As COVID-19 has swept the country over the past year, retailers have been quick to incorporate service offerings that allow their customers to continue shopping with them. One of the key offerings that have become increasingly essential has been curbside pickup.
Costco has become the latest retailer that is preparing to begin offering the service as it seeks to deliver a more convenient and omnichannel experience to its customers and better manage foot traffic in its store locations. The retailer is in the midst of testing out curbside pickup at three Albuquerque, New Mexico locations, according to the company’s website.
The company has partnered with Instacart to power its same-day delivery service and will look to its employees to fulfill all orders. The service will offer access to roughly 2,000 items, which include both grocery and non-grocery items. Each order will require a $10 fee and $100 minimum purchase, but all products will be priced the same as in-store.
Costco held out on the offering for quite some time now for the simple fact that it has never needed the service to attract and retain customers. In fact, the retailer prides itself on its product discovery layout for much of its customer retention.
But on a September earnings call, Costco expressed interest in finally launching the service.
“There’s some retailers that are doing it because they feel they have to,” said Costco CFO Richard Galanti. “We don’t have our head in the sand on it. We look at it. We have people here that study it and maybe we’ll surprise you one day, but at this juncture we’re not prepared to do that.”
The move to test curbside pickup comes as competitors such as Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club have made efforts to expand their curbside pickup offering, while Target’s curbside pickup offering has grown 500 percent in December. Walmart also reportedly more than doubled the number of stores offering pickup from 1,400 locations to 3,500 in August 2020.