Costco Costco Wholesale Corporation


  • A membership warehouse club focusing on selling products at low prices & at a very high volume
  • Offers the best possible prices on quality and brand name merchandise
  • 741 locations in 11 countries
  • Specialty departments like pharmacy, optical, photo, automotive tires and car buying dealership services, auto & home insurance, water delivery
  • Exclusive member services, IE travel discounts, car rentals, gas stations,
  • Costco was the 1st company to grow from zero to $3 billion in sales in under 6 years
  • World's largest retailer of choice and prime beef, organic foods, rotisserie chicken and wine


  • 1976 the 1st location opened in San Diego under the Price Club name in old airplane hangars previously owned by Howard Hughes
  • Price Club was the world's 1st membership warehouse club & Costco’s rival
  • 1983 the 1st Costco warehouse location was opened in Seattle
  • 1993 Costco & Price Club merged to be PriceCostco with 206 locations
  • 1997 the name was shortened to Costco
  • 2014 Costco was the 3rd largest retailer in the USA


Our operating philosophy has remained simple: Keep costs down and pass the savings on to our members.
the old days
To continually provide our members with quality goods and services at the lowest possible prices.


  • Typical shopper that earns ~$100,000 a year
  • Costco attracts more affluent, college educated homeowners.
  • The vast majority of stores are located in suburban areas heavily populated with affluent homeowners, who also have space to store in bulk.
  • Shoppers must be willing to pay a $55 - $110 membership fee, which not only generates a nice little income for Costco ...
  • But they also know this is the primary reason why members keep coming back.
Demographic index values compare dollars spent at a retailer by a particular demographic versus that demographic's spending in general across all retailers.

COSTCO FOUNDER & CEO - video below

the new days


Great web site where everything they have is basically 1 click away. Nice to have a prominent site search engine at the top. The home page is visually very rich with many images of items that they are highly promoting. In fact the main body has 4 slides of images they are promoting. The navigational structure is built out very well. I was surprised that they only linked to Facebook and Pinterest, and no other social media platforms from the home page. This is not a flashy site, but very businesslike and functional.

Home Page Universal Header

The universal footer is very clean and well organized, with links to all their top level pages.

Costco.com Universal Footer


very clean, well organized, user friendly and easy to navigate

The mobile app is great, very clean and simple. Everything you would want is a few clicks away. Why only 4 stars then?

One of the first things I noticed when I logged into the app was that under My Account, when I clicked on “Personal Information” I was taken to a Costco page that was not mobile friendly. All the other options were mobile friendly. Also, when I clicked on Photo Center under My Orders I was taken to www.costcophotocenter.com and was asked to login again, as it is a separate site. It would be nice if you logged into Costco.com that your login credentials would be automatically passed on to any other official Costco site.

I was also astonished to see that if you click on Order History > Pharmacy > you are taken to a non-mobile friendly page.

Only social media links are to Facebook & Pinterest
Shopping list feature is nice to have

SEO & SERP ★★★☆☆

A search for "Costco" naturally puts them into #1 position. They are not paying for advertising for any keywords and phrases that I could find.

SERP for a Google "costco" search

I find it interesting that the Google SERP displays 5 of their most prominent social media links, but Costco.com only displays 2. Costco.com should link to all 5 in their footer.

You can see what people also searched for (IE their competitors) in the above Google SERP for "costco"
Costco.com universal footer only links to 2 social media sites
Costco.CA universal footer only links to Facebook and Twitter. Very interesting they chose Twitter over Pinterest. Twitter is more popular than Pinterest, but Pinterest promotes imagery. So I would think Pinterest is more important platform if they were going to chose from the 2. Again, they should be linking to all 5+ social media sites.

However, they rank poorly for any generic keyword phrase searches related to their industry.

Google search

"Costco" Google Search - Online Competition

  • Amazon.com
  • Boxed.com
  • Jet.com
  • Walmart.com
  • Target.com
  • Sam's Club
  • BJ's Wholesale
Competition Market Share

Costco is a very well known brand and so most people will just search for "costco" or directly type in costco.com into the address bar. But if you are really going to do a generic search for the essence of what Costco represents IE membership warehouse club then they are not on page #1 of Google.

Costco's own private label brand called Kirkland Signature

Costco's own private label brand called Kirkland Signature or www.costco.com/kirkland-signature.html is can be found in #1 position for their brand name.

