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Grinch Bots wouldn't work if retailers offered product alerting on their sites

Product Alerting On Shopping Sites Would Kill Grinch Bots

Most of you have probably seen articles and even major national news stories about what's called Grinch Bots. These are web bots that monitor product availability for high demand and out of stock products on most major shopping sites including Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, Best Buy, ToysRus, and many other sites.

The bots are setup by tech savvy developers who write a bot that will monitor product availability of products on these shopping sites, not unlike when concert tickets become available on Ticketmaster, and then they get alerted when a product is back in stock so they can quickly return to that site and buy as much inventory of the product as possible, and then resell it on sites like Ebay and Amazon for a profit.

The irony is, that if major shopping sites simply offered product availability alerting on their sites, this would allow every customer of any shopping site to be able to sign up for product alerts on any product, and they would get alerts on products being available at the same time as the Grinch Bots, making this technology powerless to cause the issues so many are complaining about.

Would it completely eliminate the problem?

Of course not, but it would definitely provide the shopping sites customers the ability to opt-in for alerts which would give them the ability to visit their favorite shopping sites, and when seeing products they know they want to buy which are out of stock the ability to setup a back in stock alert and get on with their shopping.

This is good for both the consumer and shopping site, who now has captured the intent of their customers and can work with their suppliers to get more inventory in and pull forward that historical interest in the products.

Isn't this easy to do for shopping sites?

What seems like an easy thing to do (capture an email address, monitor the product, send an alert), isn't easy after you think about everything that happens behind the scenes.

Capturing the email of a person is the easy part. The problem comes in when you've captured hundreds, thousands or even sometimes hundreds of thousands of people who want a single product (which sometimes can have multiple colors, sizes, configurations, etc.) and when the shopping site gets "some" inventory back in stock, you can't email everyone as you'd create another problem where possibly thousands of customers would get a "It's back in stock!" email, only to have them return to the shopping site to see it's out of stock again, and increasing their frustration.

Only intelligent alerting solutions like MyAlerts help sites to prioritize and create sending groups that would send alerts to segments of customers based on business rules, and then also monitor the product availability with every click return to the site, so that the very first time that any customer clicks to see that a product is out of stock - the system STOPS delivering any more alerts to avoid future frustration and that customer is shown an apology notification along with being prioritized to be the 1st person notified the next time it comes back in stock.

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