Why You Should Contact the Manufacturer Directly (and How to Do It)

Why You Should Contact the Manufacturer Directly (and How to Do It)
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Between labour shortages, ongoing supply chain issues, disruptive winter weather, and various recalls, you may have found that some of your go-to products are noticeably absent from the shelves of retailers in your area. And perhaps you’ve already tried all the usual ways of dealing with shortages like these, including looking online, befriending store managers, and making substitutions.

But there’s another way of getting information on those items you can’t live without: Going straight to the manufacturer. Like every other strategy out there, there’s no guarantee this one will get you exactly what you want immediately (or ever), but it’s worth a shot. Here’s what to know.

Try contacting manufacturers for product shortage information

If you’re truly desperate to get your hands on a certain item, and no other product or brand will do, get in touch with the company that manufacturers that item. For example, if you wanted updates on Listerine mouthwash, you’d contact Johnson & Johnson.

Sometimes information about the manufacturer — including how to contact the company — is right on a product’s label. If not, a quick search for “manufacturer of [name of product]” should do the trick, and pull up the contact information for their customer service department as well.

According to a recent article by Tobie Stanger published in Consumer Reports, there are three ways contacting a manufacturer directly can help you purchase a product during a shortage:

Buying it from them directly

Some (but not all) products can be purchased from the manufacturer itself via their website. Others may not sell their products directly to consumers, but will provide links to both online and brick-and-mortar retailers that do typically carry the items.

Yes, Amazon is probably one of them, and there may not be information about whether it’s currently in stock, but at least it could give you some ideas of other places you may not have previously checked.

Product locator tools

Sometimes companies are proactive when it comes to making information available during product shortages. For example, those having trouble finding Gatorade can use this product locator from PepsiCo that identifies stores in your area stores carrying the energy drink, as well as the flavours that are currently available.

But even if a product locator says that the item you’re looking for is available in a particular store, always call the store before going there to make sure it’s currently in stock, Stanger advises.

Providing updates

If neither strategy above is an option, you can simply try emailing or calling the company’s customer service department. The representatives may be able to provide you with insights or updates about the product shortage, including details on what’s affecting their supply — or connect you with someone else who can answer your questions.

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