Understanding Costco Memberships: Business

A step above the Gold Star Membership is Costco’s Business Member option. Business identification is required when applying for this kind of Costco membership. For $60.00 you can purchase the regular business member or for $120.00 you can be part of the Executive club and earn annual 2% rewards. Licensed businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, farmers, and ranchers can all join as a business member. Both options include a free household card. Affiliate cardholders can be added to the Business Membership for $60.00 each.

Prices are subject to change and may vary by region, check your local warehouse for exact cost. 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 949-326-8909 or email [email protected].

Costco In-Store Sales Opportunities

Costco has over 400 warehouses in the US alone, and orders are often placed by the truck load. Including potential reorders, it is easy to see that in-store sales opportunities can be greatly advantageous to potential vendors.

It is important for Costco hopefuls to understand that not all products selected for in-store placement will be on the sales floor all year round. Costco is well known for having a “treasure hunt” atmosphere, and members understand that products on the sales floor are constantly being circulated in and out. This is why it is extremely important to have a sales plan that keeps your products on the floor at all times.

For expert representatives that can help you sell your product to buyers and develop a plan for successful Costco sales, contact VendorCo at [email protected].

Inside Costco’s Corporate Office

Costco has multiple regional offices with the national headquarters located in Issaquah, Washington. Originally, Costco’s corporate offices were stationed in Kirkland, WA. You may recognize Costco’s Private Label Brand name as Kirkland Signature, a way of paying homage to the origins of this retail powerhouse.

Former CEO, Jim Sinegal, was a native Californian but found Costco’s home in Washington, where Costco is now a household name. In fact, the city of Issaquah recently signed a 30 year agreement with Costco allowing them to expand its headquarters.

To learn more about Costco from our Executive Account Manager, who has experience working in their national headquarters, call us at 949-326-8909 or email [email protected].

More Information

Although getting your products through the early stages of program development is a step in the right direction, establishing a price is perhaps one of the more pertinent steps that a vendor will set out to accomplish. Establishing a price is paramount with what visions you have set out with your company and with Costco. This will take careful consideration of key costs and hidden costs that are most often times more difficult for the seller to anticipate.

It is important that you understand how Costco functions and operates when you negotiate pricing with the warehouse company. Costco’s pricing structure varies greatly from other retailers that you may be accustomed to. Partnering with a manufacturer representative could be the key difference piece to creating a Costco appropriate sell price. To learn more about pricing your product, get help from a representative at VendorCo to help get you situated. Contact us at: [email protected].

Costco Allowances

Costco Allowances are an agreed upon percentage held from payment to settle any freight, demo, spoils, advertising, or other fees that may occur throughout the duration of a program. Allowances ensure that the vendor will not be burdened with an overbearing debit, thus protecting the vendor in the end. Allowance arrangements vary per item, department and Costco avenue and include considerations for shipping terms, payment terms, duration of the program, guarantee vs. full sale, geographical scope, etc. Some allowances pull from the full PO amount, while others (such as New Warehouse Allowances) only apply to the applicable units.

Many allowances are optional, but some may be required. With the flow of Costco’s buying process, if an allowance is required it may not be announced until after you have submitted pricing. It can be difficult to anticipate which allowances will be asked for. You clearly do not want to underestimate allowances, but you also do not want to build too much in that you overprice your item.

It is vital that allowance costs be factored appropriately into the price of your potential product. To successfully plan your price point and consider all possible allowances, partner with VendorCo – experts in Costco sales. Contact [email protected] for more details about how our services best serve you.

Food Demos

We can likely all agree that it’s difficult (if not impossible) to visit a Costco Warehouse without indulging in the many food samples on display. The Costco shopping experience simply would not be complete without trying a handful of choices. So it’s easy to see how a food demonstration can be a critical element to introducing your product to the Costco shopper. Not only do Costco food demonstrations allow members to taste their food products, but they provide insight about how to prepare the item. In this way, Costco Demos can be a great way to not only introduce your product, but educate the member as well.

As a seller, it is critical to make the step from sampling your product into having customers purchase your food items. With 25 years of Costco sales experience, VendorCo can help you make the most out of your Costco food demo. For more information, or to get started today, contact us as [email protected].

Costco Regional Sales: Benefits

Regional sales can be ideal, depending on your company needs and goals. The benefits of regional sales include the possibility to focus on a small production run. Especially for companies that are new to club/big box sales, regional sales will allow you to create and test packaging and sales. Additionally, there are 9 regions and 9 regional buyers regional sales allows you 9 chances to hear a “yes”. With national sales, you only have one chance to impress, while regional sales provide 9 opportunities for a buyer to take a chance with your item.

To discuss more of the benefits of regional sales and to help determine if this is the right avenue for your company, choose VendorCo as your manufacturer representative. We will walk you through the process and provide you with the necessary information to make the best decisions for your company. Get started by contacted us today at [email protected].

Costco Shipping Preferred Carriers

Earlier this month we discussed Costco’s shipping terms and emphasized the importance in understanding the options available. This is also important when it comes to selecting a carrier.

Depending on the shipping terms selected by Costco you may or may not have the freedom to choose your carrier. Also, depending on your terms, you may need to decide on a carrier that offers full truck or LTL shipping. Imagine how detrimental to your costing it would be to quote the wrong way. Once you put your price in writing, you highly risk missing the sale for any potential increases. To insure you are accounting for any/all potential costs, and shipping, partner with a knowledgeable and respected Costco expert representative company like VendorCo. We have the tools and experience you need to obtain your highest potential for success!

Costco Shipping Terms

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 [email protected]

Inside Costco Warehouses: Paper or Plastic?

“Paper or Plastic?” is not something you will hear at Costco checkout line. More often than not you will be asked “Box or No Box”. Costco received thousands of boxed products which creates a box overage. Instead of throwing these boxes away, Costco protects our environment by using these boxes in place of shopping bags. Besides, how else can paper or plastic bags store large packaged products that can hold the 40lb bag of dog food or a 10 pack of baby wipes?  The box offers a sturdy solution for the shopper and a great outlet for Costco to reduce is box inventory each day.

If you are a supplier preparing to work with Costco or is looking to begin the process, VendorCo can help.  Call us at 949-326-8909 or email [email protected].

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