I think it is so great that the various Costco locations around the world are starting to make better use of their websites. And one of the biggest ways that they can do that is by posting the coupons online. I would think this would be a great way to cut down on postage costs and eliminates a lot of paper waste. Not to mention, this is an excellent way to ensure that everyone that shops at Costco, whether they are the main membership holder or not, can easily see the coupons. It might also be nice for people that are considering a Costco membership to see some examples of the deals that they are missing out on by not joining up.
Costco Korea seems to be the latest Costco site to update their website and start posting the coupons online. You can find the current coupons on their site by navigating to the “About Costco” section and then selecting the “Special Coupon Focus” menu item to the left. [Yes, my instructions are in English because my Korean isn't as sharp as it could be but I think the same applies on the Korean language version of the pages too since the pictures and pages look exactly the same except for the language differences.] You can also click on the “Special Coupon Focus” link at the right of the homepage to get there more directly. At that point you will see the coupon books that are currently available. At the moment there are two separate books available for your viewing pleasure, but I imagine that is mostly not the case. Costco Korea does their coupon books a bit differently than in the US, UK, or Canada. For them, a single coupon book covers several months of coupons broken down by week. Each week has around 8 coupons, it seems. So there’s a constant changing of the coupon items, which is kind of hard on shoppers, but probably from Costco’s perspective helps to get customers shopping there more often.
It is interesting to look through the coupons for another country to see what types of products they have on offer. As it turns out, it is surprisingly similar to what you would find in the US, UK, or Canada. And a lot of the products are things you will find for sale in any of the Costco’s that I’ve been to in the US or UK, right down to the same brands in many cases. For instance, right now there is a coupon for breaded mozzarella sticks and another one for Kirkland Signature diapers. And next week’s coupons offer up things like Starbuck’s coffee, Tide, and the same brand of Organic Blue Agave syrup that I bought in Austin, TX. There’s even a coupon for Swiss Miss hot cocoa mix too! But there are also some coupons that are truly unique to Korea, I’m pretty sure. Such as the one a few weeks ago for the giant box of Spam or the fancy loo seat with bidet that is on offer next week. However, aside from those couple of items, they are remarkably similar in their offerings.
That is what the regular Costco Korea coupon book is like, but they also have a special coupon book that covers the Lunar New Year period from January 10 – March 10, 2013 that they now have posted. This special coupon book has coupons for five different items per week during that period. It seems like there are a lot of coupons for fresh meats (pork, beef, duck, chicken, and fish) and fresh fruit, certainly more than they had on offer in the regular coupon book. That seems to make up most of the coupons and then there are a few of other items each week like desk lights and chairs, diamond rings, and a rice cooker. There’s also a coupon for the same Costco bakery cookies that you’ll find in every other Costco. They also have the Costco pizzas on offer (in March) and they are just like the ones that you can buy in the US, well, except for the Bulgogi flavoured one. I’m pretty sure I’d have noticed, and tried, that if they had it in the US.
Unlike in the US, they don’t have any of the warnings about not being able to use the online version for anything other than reference purposes. So, that makes me wonder if their coupon book is more like the one in the UK, where you don’t actually need it for anything at all except to see what is on sale before you get to the store. I also wonder if they still mail out the book. Also, will there be a regular coupon book, as well as the special Lunar New Year coupon book available. Of course, that I will be able to see for myself in a couple of weeks when the other coupon book expires on January 20, 2013. I’d love to hear from anyone that shops at Costco Korea about their coupon policy.
I hope all of the other Costco websites for places like Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, and Japan will realize that they could be doing so much more with their websites than they are currently. Posting things like coupons really makes a big difference to shoppers, and isn’t all that much effort for Costco. And I’m really hoping that Costco UK is not going to stop posting their coupon books online, and that this recent short coupon book (for January 2 – 13, 2013, apparently it was only handed out at the door and not posted even) is just a casualty of the holiday season.