Costco Quietly Adds New Feature That Shoppers Will Love

Costco is making a big change that members will love.

The company has traditionally focused on a no-frills warehouse model. Products are stored on pallets and simple shelves.

Costco keeps its costs low by not spending on fancy displays or store layouts. Instead, it focuses on cutting costs to offer lower prices.

Despite lagging in e-commerce, this is intentional. Costco believes the real value for members is the in-store "treasure hunt" experience.

However, Costco has started enhancing its digital presence. It offers same-day delivery through Instacart and has expanded its website.

Now, Costco is introducing a new online feature. This will change how members shop both online and in-store.

During the second-quarter earnings call, former CFO Richard Galanti announced a significant update to the e-commerce platform. "One of the things we're — we should be doing shortly is having warehouse inventory online," he said. This could encourage more in-store visits.

Galanti explained that online listings will indicate if items are available at nearby store locations. "But at the end of the day, if you look at something to buy online and we have it in the location or two in the zip code where you typically shop — in the location you would shop physically, we'll let you know you can buy there," he added.

There's an advantage to buying in-store. Galanti noted, "In many cases, it will be cheaper if you go pick it up yourself because the online costs might be higher — is typically higher, particularly on the nonfood items."

While traditionally not prioritizing online sales, Costco is now boosting its digital offerings. This includes exclusive online products.

"In terms of e-commerce, e-commerce sales in Q2 ex FX increased 18.2%. E-com showed strength in several areas, led by sales of gold and very recently, silver," Galanti shared.

The company has improved how it communicates online offers. "In terms of e-commerce sales over the past few months, we believe we've done a much better job explaining to our members the significant value propositions we offer," he added.

Costco continues to evolve, blending its traditional warehouse appeal with new online features to enhance member experience.