Costco vs. Amazon; another retailer springs an Internet leak

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My Costco $50 annual renewal arrived in the mail last week.  I decided not to continue.  Why, because I have gotten addicted to buying groceries from Fresh Direct, an online grocery store. 

Don’t get me wrong, I have begrudgingly grown to, not exactly like, but be fascinated by the Costco experience;  all those big sizes, all those great prices all the free tastings.  The problem is that going to Costco costs me time and energy.  It is simply not a quick experience.  Once you have chosen your groceries you have to be on the hunt for boxes in which to put them (there are no bags at Costco so empty boxes are prized…if you can find them).  The boxes you do find are typically oddly shaped.  The awkwardness of using these boxes makes getting out of the store, into the car, out of the car and into the house a lot more challenging.

With Fresh Direct, I pay more but what takes me at least two hours at Costco takes me literally minutes on line.  Plus the guy brings the groceries in neatly taped boxes so putting my groceries away takes very little time.

Interestingly, the day after I decided not to renew I saw an interesting article, “Adding It up; Amazon Ship vs. Costco Shop.”  The author, Ron Lieber, found that he could buy the same products he had been buying from Costco in bulk from Amazon.  He noted that he paid more for his Amazon purchases but when he factored in the cost of his time, he was ahead of the game.

My position has been, and this article bears out, that on line shopping is going to increasingly have a negative impact on traditional bricks and mortar retailers.  As I have stated in the past, all a bricks and mortar retailer needs to do is lose just enough customers so that it cannot support its infrastructure.  

My guess is that a lot of you, like me and author Ron Lieber, put a great deal of value on our time.  If there are as many of us as I think there are,  a giant like Costco could start losing consumers to the Internet. Where do you shop for groceries?

One thought

  1. We have been grocery shopping online for the last two years. My wife is very organised and follows a monthly meal planner to create an online shopping list. This has reduced our monthly spend as we eliminate any impulse purchases as well as having a rolling total you can trim as you go or review your basket at the end. As per your article the biggest saving is time. With 5 kids the logistics and volume of a monthly shop at the store are beyond belief whereas in the comfort of home delivery at a specified time I can enjoy a wine while we unpack the neatly delivered parcels. Interesting that we spend less online buying groceries from a full service supermarket vs. visiting a discount, no service, no bags brick and mortar store.
    Happy online shopper- New Zealand

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