Costco Mount Vernon WA
Today Costco is the largest membership warehouse club chain in the world. There are 567 locations in the United States, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. The merchandise mix available in warehouses is tailored to local tastes with a mix of both American and local products available. They have a restaurant shop at every location that offers hot dogs, pizza, sandwiches, ice cream, smoothies and tailored local fare at relatively low prices. Costco's success is a result of its focus on selling products at low prices, often at very high volume. These goods are usually bulk-packaged and sold primarily to large families, small businesses and small business owners' families that have a membership. Costco concentrates more on overall value than the lowest possible price for its product range. Many of the products it stocks are high quality at a reasonable cost instead of inferior quality at a low price. Costco attracts the most affluent customers in discount retailing. Costco has such high sales volume and rapid inventory turnover because its profit margin on each item isn't very high but they make up for it in sales volume. They have formed strategic partnerships with their suppliers.
Costco doesn’t carry multiple brands or varieties where the item is essentially the same except when it sells its signature Kirkland in-house brand. Costco also doesn't have a P.R. department and it doesn't spend a dime on advertising. The way in which they save money gets passed down to the customer. The CEO, Jim Sinegal encourages working-class values in Costco’s corporate culture. He sets the example from his bare bones office-without-walls at the company’s headquarters office in Issaquah, WA and his modest salary of $350,000 a year. He visits over 200 stores a year and wearing a nametag that simply say Jim. All of his employees respect and admire him because Costco really values its employees. Costco pays it’s employees higher than average wages and better than average benefits resulting in the lowest employee turnover rate in the retailing industry. Employees are in-house word of mouth advertisers on how great Costco is. This loyalty decreases theft and encourages high value work ethics. Costco now accepts food stamps because of the hard hit economy.
As a warehouse club, Costco is open to only members and their guests, except for purchases of liquor, gasoline and prescription drugs in some US states due to state law and liquor license restrictions. The food court where one can purchase fast food items such as hot dogs and pizza is open to both members and non-members. Memberships must be purchased in advance; the cheapest membership costs $50 for one year. Purchases made at Costco's website do not require a membership, however a 5% surcharge is added to purchases made by non-members. Purchases made with gift cards, called Costco cash also do not require a membership. Executive memberships cost $100 a year and include other perks such as (e.g. car purchasing savings, home loans, car insurance, check printing services) Executive members also receive an annual "2% Rewards Check" of up to $500.00 from Costco on all purchases made, excluding select items such as gasoline, alcohol, and tobacco. Members can pay by using debit cards, cash, check and only American Express credit cards. Guests can’t pay by check. Costco memberships can be refunded in full at any time before they expire. Costco guarantees almost all of their products with a full refund within a reasonable amount of time. Exceptions include televisions, projectors, computers, cameras, camcorders, digital audio players, and cellular phones; these may be returned within 90 days of purchase for any reason for a refund. After 90 days those returns must be done through the manufacturer according to the terms of the warranty. Costco has negotiated with manufacturers to extend the manufacturers warranty to two years for new TVs and computers. Costco also offers a free "concierge" service to members that purchase electronics, to help answer questions regarding setup and use and avoid potential returns due to not understanding how to use the products.
Costco offers an extremely wide variety of items besides its boxed products including fresh produce, meat, seafood, fresh baked goods, flowers, clothing, books, software, home electronics, jewelry, art, furniture and more. Warehouse stores may also have tire garages, pharmacies, Hearing Aid Centers, optometrists, photo processing and gas stations. Members can also use Costco as a broker for air travel and cruise vacations at www.costcotravel.com. Costco has an amazing Website that offers members and non-members great deals. Learn more at www.costco.com.