Costco Wholesale Corp. is a chain of membership warehouses that offers discounted items in large amounts. To get access to the store one must become a member. There are 3 different types of membership. They are called Business, Gold Star, which is for an individual, and Executive. Once one becomes a member, they then have complete access to the store and all the discounts it has to offer.
Costco is one of the biggest warehouse-style economy stores in the world. It is found in all the major cities and everywhere in between. There are currently 546 stores with 400 of them in the United States alone and that number is growing. They were first publicly traded on the stock market in 1985 at $10 a share. There are currently over 56 million current members and 8 million businesses on board. The average store size is 141,000 feet and there are over 100,000 full and part time employees in the United States alone. The yearly revenues are approximately $73 billion.
The whole idea of Costco is to buy large portions of items at discount prices. In the end, this saves money by buying in bulk. This is really set up for large families and small businesses such as family owned restaurants. But as long as there is enough storage space, anyone can benefit from buying in bulk.
Everything about Costco is large. It is a big open warehouse with big aisles and extra large push carts. They also have a huge selection of items to choose from. Not only do they have groceries, but they also have books, music, cosmetics, appliances, clothes, supplements, electronics, energy bars and even gas and automotive services. No gas is cheap, but their gas is cheaper than average.
They also carry a big line of organic and all-natural products. Some of these items include cereal, eggs, milk, yogurt, granola, peanut butter, bread and produce. they actually have a private label called Kirkland Signature products that have many organic products.
Costco also has a website where people can shop right from the convenience of their own homes. The link is attached below. Everything that can be found in the store can be found at the website, except product samples.
Another feature that Costco offers is discounts on flights, rental cars, cruises and theme parks.
Product sampling is very big at Costco. There is so much of it that goes on that one can become full while shopping. An interesting thing about the sampling is that the people who run the sample tables don't even work for Costco. They are outside contractors. Often times they don't even have a slight bit of knowledge about the product they are sampling.
In order to shop at Costco, you first need to become a member. This is about a 10- to 15-minute process that takes place at the front of the store immediately upon walking in. It has a partnership with American Express, so after the sign-up process is over it issues a Costco card and an American Express Card. When ringing out at the register, the Costco card has to be present and they will only accept the American Express card or a debit card for payment.
The greatest benefit to shopping at Costco is being able to buy in bulk. Things are sold in larger bags, containers, bottles and boxes. They are also sold in bundles and cases. The amount of money this stuff costs may seem expensive at first glance, but when priced out at what it would be at the smaller portions, the savings is significant. When it comes to the foodstuff, the prices are all clearly marked above the items and it also says how much the cost is per pound or unit for quick reference. This makes it easy even for the untrained eye to see the value.
One thing about Costco is it can be very overwhelming when shopping there. It is very easy to get sidetracked from what your original intentions were for going there and this can lead to impulsive buying.