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Understanding Costco Membership

Susan Walker - Thursday, December 17, 2015

Understanding Costco Membership


In 1988, Robert Price, President of Price Club said, “We thought of it as a speak-easy. We tried to create a mystique.” At that time, the idea that you could charge people to shop was unimaginable and originally limited to businesses and members of select groups. However, Costco has created a business model that other retailers have since followed.

This month we will discuss Costco Membership, and shed light on the groundbreaking business model that no other retailer has quite been able to match. Included this month will be the following topics:

·         Gold Star Memberships

·         Business Memberships

·         Executive Cardholders

·         Rates and Retention

·         Added Benefits

·         Demographic

·         More Reasons to be a Member

If you are a supplier who is seeking to bring your product into a Costco warehouse or

is interested to begin the process, VendorCo can help.  Call us at

949-600-7688 or email help@vendorco.com.


Costco Miscellaneous Program Costs

Susan Walker - Tuesday, September 01, 2015

This month we will be delving into the various costs, allowances, and discounts to consider before starting a program with Costco. Calculating your price is paramount to the success or fail of your product. A price that is too low may undercut your margin and result in a loss, while a price that is too high may be entirely overlooked by the buyers.

Before quoting to Costco, consider these costs that can pop-up in most programs:

·         Costco Advertising Fees

·         Costco Return Fees

·         Costco EDI Fees

·         Costco Retainer Fees

·         Costco Allowances

·         Costco Discounts / Markdowns

Building in these miscellaneous fees will allow you to obtain a practical margin and be successful long-term.

It is critical to secure a well-rounded cost structure before a program starts with Costco. To help ensure that you will be successful in this venture, contact sales@vendorco.com for more details about how our services will best serve you.


Costco Regional Sales: Departments

Susan Walker - Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Common knowledge to both consumers, manufacturers, factories, buyers, etc. is the concept of splitting up items by department. Products are categorized together based on function and familiarity and organized accordingly on both the physical sales floors and the digital web store. This is true for nearly all retail outlets. Costco’s regional offices are split up according to departments similarly to the national office.


For some items, you may find that Costco’s department breakdown differs from other retail avenues. Perhaps your item falls into the Lawn & Garden category within your retailer's ecommerce department. You may be surprised to find that Costco’s department crossover could land you in Sporting Goods, or even Hardware. Additionally, some of the larger departments within Costco are split up between two buyers, so you may have to dig even deeper to identify your department.


Department identification is pretty black and white for some items - for instance, a couch will always be furniture. However, for some of the more niche, creative items that fill a unique consumer need, it could help to have an extra set of eyes review before identifying your department. This is important for correctly identifying the right buyer, so your first attempt at pitching your product is navigated correctly. VendorCo can help with this. Contact us today at help@vendorco.com. We can help cut the guess work and get your item in front of the right person.

Costco Shipping E-commerce

Susan Walker - Friday, May 22, 2015

E-commerce shipping at Costco may or may not deviate from processes that you currently have in place. It is just as important to understand the online shipping options as it is to understand in store. To further complicate the process, Costco is pushing for combined buys of many of these items. This means that the in-store and .com buyers work together to make their buying decisions. This process varies depending on the department and item, especially if it is a bid item.


You should know before presenting your item to Costco if it could potentially fall into this category. The pricing structure and process is very different from independently purchased items. Work with a representative to help you with the process. Email us at help@vendorco.com.

Costco Shipping Terms

Susan Walker - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

When you develop your pricing for Costco, it’s important to clearly define your shipping terms, and to ensure that the offered terms are in a format that is accepted by Costco. There are various ways to go about this, each dependent on the avenue of Costco that you are selling to (ie: Costco-US, Costco-Int’l, Costco-ecommerce, etc.).


Many potential vendors approach Costco with a single unit price. Without duties, customs considerations, or freight added to the equation. The assumption is that the retailer will pick up the product from an overseas factory or port. This is one of the many options; however, it’s recommended that you proceed with caution when dealing with these terms. You may encounter unexpected fees.


Another option many vendors provide is a delivered cost. Again, it’s important to be very clear and detailed as to where the products are being delivered to and that your offer is in accordance with Costco’s requirements. Also, did you take into account Costco’s locations in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico?

When it comes to shipping terms, it’s important to understand the various options. You cannot quote a price to Costco without having this clearly defined, in accordance with Costco’s terminology. This is an area where a knowledgeable rep can be extremely valuable. At VendorCo, we help our clients understand the options and account for shipping fees, so you have all the tools you need to make the best decision for your business. If you are interested in Costco representation for your products, contact a VendorCo Account Manager today at help@vendorco.com


Costco Sales Assistance

Susan Walker - Thursday, October 31, 2013

If you are looking for sales assistance with your Costco program, there’s no need to look no further than VendorCo. We are a representative company with experience, focus, success, and commitment to service.

