Inside Costco Warehouses: Item Numbers

When shopping at Costco, you will notice a code that is listed above the item name. Item numbers can be up to 7 digits in length. This code, or item number, identifies the specific item, size, color, etc. and is used by the warehouse, buying staff, vendor, and the member to identify the item and for categorization purposes. Early in Costco’s history when the warehouse had not yet merged with Price Club, it offered a different style of numbering system. You would hear employees unloading a cart and yelling out the digits to the cashier, who would key in the item number into the system.

Today, Costco’s system has evolved with technology, but some of these original items numbers are still visible when you buy milk, some tobacco items, and eggs. Costco uses item numbers as a tracking number associated with UPC codes. It is the UPC codes that have sped up the Costco process.

Costco categorizes their products differently than other retail stores, it is important to learn how Costco uses item numbers and other techniques to identify their products. If you are interested in partnering with a manufacturer representative, and starting out your Costco program precisely, then contact VendorCo today at

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