Costco’s Ecommerce to get a Makeover

May 10th, 2012 · 9 Comments

For those of you that have shopped at or, 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 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.

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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 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  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 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 and offer as much complete information like the current mobile sites.

I have bought quite a bit of stuff from 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 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 that I could shop through, I would shop there quite a bit too.

Do you shop at or  What do you like or not like so much about their websites?

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9 Responses so far ↓

  1. 1 jio sim // 2016.12.26 at 6:27 am

    thanks a lot.

  2. 2 Costco Bear // 2012.05.16 at 2:13 pm

    Social media is the way to go if they want to keep cost low but reach a big audiance.

  3. 3 Carol // 2012.05.11 at 1:31 pm

    I hope they do improve its ease of use. I love shopping there but had an almost fiasco when it didn’t take my Mom’s address for a Mother’s Day food gift (it is in my address book, but didn’t take…once you can get anything to come up). When it finally arrived, it had somehow still gotten ship to as me. When I called, they were out of the perishable gift and I had to order a lesser one…not to mention returning the other one to the warehouse (where they were not happy to receive something they undoubtedly can’t resell). When I re-ordered I still had trouble getting it to accept the address but persevered until it did.

  4. 4 Frank // 2012.05.11 at 8:31 am

    One thing I really hope they do is allow you to check stock of something in a store from the online portal like many other merchants. Unfortunately they probably won’t because they want you to go there to browse and spend more than you planned.

  5. 5 Jonathan // 2012.05.10 at 10:35 pm

    That’s interesting Ryan. I’ve been waiting for years for Costco UK to offer online shopping!

  6. 6 katherine // 2012.05.10 at 7:58 pm

    Oh, I shop ALL the time! I’m big on buyer’s picks and treasure hunt. I’ve been eyeing a sauna for a while. Can’t beat the price, including shipping. And I love it for sending gifts.

  7. 7 Ryan // 2012.05.10 at 10:27 am

    And talking of bulky items, some UK warehouses will have rent-able Hertz vans soon if planning is approved.

    • 8 Kimberly // 2012.05.11 at 6:45 am

      @Ryan – Woot! That is great news! I can’t wait to shop through the Costco UK website 🙂

  8. 9 Ryan // 2012.05.10 at 10:26 am

    You’ll be happy to hear that Costco UK are currently building an online shopping team as we speak, with hopes to launch online shopping by the end of the year!

    Can’t really say much right now but stay tuned!

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