Costco.co.uk is Open for Business

November 15th, 2012 · 14 Comments

Costco.co.uk homepage (top)

If you are a Costco shopper in the UK you have probably been eagerly awaiting the unveiling of the new Costco.co.uk online shopping site.  I know I’ve been waiting for it since I moved here.  The good news is that the new online shopping site is live (it went live 25 October 2012, it was when I was sick and not really posting) and you can start shopping for all of the great products that you can find online that you can’t find in the warehouses.

The online shopping site has some items that you can find in the warehouses, but most of them, over 95% of actually, are items that you can’t find in your local Costco warehouse.  And a lot of it is big stuff, that you wouldn’t want to try to bring home in your normal family car anyway.  You’re not going to be able to fit a whole set of dining room or bedroom furniture in the back of your minivan no matter how good y0u are at packing.  So, it’s a good thing that delivery is included in the prices online.  And if you order big things like a set of furniture you get white glove delivery service  that unwraps and assembles the item in the room and removes all the packaging.  How incredible is that?

Some other basics about the new Costco.co.uk shopping site are that you can use all the major credit and debit cards – American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Maestro.  Also, if you are not a Costco member, you can still purchase items through their online store, however, you will be charged a 5% surcharge, as well as appropriate VAT naturally.  The only other thing to keep in mind is that you will need to sign up for an account at Costco.co.uk before purchasing anything and if you have a Costco membership number you’ll need to add it to your profile so that you can avoid the 5% non-member surcharge.

Costco.co.uk still offers all of the other great benefits that you love about Costco like their great return policy (only 90 days on electronics like televisions or cameras though), exceptional pricing on quality products, and wonderful customer service.  So, it is all of the things you love about shopping at Costco, just online so you can shop anytime from anywhere you can get to a computer!

Lots of furniture options

Costco.co.uk has eleven main categories:

And under each of those big categories are several sub-categories that you can use to drill down to the products you are looking for.  Alternatively, if you know right what you want, you can just use the search box.  The way that the website functions is pretty much like all of the other online shopping that you’ve done.  Find a product, add the product to your basket, and then checkout.  However, unlike a lot of websites you do get a lot of product information.  This is one of the things that I’ve always appreciated and applauded on the Costco shopping sites, they do not skimp on the product information.  This is especially useful when you are buying furniture or things like that where the measurements are important to know before you buy.  No one wants to buy a giant sofa that turns out to be way, way too big for your room and you only find it out when they deliver it.

Lots of gorgeous jewellery

I was surprised that the UK site has not gone with the new look and feel that the US and Canada shopping sites have rolled out recently but maybe they are planning to update the look in the future.  There might be a lot of categories, but at this point they don’t have tons and tons of products on the site like they do in the US, however, I expect their product line to increase over time.  They’ve got a good selection of items though considering that they just went live a few weeks ago.  And you can certainly see right away that there are lots and lots of things that you can get online that you’d not see at all in the warehouses.  Some of the products you can find online are speciality items like a unicycle or a single person micro powered access platform (think scaffolding that raises and lowers on a scissor hinge mechanism).  And naturally, some of the items are rather expensive jewellery pieces that would be hard to keep in the stores because of security issues, like the £359,999.98 4.25 ct diamond solitaire ring currently on the site.  Not surprisingly, that seems to be the most expensive item on the website at the moment and will certainly make someone a very nice gift!

There are a couple of little things about the new site that I’m hoping they fix soon, however.  Unlike on the Costco US and Canada sites, Costco.co.uk does not yet have customer reviews for the products.  I’m hoping that they will get that soon though because I think that adds a lot to the shopping experience and is a valuable resource for shoppers (maybe I’m biased about that because of writing this blog and hoping that my reviews help fellow Costco shoppers or maybe it is just that customer reviews are ubiquitous and it seems odd that they skipped this feature).  I think it would have been great to set the site up with reviews from the very beginning to start collecting all that useful customer information and feedback right away, but perhaps they were thinking they just wanted to get the site up and running without issues first and can add all of the bells and whistles over time.

