I made a significant decision recently to let my Costco membership expire and give my business to Amazon and a lot of it has to do with how both have marketed themselves to me. i think I might be on the cutting edge on this “trend” but I think it’s going to cause trouble for Costco down the road.
I have shopped at Costco since 1987. Average trip was around $300 and I went twice a month. I still shopped at local brick-and-mortars when Costco didn’t have what I needed, but bulk items bought there made more sense.
I boycotted Amazon for a time because of their stance and active lobbying against state sales tax in California, but when they gave up their tactics that actually hurt small, local business I decided to give their Amazon Prime service a try. Recently, however, I started buying grocery items in bulk, just like I did at Costco. I found the prices were at least competitive and had the added bonus that they could be delivered to me within two day, which saved time and gas for me.
Then something wonderful happened. Amazon’s algorithms started analyzing my purchases and showing me things that I thought were only available at Costco, and then sending me notifications. This month, I visited Costco once and looking at my shopping list, I have no reason to go back. Ever.
Amazon communicates better than Costco, which has weakly embraced the changing market. If you do a search for Costco on Twitter, you will find dozens of inactive accounts. I’ve learned that the corporation still relies on minimum-wage workers to go door-to-door to encourage people to sign up for memberships. They still rely on printed handouts, passed out at the door, to boost certain products (and every time I’m handed one I throw it in the basket and never refer to it because it never has anything I actually need). Costco does have a website, but the savings are no better than what you get at the stores for the most part and you still have to pay for shipping.
And now Google has entered the market making it possible to shop at local B&M stores delivering product to your door for a nominal fee. Yesterday morning I saw three separate Google Express trucks in my neighborhood.
Right now, I think Amazon and Google have become the best friends of retail world, including local business. I’m not sure Costco can survive. If I were a stock holder, I’d be calling my broker.