While Costco Wholesale is adapting to the expectations of young, e-commerce-oriented shoppers, the retail giant doesn’t plan to abandon the store-centered approach that’s been its hallmark for 35 years.
At Costco’s 2018 annual general meeting, CEO Craig Jelinek said the company wants to preserve the “treasure hunt” cash-and-carry experience that has brought it success, says a story in the Seattle Times.
Store traffic climbed 5.6 per cent last quarter, and Costco expects to open 20 to 25 new stores annually. Its first China-based store will open in April in Shanghai.
However Costco is also responding to the e-commerce boom driven by rivals like Amazon.com. It now operates e-commerce sites in six markets and plans to expand to Australia, Japan and even China in the next two to three years. It also offers in-store online showcases where shoppers can order items for home delivery.
Jelinek said millennials now represent upwards of 40% of new-member signups, and that while they aren’t Costco’s best customers, the company hopes to build long-term loyalty with the demographic.