costs $300 to join with one month of updates, followed by $30 per month for renewal. Go to stellara.io for more information.
Or try this
There are no guarantees that any shopping bot will get you what you want. On top of that, some retail sites block these programs. Keep that in mind before shelling out money to use these services.
There is another method you can try. Check out our tips below using the PS5 as an example.
- Create accounts with online retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, Target, GameStop and Antonline. Don’t forget about Sony itself, where you can register for a chance to buy one. This can save precious time if you find one and want to quickly checkout.
- Set up an account at hotstock.io. HotStock tracks inventories across the web and gives you a heads up on restocks. It doesn’t buy the product for you, so you have to act fast. You can use HotStock from your browser or iOS/Android device. A premium subscription gets you prioritized notifications and goes for $6 per month.
- As a last resort, you can just buy the PS5 yourself at StockX. You’ll pay more than retail, but the site does guarantee that what you get is legitimate.
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Money-saving tool you need before you start holiday shopping