Costco Takes a Different Route Online
If you’re looking for the Scallywag Sloop Pirate Themed Club House, forget about going to your local Costco Warehouse Club to buy it. It just isn’t there. Of course, the company would be happy to sell you this unique item with its oversized 5′ x 6′ custom pirate-themed clubhouse for only $18,499.99 (price includes shipping and handling). The only hitch is you’ll need to go to Costco.com to buy it.
Costco has gone in a different direction than most multi-channel merchants. While many are looking to further integrate their in-store and online offerings, Costco makes fewer than 5 percent of the items sold on its web site also available in its clubs.
In another difference from its warehouse store operation, consumers do not have to possess a Costco card to buy items from the site. Non-members pay a 5 percent premium compared to shoppers with a Costco card.
Last year, Nielsen/NetRatings reported Costco.com was the seventh most visited e-tail site.
Discussion Questions: What is your analysis of the approach Costco takes to online selling? Are they frustrating their loyal store customers by not matching
inventory on- and off-line?