Costco – Time to get serious about Social Media?

Costco Wholesale Corporation was founded in Seattle and now has its headquarters in Kirkland, WA. It is a membership warehouse club that provides a wide selection of merchandise. As of 2012, it was the fifth largest retailer in the United States, and the largest membership warehouse club chain in the United States.

Costco focuses on selling products at low prices, often at very high volume. These goods are usually bulk-packaged and marketed primarily to large families and businesses. Furthermore, Costco does not carry multiple brands or varieties where the item is essentially the same except when it has a house brand to sell, typically under the Kirkland Signature label. This results in a high volume of sales from a single vendor, allowing further reductions in price, and reducing marketing costs. Costco is known to limit its price markup on items to 15%.

From a social media strategy perspective, Costco seems to not be active in this space. Costco did not have a twitter account or a Facebook page till couple years ago. A quick lookup at Costco’s twitter accounts shows zero tweets! It appears they created the account and then forgot about it. Its Facebook page has 871,494 likes and counting. It does very little in terms of attracting customers to it’s twitter or Facebook page. Most posts on Facebook have been about new store openings. Recently, they have started to post about their ‘online offers’ which is nothing but a link that take you back to the Costco online site. They also have started to post pictures about their vacation packages that they offer through Costco online but the content is very limited.

Perhaps it is Costco’s strategy to not participate; maybe they are monitoring and working a social media program behind the scenes. I’m sure they would like to listen to what their advocates, customers or detractors are saying and it’s only a matter of time before they realize the power of social media & how they can benefit as a company from its use.

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Filed under 2013 - Post 1, Class Notes, Uncategorized

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