One big thing shoppers don’t like is Costco

A man pushes a shopping cart through the aisles of a warehouse.

Image source: Getty Images

An analog shop in a digital world.

the main points

  • Costo has a lot to offer, but its online presence is very poor – for example, you can’t see the prices inside the warehouses.
  • There are several reasons for Costco’s poor online functionality, including the manufacturers’ strict pricing rules.
  • In contrast, Sam’s Club makes online shopping easy, offering many of the same prices online as in-store, and Plus membership unlocks free shipping.

When we say something has a “cult following,” we usually mean that its fans are a bit more dedicated than what makes sense to outsiders.

Take Costco, for example. People seem to love Costco Is that true I love Costco. Seriously, strike up a conversation with a regular at Costco. You’ll get a very detailed list of everything they love – and why I was I love him too.

I get it. Costco can be pretty cool, especially from a personal financing corner. Who does not like saving money? And Kirkland’s products are often pretty great, especially compared to other store brands.

But — even Costco isn’t perfect. In fact, Costco has a huge flaw, which is why I’m over Sam’s Club shopper From Costco-ite (Costco-er? Costco-ian?).

In today’s world, many of us spend more time shopping online than we do in stores. (I only had to go to one store during the entire holiday shopping season!) So a good online shopping experience is crucial to store survival.

Or, it would be — for anyone except Costco it seems.

Costco’s online experience is… lackluster, if we want to put it well. There are a lot of things you don’t do.

Want to see what’s available at your local store? Sorry. Want to place an online order for in-store pickup after work? the problem. Want to order regular dry goods from Costco and have them shipped to your door? You may be able to find them online – but be prepared to pay up Significantly More than you would in a warehouse.

Oh, and to kick our frustrations, you don’t get free shipping until you’ve spent at least $75.

In contrast, Sam’s Club appears to actively encourage online shopping. You can get many of the same deals online that you get in the store (plus a slew of online-only items you can’t even find in the warehouse). Anything that isn’t frozen can be shipped to your door, and you can even get free shipping if you use it Sam’s Plus member.

The analog/digital divide

When you think about it, Costco’s focus on personal shopping makes perfect sense, at least from a retailer’s perspective. After all, statistics show that we spend more money when we shop in-store than we do when we shop online.

But there are other reasons Costco might want to keep its online presence minimal, too. For example, not publishing prices within online warehouses allows Costco more freedom in allocating those prices at the store level. It can also run flash sales and other timed events without the need for complicated online updates.

Then there are the brand issues. Have you ever seen an item online that wouldn’t show its price until you add it to your cart? This is due to manufacturers having a “minimum advertised price”. Essentially, this means that the store cannot advertise the item for less than the price set by the manufacturer. Costco stores can sold For less, depending on the contract – he can’t announce it publicly. (Fun fact: This is price fixing in the EU and therefore illegal.)

By keeping its online warehouse prices hidden, Costco avoids any potential problems with the manufacturer over pricing. But from a shopper’s perspective, it’s very annoying, especially when I want to compare prices between Costco and Sam’s Club, for example.

The true cost of saving

If you love strolling the aisles at Costco, grazing on samples and hunting for bargains, you probably don’t mind their low-key online posts. And more power to you.

But if you’re anything like me, a bad Costco online experience is a major annoyance. When I need a pantry staple or even a popular electronic device, I don’t go to Costco. No, I head online – to the Sam’s Club website.

Can I save more money if I shop in person at Costco instead of online at Sam’s Club? Could. But I have to go through Costco aisle by aisle to actually compare the real savings potential. Who has time for that?

What can i do in minutes online using Sam’s Club It would take an hour shopping trip with Costco (and traffic, let’s not forget traffic; when did everyone forget how to drive?). In the end, $1 here or $0.50 there I can afford Save at Costco It takes time investing that I don’t want to do.

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