The other thing I’m really surprised they don’t have yet is a more robust online Customer Support service.  They have lots of individual bits of information peppered around the site, like a page for the concierge services for electronics,information about diamonds and jewellery, and a general purpose FAQ/Help page but no place where you can ask questions directly via email about products or order information or any of the other million things that come up when you are shopping online.  They do have email addresses listed for membership and website questions but they don’t have the online forms that you would find on the Costco Canada or US sites.  This has me worried for the people at the other end of those email addresses. Of course, they do have phone numbers that you can call as well (they’re in the FAQ where appropriate).

Basket details & 5% non-member surcharge

Now, if you are like me and have a Costco US membership number, you might have a little bit of a problem registering right now.  It seems that they have a bug or something where it won’t accept my Costco US membership number as valid and thus, I would have to pay the 5% surcharge if I bought anything through Costco.co.uk.  I’ve got an email in to the technical support team about this issue and will let you know what they say.  I thought at first that they were somehow not letting members from other Costco locations shop through Costco.co.uk but when I read the FAQ it made me think that it must just be a bug with the website and not an actual policy since it states:

Can customers and Costco Wholesale members outside the UK order goods from costco.co.uk?  Yes, as long as the goods are for delivery in the UK, we accept orders originating in most other countries.

So, we shall see.  I’m hoping that this is something they get fixed up quickly because there are a few items that I wanted to get before the holidays.  I’ll post an update when I hear back from the technical team at Costco.co.uk.

All in all though, I think that the Costco.co.uk online shopping site is great and will be really useful to the UK members.  If you are a Costco member in the UK, you should definitely check it out and sign up for their email newsletter that talks about the newest products and deals on the website too (you can sign up right from the homepage, just below all of the featured products).  I think they send out an email about every 4 or 5 days maybe, so it isn’t too overwhelming, but you can keep up on all the cool products online.

 

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14 Responses so far ↓

  1. 1 Erin // 2015.02.01 at 12:32 am

    I wanted to order a blanket that is on the Costco UK website and not the US website. I live in the US…but dont know anyone in the UK to send it to and have them forward it to me…can you think of any way around this?

  2. 2 Pras // 2013.12.03 at 7:01 pm

    Hello, I am planning to move from US to UK and I have a Costco US membership valid until Sep 2014. I was thinking of cancelling the membership before coming but after reading this forum, I see that I can use this membership in UK. I am not going to shop heavily online but wanted to use it for in store. I hope my card will still work in UK in store. Also I am an executive member and I hope those cash rewards will still work when shopping in store at UK…

    Can anyone clarify this?

    Thanks
    Pras

    • 3 Kimberly // 2013.12.03 at 7:19 pm

      @Pras – Your US membership card will work at any Costco location anywhere in the world. However, you will not earn your 2% rewards on foreign purchases and you will not be able to use the reward check at a Costco location outside of the US. But before you cancel your membership you might want to make sure that you would be able to qualify for a membership in the UK. They have much different requirements than in the US. You can find out about UK membership here: http://warehouses.costco.co.uk/membership/

  3. 4 Nancy // 2013.07.25 at 5:40 am

    Any news on the on-line shopping with a US Costco card? I asked at customer service and sent an e-mail. They had no idea what I was talking about in the store, and I didn’t get a response to my e-mail. So sad – there are things I would like to buy on-line (without paying extra).

    • 5 Kimberly // 2013.07.25 at 5:49 am

      @Nancy – I thought I had posted this somewhere but can’t find it now of course. If you have a US Costco membership, or one from any other country, you do not have to pay the 5% surcharge or get an annual subscription. After you place your order online (with the 5%) surcharge, simply contact the Costco UK customer service team and after they have verified your membership as valid, they will refund the surcharge. This process is a bit longer but will effectively save you the surcharge on all your online purchases. I’m not sure if you will have to go through this each time you order something though, or if this is just a one time thing. But it is better than paying the surcharge or paying for an annual subscription.