Costco's private label ranks #1 for "Kirkland Signature" at Google
generic Google LOCAL SERP


Pinterest ★★★☆☆


  • 4,789 Pins
  • 32 Boards
  • Collections engaging users with: home furnishings, travel, healthy eats, what's new, Kirkland Signature brand products, cleaning, outdoor and all kinds of information on their products and services.
  • The dogs board has 27,333 followers. That is not very many followers relatively speaking.
  • I think they could do much better by adding more content.
  • They also need to link to their Pinterest profile from their website.
Costco Pinterest profile

Facebook ★★★★☆


  • 1,713,381 people like this
  • 1,662,375 people follow this
  • Costco posts videos, pictures and/or promotions everyday
  • They respond typically within 1 hour but sometimes 1-2 days
Costco posts videos and pictures everyday
typically Costco has a quick response time

Twitter ★☆☆☆☆


  • 1,326 Tweets
  • Joined January 2013
  • You cannot see any activity, as their account is locked out if you are now a Follower. If you click Follow the button changes to Pending.
  • Below text is what you see in their home page, and it is just the opposite of engaging.
  • They need to do better with this platform, and open it up by making it more inviting instead of a digital marketing wall.
This account's Tweets are protected. Only confirmed followers have access to @Costco's Tweets and complete profile. Click the "Follow" button to send a follow request.
Costco's Twitter profile is the opposite of engaging

YouTube ★★☆☆☆


  • 5,760 Subscribers
  • Joined November 17, 2009
  • Cost posts 1-6 videos every day about products, services and product reviews
  • Not a lot of customer engagement IE comments in many of their videos
  • Only 5 playlists
  • They can do better here, lots of room for improvement
  • Since the videos on their web site are not in YouTube format, you cannot share them. If you cannot share them, then chances are that any video will go viral is slim.
  • @Costco
  • Costco is not very aggressive in promoting their videos.
  • They also host their own videos in-house at https://video.costco.com, rather than utilizing a more intelligent SEO method by using the YouTube format.

In the Costco.com universal footer bottom left > look for About Us > then click Company Information link > then you go here https://www.costco.com/membership-information.html and on this page the 3 videos hosted by Costco.com. They would get more SEO benefits with multimedia promotion by converting these into YouTube videos. They must not know that YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine and the most popular video site online.

It is surprising that a company as large and dominant as Costco can only muster 5,760 subscribers and only 5,338,807 views. Costco has lots of room for improvement in their multimedia digital marketing department .

Instagram ★★★★☆


  • #Costco
  • 502 Posts - often quite funny and engaging
  • They post about every 1-5 days
  • Pictures often have 1,000's of likes
  • Costco's Instagram is very engaging with tons of pictures of everything related to Costco as well as the shoppers themselves.
  • But I am giving them only 4 stars, because they need to better promote this post from their web sites.
  • By contrast #costcodeals has 2,299 posts, 72.6k followers and 6,109 following
  • I would give them 5 stars if they linked to this account from the Costco home page
quite a lot of funny and engaging posts

Critique of Costco's Digital Marketing Strategy

Overall Rating ★★★☆☆

They have a great web site, but they are severely lacking with their social media strategies and SEO to engage their target market.

Especially when it comes to multimedia marketing and social media marketing.

Costco does not engage this audience well enough

But they need to make their online content more relevant. How? By becoming more engaging, as mentioned above.

Their mobile app has some flaws that need to be fixed, but overall it is a great app.

2 Things I Would Recommend as Improvements

  1. In order for Costco to get to know their Customers and Prospects, they need to focus and engage more with social media marketing and digital marketing.
  2. Their corporate and mobile websites universal footers should link to all of their social media websites.


  • Great corporate website, mobile website and mobile app, all of which are very clean and functional.
  • Great product quality and services
  • They are very customer centric
  • Great pricing strategies
  • They clearly understand their target market, with regards to both location and customers
  • #1 placement for their brands IE "Costco" and "Kirkland Signature"
  • It is good that they are participating in all major social media platforms, but they need to be more engaging with most of them.
  • They use both traditional and digital marketing channels
  • They are well dialed in to their target audience segmentation
  • Wonderful senior management, with the exception of SEO


  • Lame social media marketing. They need to find ways to encourage users to participate more in order to keep people engaged.
  • Lame digital media marketing campaign
  • Need to improve their page rank in the SERP's for the top favorite generic keyword phrases they most want to be found by other than "Costco"
  • Need better content marketing
  • No paid advertising
  • Promote their videos using YouTube vs in-house video software
  • I could not find an official Costco blog website, so they need help in this area too

Web Site References










Social Media Links

one last stop before we go
prepared by BT @ BrianTaylor.com for Bellevue College 3/20/2018

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