7 Holiday Shopping Tips to Avoid Supply Chain Issues
If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet, you may find it challenging to get gifts delivered in time for the giving season, but don’t panic! Although the supply chain logjam means that everything from computer chips to pies from local bakeries is delayed by weeks or even months, we’ve got some ideas for how you can still find the perfect gift in time for the holidays.
1. BE FLEXIBLE
The earlier you start shopping for this year’s gifts, the better. This gives you flexibility and some control over the shipping delays. Plus, if you can be flexible with the items on your list, you may be able to find alternatives to gifts you had your heart set on.
2. TRY MULTIPLE BUSINESSES
This may seem like a no-brainer, but different stores have vastly different inventories. If one doesn’t have the item that you are looking for, it is possible that another store in your area has one in stock. On multiple occasions, I have found the gift I was looking for at a locally operated store when the big box store in the same town said they were out of stock. As an example, I was looking for a set of AirPods to give my mother, but Best Buy, Apple, Walmart, and Amazon all were out of stock or had extremely long wait times. Small Dog Electronics in Burlington, on the other hand, had multiple sets available for same-day pickup!
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3. CHECK ONLINE AND IN-STORE
Many retailers have different inventory in store compared to what they list online. They do this to preserve a good customer experience for someone walking into their storefronts expecting to buy something right away! In addition, some businesses limit how many hot items they sell daily so that every morning there are some products in stock. So, if you’re looking for something that appears to be sold out online, head to a storefront near you right when they open!
Pro tip: Stores like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy tell you online if they might have items at your local store, so check there first and save yourself a trip!
4. GET A GIFT CARD
If your heart is set on getting a very particular gift that is out of stock everywhere you’ve looked, don’t forget you can get a gift card in the exact amount of the product and gift that instead. While it isn’t necessarily as special as giving the gift itself, the recipient can use it however they wish. This has the added benefit of the recipient can use the gift card for something else they want if they don’t want to wait for an item that won’t be available soon.
5. CHECK ONE OF THESE STORES
According to CNN, Walmart, Target, and Home Depot have spent significant time building up stock over the past few months and have also chartered their own vessels to bring goods made around the world to U.S. storefronts. If you’re having trouble finding a particular gift at a locally owned and operated store, it might be worth checking out one of these retailers.
6. TRY SOCIAL MEDIA TO FIND CURRENT-GENERATION GAMING CONSOLES
If you’re trying to find an Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, or Nintendo Switch, you’re likely out of luck. Restocks of these items are few and far between, even a year after their initial releases, and there is no stock available in stores. However, if you’re a Twitter user and fast on your feet, follow this account for stock drops. You can turn on notifications to get instant updates. These drops are often only in stock for less than a minute, but if you are fast you may be able to grab one!
7. GIFT AN EXPERIENCE
If you can’t find a consumer good from your shopping list, consider gifting something else entirely, like part of a future vacation or a fancy dinner at a nearby restaurant. Gifting an experience means you can avoid the supply chain logjam entirely. Plus, many people consider experiences to be more rewarding and valuable in the long term. You may not remember that sweatshirt you received a few years ago, but rest assured you’ll remember that weekend getaway or that incredible, all expenses paid dinner at Hen of the Wood.
If after all of this you still can’t seem to find the right gift in stock, remember that the holidays are all about being with the people you love. However you feel about the increasing appetite for stuff in this country, there’s no better time than now to reflect back on what really matters: staying healthy and being together.
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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of VSECU.
About Oliver Ames
Oliver is VSECU's social media strategist and spends most of his day engaging with members through our Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram profiles. He has a background in science education, non-profit fundraising, business communication, media production, and membership-based organizations. When not at work, Oliver spends much of his time with his wife and their little dog Butterscotch at their home in Montpelier.