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Crackdown: Costco Announces Huge Policy Change Test For Customers Entering Stores

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Today we will be talking about Americans’ most beloved membership warehouse chains. Yes! We are talking about Costco! The one that has the largest membership warehouse worldwide with more than 830 locations in eight countries and close to 117 million cardholders.

Costco is known for offering great prices on a wide range of products, but they’re about to make their valued customers sad due to the new policy it just put out. This policy is going to stop visitors from using the cards of members to purchase discounted goods.

How Does Shopping Work At Costco?

For anyone to shop directly at the physical Costco store a membership card is required. Let’s say you do not have a membership card, someone you know who has a membership card can bring you in as a guest. However, only the person with the membership can handle transactions during the shopping visits.

Source: Freepik/ASphotofamily

The rules are kind of different when it comes to online shopping. Costco’s website allows non-members to make online purchases, but here’s the thing, they can only have access to a selected deal. Also, it’s worth noting that online prices for non-members are often higher than those available in the stores.

What Are The Benefits Of A Costco Membership?

Every Costco member has access to various benefits, we’re talking about a long list of benefits here. Is it the food and grocery discount? or the gas discount ? or the clothing and home goods discount? travel discount? to mention just a few.

Source: Twitter/Michel Mulipola

They also have exclusive access to the “Costco Anywhere Visa card” which is a card that has enticing benefits. Apart from getting a 2% cash back from any purchase you make at Costco you also get to get a 4% cash back on gas purchases up to $7000 per year. Wow! Now we understand what the fuss is about.

Non-Members Have Been Using Membership Holders Cards

Over the past few years, Costco has noticed an increase in the number of non-members who are using existing members’ cards to access the benefits and pricing available at Costco. We all know that Costco’s business model relies heavily on their membership and things are becoming uncomfortable.

Source: Unsplash/Blake Wisz

However, Costco has taken its time to evaluate the situation and has issued a statement expressing its concerns. In their message to the public, Costco has expressed how the company believes that it is unfair for non-members to enjoy the same benefits and pricing as their actual members.

Shopping At Costco Might Be A Tad Different

Costco has decided to go off and get back at those who are intentionally trying to enjoy membership cardholder benefits without wanting to take the burden of paying the annual bill. After so many meetings they have decided to have a security upgrade.

Source: Wikimedia/Sikander Iqbal

As a part of the security upgrade, Costco has implemented a new protocol where everyone shopping is required to scan their IDs before entering the store. This process is linked with photo ID, ensuring security measures by verifying the identity of individuals entering the Costco premises.

The New Rule Is Already Being Enforced

The new policy we talked about earlier has now been implemented and all of Costco’s customers will have to scan their membership cards before they are even allowed to enter. This new policy also means that there’s going to be a slight change in the verification process for their members.

Source: Richard Arthur Norton/Wikimedia

By asking that their customers scan and verify their IDs before entering the store, the normal checkout process will change. Also, it means that the need to check out at the point of purchase will be scrapped. Costco hopes that this process will help improve customer experience.

Costco Members Are Seen Scanning Their Cards 

There are pictures of people trying to comply with Costco’s new rules all over the internet. A recent picture showed people following the new policy live in Issaquah, Washington.

Source: Freepik/master1305

The picture showed a Costco member scanning their card on the machine placed at the store’s entrance. The device was being operated by a Costco employee and just below the scanner the word “You will be asked to scan your membership card before entering the warehouse” was boldly written.

Costco Has Been Looking For A Solution Since 2020

Just as we mentioned earlier, this has been happening for some years, and Costco has been really looking for ways to solve this issue. Richard Galanti, who is the finance executive at Costco has revealed that the company has been actively seeking a solution to the issue since it started in 2020.

Source: Unsplash/Scott Graham

This became a full-blown issue during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the implementation of the new rule is likely a strategic response to address the problems associated with non-memberships and also improved security protocols.

The Costco Team Believes Their Approach Will Work

Richard Galanti and the other members of the Costco team are quite confident that their new identification procedure will work out. They are also expecting that the new procedure will help them provide a more effective entry and checkout process for customers.

Source: Wikimedia /Ambrosia LaFluer

By implementing this change, Costco aims to improve the overall experience and the efficiency of its operations. They also want to provide a seamless shopping experience for members while also maintaining their security measures.

Costco Has A High Record Of Membership Card Sales

According to the report from CNN, around 66 million people have bought their membership cards, and we have about 119 million non-members who may have procured them as part of a family membership deal.

Source: Wikimedia/Drumstick21

These membership card holders pay approximately $60 for a yearly membership and those who own an executive plan have to pay double this. Through this scheme, Costco has made about $4.2 million in membership fees alone. That’s about a 9% increase since 2021. They also have an excellent renewal rate of 93%.

Is this Change Permanent?

Costco is determined to continue testing the new identification policy, the company hopes that this new policy will help them improve their customer service. However, they have not officially announced whether the new policy will become permanent as it is still currently undergoing some testing.

Source: Wikimedia/Rhododendrites

As a Costco customer, you have nothing to worry about, and if there’s any information concerning the new membership policy you head over to the company’s official website.

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Mary Scrantin

Written by Mary Scrantin

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