While plenty of shoppers flock to Costco to get great deals on various items and by buying in bulk, the store has its own secret strategy to get you to buy more than just what’s on your list.
Knowledge is power, my friends. Stay woke to these tricks.
1. They encourage buying in bulk — even when you won’t use all of it.
Yes, you may be saving money per ounce, but if you end up dumping groceries that expire before you can use them, that’s just money down the drain.
For example, a 64 oz. jar of Kirkland mayo is $5.19 ($0.08 per oz.) while a Great Value 48 oz. jar from Walmart is $3.88 ($0.09 per oz). You save a little bit per ounce, but if it goes bad before you can use all of it, you spent $1.31 extra on the large Kirkland jar you could have saved by buying a smaller container at Walmart that you’d use.
2. Free samples can boost the sampled product’s sales more than 30%.
I’m the last one to tell you to avoid those freebies because, let’s be honest, it’s one of the best reasons to shop at Costco.
But as you’re grazing, think before you snag a box of those delicious snacks you just gobbled. If it’s not on your list, keep walking. They know that if you taste something, you’ll be much more likely to buy it.
3. They purposefully put the big buys up front to grab your attention.
It might be a good idea to avoid looking around when you first walk into Costco and ignore all the big items they put at the front.
They place expensive items right in your way to catch your eye, in hopes that you’ll end up with a big new purchase you weren’t planning. I’m not saying they aren’t good deals — they can be — but you can easily end up leaving spending more than you’d planned.
4. They want you to take the easiest path through the store — where all the impulse buys are.
Don’t take the most obvious path through the store — Costco wants you to go past every goodie and every tempting item you know you don’t need.
5. They play to your sense of urgency by offering limited-time products.
When you see something that’s gonna be off the shelves in two weeks, you’re much more likely to pick it up “in case” you need it later according to the Direct Creative Blog.
Whereas, if you knew it would be there forever, you could wait until it was actually on your shopping list.
If you couldn’t tell by now, impulse buys are Costco’s bread and butter.
6. They move products around the store to get you to see more items.
Think you’re immune to Costco’s charms because you know right where to get the things on your list? Think again. One thing you got at the store last time might be in a completely different spot the next time you go.
Costco does this because they want you to find other products to add to your cart while you’re searching for the items on your list.
7. They try to get you one last time by placing easy-to-grab items near the cashiers.
As with many other stores like T.J. Maxx, Target and Walmart, retailers like to line the path up to the register with cheap little items in hopes of customers making last-minute purchases.
8. The return policy is super easy to use — because a lot of people don’t use it.
As ridiculously generous as Costco’s return policy is, it doesn’t bleed the company of its cash, because it’s just not used all that much. According to an article by the Washington Post, by allowing the customers more time to bring back returns, it is related to a reduction instead of an increase in returns.
The reason? Lots of people decide that heading back into the store (and let’s be honest, the parking lot) isn’t worth it.
9. Costco promotes spending with their membership requirement.
Costco knows what they’re doing when they require a membership to shop in their stores.
People like to know that they are making up for the $60 annual membership fee with all the savings they’re getting.
So if you’re spending $200 a month on groceries at another store and only $100 a month at Costco, that’s still $1,140 of saving in a year. Sticking to a list is important — although plenty of people spend more than they planned in order to take advantage of the special prices.
(But, let’s be honest, you don’t actually need a Costco membership to enjoy Costco.)
10. They give you a place to put your feet up — so you can spend more.
If you need to take a little break from your shopping spree, there’s a food court and a furniture section.
Whether you’re purchasing food at the food court or looking at a shelf full of items they are trying to sell while you’re sitting on their couches, Costco has their ways.