  4. 6 Costco UK Giveaway for Website Registration | Addicted To Costco! // 2013.04.16 at 4:54 am

    […] seems like so long ago now, but was actually just November 2012, Costco.co.uk finally got a full-fledged online shopping website.  If you are a Costco UK member and haven’t checked it out yet, what are you waiting […]

  5. 7 Ryan // 2012.11.20 at 4:36 am

    @Kimberley

    All membership databases are linked internationally, but in a very basic way, most probably due to implications of data protection laws in every country.

    In a UK warehouse we can see only your name, membership type and join/renewal dates if you are a non UK member. We cannot access your address, other named members, purchase history, account messages etc.

    We also cannot make changes to a non-UK account. The same would apply vice-versa, if I took my card to a US warehouse.

    • 8 Kimberly // 2012.11.20 at 4:53 am

      @Ryan – Thanks for the info. Somehow Costco needs to overcome this issue though for the online stores. I think there are probably ways that they could share login information or have a single sign-on kind of system even perhaps, where you sign on in your country of membership (they can verify your membership that way) and then switch to the other country’s site for ordering. Clearly I am not going to be the only person to have this problem or want to order from the online store of another country’s Costco. I also think that if you are not going to allow members from other countries to use their membership number to sign up for an account and avoid the 5% non-member surcharge, you need to get rid of the piece of the FAQ that says members from other countries can order from Costco.co.uk; that’s very misleading.

      I’m thrilled and overjoyed that Costco UK has finally gotten an online store, but it’s just brought this one issue to light and they need to try to find a way to fix it.

  6. 9 tle // 2012.11.19 at 9:41 pm

    Oh, I wish the US Costco would have the Tag Heuer for sale! They had a Baume and Mercier on the website. I ordered it. Two days later I received an email confirming the cancellation (the email stated I cancelled the order). Apparently, Costco placed the item on the web for sale before they have the watch in stock or in their warehouse.

    • 10 Kimberly // 2012.11.20 at 4:06 am

      @Tle – Oh that stinks! Do you always check the watches out when you go to the physical warehouses? They sometimes have stuff in there that they don’t have through Costco.com. Though, I have never seen a Baume & Mercier but I have definitely seen Tag Heur in the watch case at the warehouses. Good luck!

  7. 11 Ryan // 2012.11.15 at 7:52 pm

    Looking at the website, I initially thought the reason your US membership number does not work is because it is one digit longer than UK membership numbers.

    But after testing various UK membership numbers, (98******100) surprisingly, it must be linked to the UK membership database as only current numbers work, deleted or non-existent membership numbers will not work.

    I doubt they will get US numbers working as we can’t access US accounts in UK warehouses, so I imagine the systems aren’t linked.

    In the meantime, did you know that if you are a US member and you now live in the UK, you are eligible to become a UK Individual Member? Better still, if you’ve just renewed your US account we will swap it over for free!

    • 12 Kimberly // 2012.11.19 at 8:31 am

      @Ryan – I don’t understand how they couldn’t have the membership databases linked in some way since you can shop in the stores without a problem and they must check the number to do that, right? In any case, even if that is the reason, it is completely not acceptable and a bad practice by Costco. Either Costco membership is really good at any of the locations and online sites, or they need to quit selling it like that. And if they can’t access membership numbers for other countries, than the websites for the US, UK and Canada shouldn’t act like Costco members from other countries can shop online. This kind of stuff really annoys me because it is easy to fix and doesn’t need to be handled so poorly.

  8. 13 Tanya // 2012.11.15 at 4:54 pm

    I was also disappointed when my US Costco membership number would not work on the costco.co.uk website. I emailed customer service, and they replied that the US membership number would not work on the website. Let me know if you hear something different. I would love to use the online ordering for larger items.

    • 14 Kimberly // 2012.11.19 at 8:26 am

      @Tanya – I haven’t heard a peep from the technical website help at Costco.co.uk. Not very impressive since it has been several days at this point. I think it is strange that they say in a couple of places on their site that Costco members from other countries can order through the site. But that doesn’t seem to be true since you can’t enter your member number, huh?

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