For those of you that have shopped at Costco.com or Costco.ca, you will be happy to hear that they are planning to spruce up their ecommerce strategy. They’ll be moving their existing online shopping sites to a new platform that should make them better, plus, they’ll be coming out with Android and Apple apps this month. It looks like Costco has finally realized that their current sites are just not quite up to the standards of today’s online marketplace.
Even though Costco is the second largest retailer in the US, right behind Walmart, they rank just 17th on the list of online retailers, well behind the likes of Amazon (first) and even Walmart (fourth). Yes, not good. And everyone is growing faster than Costco too. Despite the low ranking they still manage to bring in $2 billion in sales per year, but they could do a lot better. So, Costco will be focusing on fixing up some of the issues that have been problems for Costco.com since they started. For instance, they don’t really show up in search results for products because it hasn’t been a focus at all and as we all know Costco doesn’t pay for advertising. Clearly, they also never paid for SEO or Usability consultants either.
Ginnie Roeglin, Costco senior VP of ecommerce and publishing, said they have been exploring social media but have not dedicated much money or other resources to it, because it is focused on Costco’s core business and keeping costs down. But really, why not fully leverage the many, many Costco fans through social media? Why not use it to get new customers and make more people aware of how great Costco shopping can be? I guess that falls too close to the world of advertising and they don’t want to go down that path. But they’ve already got a Facebook page and a Google+ page too, so maybe they should just put a bit more effort into working those avenues.
I’ve often post about how there are so many great things that you can buy through Costco.com/Costco.ca that you’ll never find in the warehouses, it seems a shame that more people don’t shop at Costco online. Only half of the Costco members in the US have accounts at Costco.com. Shopping online is especially great for bulky items because the online prices include shipping right to your house; no heavy lifting or trying to fit big furniture in your car. And if you want fabulous one of a kind jewelry, Costco has some amazing pieces online. You know that this year they sold a pink diamond ring through Costco.com for $280,000.00? I’ve not seen one of those in my local Costco warehouse. But there are lots of great items for people with normal budgets too.
Unfortunately, Costco hasn’t publicly detailed their upcoming online changes yet. I’m hoping that they clean up the usability issues and freshen up the site design. I would also like to see them offer online shopping in some of their other markets, like the UK (of course), Asia and Australia. They have mentioned that they will be bringing out new mobile apps this month, so I will try to let everyone know when you can finally get one of those for your phone. Hopefully, the apps will be perfectly aligned with the account information you may have already established through Costco.com/Costco.ca and offer as much complete information like the current mobile sites.
I have bought quite a bit of stuff from Costco.com over the years, big stuff and small. I still buy stuff through them because it’s an easy way for me to send gifts to friends in the US. If the Costco.ca site could take a credit card with a foreign address (out of Canada that is), I would use that site as well. And really, as I’ve said several times before, if they had a Costco.co.uk that I could shop through, I would shop there quite a bit too.
Do you shop at Costco.com or Costco.ca? What do you like or not like so much about their websites?
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