Costco Tops Online Customer Satisfaction Among Retailers. What’s Their Secret?

There's more to their business strategy than free samples.


By Raquel Guarino

In terms of customer satisfaction, 2018 was a great year for Costco. The membership-only warehouse club was named the best in online customer satisfaction, ousting Amazon from the top spot it held since 2010. That’s according to the ASCI Retail and Consumer Shipping Report, a national organization which evaluates the quality of products and services across the country.

So why do customers like Costco so much? What are they doing to ensure customers are happy with their shopping experience? Let’s take a look.



Making shopping as convenient as possible has always been one of Costco’s strong suits. The store’s inventory balances low prices with bulk quantities of select brands, including their highly rated Kirkland brand. Recently, Costco decided to invest more money into the popular brand, which offers inexpensive and high value alternatives to a variety of brand name products.

In addition, Costco’s convenience lies in the large array of products and services available in one location. Whether you’re catering for a party, buying a large appliance or electronic, getting a new pair of eyeglasses, purchasing car tires, or even booking a vacation, a Costco membership offers access to a plethora of deals and discounts.

On top of that, Costco is teamed up with Instacart to offer same-day grocery delivery. That means instead of waiting in line to buy groceries, Costco now guarantees order deliveries within the hour. That added convenience means less stress for customers who prefer efficiency.


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Customer Centered

Customers have remained loyal to Costco because the retailer prioritizes the customer experience above all else. That experience includes its liberal return policy. Customers may return any product they’re not happy with, with only a few exceptions such as diamonds or electronics. The policy also lets customers return items without a receipt or purchased years beforehand.

It’s also hard to compete with a company that’s famous for its free samples. Try to walk through a Costco store without being tempted by a tasty, bite sized treat. Whether or not customers buy the product is besides the point; the experience of eating snacks for free as you shop most definitely creates a positive experience for customers. The idea of offering something of value for free helps customers feel appreciated. And it’s definitely a reason why people return.


Happy Employees

The way Costco treats its employees is another standout feature. In 2017, Costco was named the best employer in the US, edging out advanced tech companies like Apple and Google for first place. The company is known for offering great benefits to both full- and part-time employees. It also raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour (the second time they’ve increased wages in less than a year).So what does all of this mean for the customer experience? Not only do customers feel better supporting a company that treats its employees well, but happy employees deliver better customer service. With company benefits like higher wages, health and dental insurance, and a 401k, it’s no wonder employees love Costco just as much as the customers.


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