Our focus on Costco Wholesale specifically guarantees that we communicate with the buyers on a daily basis. We are not distracted by the processes, procedures, rules, and regulations of other retail companies, because we ONLY serve Costco, making us experts in Costco product placement.

If you are interested in learning more about VendorCo, feel free to browse our website, send us an e-mail at help@vendorco.com, or call us at (866) 883-4480. We are happy to review your company and product to help determine your potential with Costco Wholesale.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Costco Strategic Plan

Susan Walker - Thursday, April 11, 2013
Doing business with Costco requires a Costco strategic plan. This is a plan laid out specifically for your Costco Wholesale program, and includes planning for all pieces necessary for success. This includes, but is not limited to, accounting for the following:
  • Appropriate buyer identification
  • Costco friendly presentation creation
  • Appropriate pricing, including allowances
  • Sample requests
  • Testing requirements
  • Audits
  • Packaging (different if in-store, .com, road show, etc.)
  • Shipping requirements
  • Potential customer service issues
  • Returns and damages
  • Exit strategies
Each individual point does not stand on its own. For example, identifying the appropriate buyer requires researching which department your item would most appropriately fit (with Costco, this may differ from your other retailers), which method of communication is most appropriate (telephone, e-mail, mail, etc.), and which avenue of Costco you are pursuing (Costco.com, Costco In-Store, Costco Travel, etc.) As you can see, doing business with Costco can be extremely complex!

Costco is extremely unique in regards to their buying processes. Preparing for a Costco program is generally very different from other retail strategies. So how can you best prepare for doing business with Costco? VendorCo is the answer! We make it easy to develop your Costco strategic plan, providing you with our advice and guidance every step of the way. The proof is in our successful history of placing products, just click here to see a sample of our success stories: LINK.

You could be next! All you need to do is contact VendorCo, and get help with your Costco strategic plan. E-mail us at help@vendorco.com today!

VendorCo Client Benefits – Ongoing Relationships

Susan Walker - Wednesday, January 30, 2013

VendorCo is selective of the companies that we choose to represent. Our goal is to form long term relationships with established manufacturers and service providers, while continuing to strengthen our clients’ relationships with Costco. We seek to partner with companies that are also looking for long-term solutions to their Costco sales needs.  Over time, we work for you to help the buyers recognize your company and appreciate your products.  This relationship is not formed over night; it takes time, patience, and follow-through that VendorCo is prepared and qualified to assist you with.

At VendorCo, we tailor to your needs, assist you with preparation and presentation, and follow-up and follow through throughout the duration of our representation. If you are looking for a long-term partnership where you receive all of these benefits, contact us today!

VendorCo Client Benefits – Follow-up and Follow-through

Susan Walker - Friday, January 25, 2013

Let’s say that you have now presented your product to the Costco buyers. What should you do if your program is denied? And what are the next steps if your program is approved? VendorCo’s clients receive ongoing assistance, whether it requires following up with a rejected program, or following through with one that is accepted.

If your program is denied, VendorCo can help gather feedback, as well as assist and consult you with repositioning your product pitch, redesigning elements of your product and packaging, or selecting additional items to present in your next round with the buyers. In addition, we provide a suggested timeline for following up depending on the department, product, and reason for rejection.

If your program is approved, VendorCo will be by your side throughout all of the various administrative tasks, as well as prepare you for what to expect when the program begins. With VendorCo’s assistance, our experts become part of your team, assisting you throughout all steps in the process. In addition, we continue to provide our feedback and suggestions regarding advertising and other opportunities that enhance visibility of your product and potentially increase revenue.

If you are interested in adding VendorCo’s experts to your team, contact us today. 

VendorCo Client Benefits – Preparation and Presentation

Susan Walker - Monday, January 21, 2013

Every retailer goes about their buying processes differently, and from our experience, many companies miscalculate Costco’s procedures. Unfortunately, even the smallest errors in presenting your product can result in a rejection of your program. At VendorCo, we work with the Costco buyers on a daily basis, and we know the processes and procedures that work in getting your items on the sales floor.

As a VendorCo client, you will receive assistance with all aspects of your presentation. This includes consultations that prepare you for what to expect, how to contact Costco buyers, what specific information should be included in your presentation, and much, much more. Additionally, we will not only be by your side through all steps in the process, but we will help pave the way to greater success.

We understand that you are the experts in your business, but we also recognize that most companies are not experts in Costco’s business. It is extremely difficult to reach this status and truly understand all that Costco has to offer. Fortunately, with over 20 years of experience our executive account managers at VendorCo are Costco experts, and we can help you position your company to reach its highest potential with Costco.

If you are interested in working with Costco and would like assistance with preparation and presentation from VendorCo, contact us today. 


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