Understanding Costco Memberships: Executive Cardholders

Are you a black Costco card holder? If so, you are at the most prestigious card holder level. Each executive member must decide if the card is used for personal use or as a business. Both offer the same rewards and extra benefits, such as lower prices on check printing, auto financing, and long-distance phone service.

Executive Gold Star Memberships and Executive Business differ for individuals who set-up under a business. This membership guarantees the “2% Reward” program, that allows members to earn 2% cash back each year. This exclusive membership costs $110.00 annually, but will receive numerous benefits. If you purchase an Executive Business membership, it is available to owners and operators of businesses who want the benefit of the added value of an Executive Membership. The executive member is offered an annual 2% Reward on most of Costco’s products and offered lower prices on member programs. These members are able to add extra cardholders for employees as an additional fee, which differs from only adding family under the Gold Star Executive Membership.

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 Advertising fees

Have you ever noticed that Costco commercials, print Ad’s, and other forms of media advertising are virtually non-existent? This is because Costco chooses to market products only to their members, versus the consumer population as a whole (with the exception of some popular social media sites). Because of this, advertising opportunities within Costco are minimal.

Advertising channels varies depending on where the product is selling within Costco. If a particular product is selling in-store, certain advertising opportunities on Costco.com may not be available, and vice versa. In-store advertising programs at Costco may be different than what you are accustomed to at other retailers. With the exception of roadshow items, Costco does not incorporate flashy materials in the display of their products. Vendors are generally limited to their product packaging, pallet skirts, and occasionally a display unit. However, there are some paid in-store advertising options including coupons, Connection Ads, end caps, front of store placement, and cages.

With limited opportunities available, there is a high demand amongst vendors to obtain one of the coveted spots available. If you are interested in creating a program with advertising, consider partnering with a manufacturer representative like VendorCo. Our team can offer more information and services on in-store advertising options; call us at (866)365-2925.

Costco Miscellaneous Program Costs

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 Shipping Pallets

Understanding Costco’s pallet requirements is an important piece to shipping, as well as quoting your final price. Depending on whether you are shipping domestically or internationally, you may need to account for the cost of pallets in your final pricing. Additionally, Costco’s pallet requirements could be vastly different from how you are accustomed to shipping. If your price is quoted with the wrong pallets, it could be a potential pricing and logistical disaster. Your pallets must meet particular sizing, construction, and heat treatment guidelines to avoid shipment refusal, and all may vary by country.

So how do you plan ahead? Costco provides the detailed pallet specifications as a part of the new vendor packet; however, at this time, pricing would have already been submitted. Costco’s vendor documents are not easily found, and will generally not be provided until a program is accepted.The best way to plan ahead is to partner with a 3rd party rep like VendorCo. Contact us today to find out more information about our services, and how you can cut out the guess work: help@vendorco.com.

Where can I send my products for Costco review?

It is not recommended that potential vendors send samples directly to Costco’s corporate offices for review prior to making contact with the buyer, especially if you are working independently. There are several reasons for this, but perhaps the most important is that you should ensure you are working with the correct contacts before proceeding. It can be a nuisance to the buyers if you mistakenly send your product to the incorrect contact. Also, if your product is not a good fit for Costco, it will simply be a waste of the buyer’s time. They do not appreciate receiving unwanted samples that they then must spend their time disposing of.

Before sending your products to Costco, it would benefit you to receive feedback from an impartial third party, even if you prefer to proceed independently. VendorCo offers a sample review service and telephone consultations with one of our expert representatives. If you would be interested in representation, or if you would like your sample reviewed before proceeding independently, contact us to arrange for a sample review at help@vendorco.com or (949) 600-7688.

Costco In-Store “Deal Breakers”

Countless manufacturers and service providers have attempted to sell their products to Costco in-store. More often than not, these hopeful vendors are turned away. Due to Costco’s limited sku count and strict requirements, it can be very difficult for potential sellers to stand out and rise above the competition. So before you proceed with presenting to Costco or even before you partner with a sales representative, you should be aware of a couple non-negotiable requirements, or “deal breakers” for a vendor relationship.

First, Costco will not be the majority of any vendors business. In other words, you must have established distribution and sales before proceeding with Costco. Costco is not the place to introduce your product into the market, and you will not be considered if you do not have established distribution. And secondly, you must be prepared to serve the Costco member by providing your product at a lower cost and/or higher value.

If you believe that your company may be qualified for Costco in-store sales, contact VendorCo to get the most out of your program, at help@vendorco.com

Costco.com Advertising Opportunities

One of Costco’s most popular advertising options is the Costco Connection magazine, which is mailed to over 8 million Executive and Business Member homes, and is also available online for free download. While the Costco Connection is available for in-store items, there is an exclusive Costco.com insert which displays a limited number of items that are exclusive to Costco.com.

Additional Costco.com advertising opportunities include the Costco.com mailer, multi-vendor mailer, e-mail campaigns, new product category featured page, home page placement, themed landing pages, and display advertisements. All of these advertising options are targeted to reach Costco’s best members, and the reasonable prices may surprise you! More details, including demographic data and pricing, are available to our clients and Costco.com vendors.

The above mentioned paid advertising options are not the only way for Costco vendors to excel on Costco.com. Additional sales opportunities are also available, and you can read all about them on our next blog.

Costco National

Costco national sales tend to be the most lucrative. If your product is accepted for a national sales program, it is distributed to warehouses all across the United States. Your product may not be in every warehouse, but it will be distributed throughout all Costco regions.

National sales are intended for established manufacturers that have existing distribution and a nationally recognized brand or product. It is not easy to receive a purchase order for national sales, which is why most vendors choose to partner with a manufacturer representative.

VendorCo has a history of successful product placement, and over 20 years of hands of experience. If you are looking for a qualified, successful representation company, VendorCo is the right choice.

Contact us at Costco@vendorco.com to get started!

How to Get Your Product Into Costco

If you have stumbled upon our website looking for information about how to get your product into Costco, then you have come to the right place.

We encourage you to stop now, and ask yourself how much time you have spent thus far researching answers and information regarding how to get your product into Costco. Now imagine how much more time and effort you will put in before you are ready to actually move forward. Finally, think about eliminating all of that time, effort and energy spent researching a topic that is virtually inaccessible without firsthand experience.

You CAN eliminate the guesswork, by teaming up with VendorCo. With over 20 years of Costco specific expertise and experience, we have already done the research required to help you understand Costco. Whether you are interested in Manufacturer Representation, or you just want answers to your questions, VendorCo can help! We work with the Costco buyers on a daily basis, and we understand how to get your product into Costco.

You may be able to locate general information about how to get your product into Costco, but this public information can be wrought with errors, and is certainly not tailored to your company, product, and specific department. VendorCo is your premier source for Costco help – tailored specifically to your items!

Contact us today, at help@vendorco.com for more information about our manufacturer representation, or view our services page to sign up for a consultation.

Costco Test

Although we have included a Costco Test in available avenues within Costco, a test program is not actually a sought after category. Instead, a test program is a precursor to Regional or National sales. If a buyer believes that your item may be a reasonable fit for regional or national sales, he/she may choose to test your item before placing it in all targeted warehouses.

During this time your product is placed on the warehouse floor and appears to be an in-line item to the Costco member. The buyers will expect your item to reach a specific sales goal within a reasonable time frame in order to be approved for national sales.

There is a lot to know before proceeding with a test program that goes far beyond this blog. Partnering with a manufacturer representative like VendorCo will help prepare you for the unexpected during your test program. Contact us for more information or to get started at costcotest@vendorco.com.