Costco’s in-store displays – a tale of omnichannel marketing possibilities

Published: April 05, 2023

min read

Brands create campaigns to get the attention of their audiences and draw them to their products. But most often, once the customer is enticed walk into the store, the story ends. Marketers cross their fingers and hope that the tug of their campaign is strong enough to make the customer buy his product and not be distracted.

But brands with walk-in stores have an amazing trick up their sleeve – if they only used it. Most often brands think that ecommerce has a ‘one-up’ on brick and mortar as they can do so much digitally to engage and entice the customer. They do not realize that they have this ammunition at their disposal – in-store marketing.

In-store marketing gives brands the opportunity to create amazing experiences for their customers, right at the point of sale.

Take the example of Costco. They have allowed Whirlpool to set up display stations in several of their outlets to let customers know that Costco is not just a seller of bulk merchandise, but of appliances as well. Whirlpool has been setting up showroom-like displays in about 75 Costco outlets since 2019, and plans to set up its KitchenAid displays in 30 stores this spring.

The displays are tasteful and in keeping with the products that are advertised. Utility-oriented displays for Whirlpool, and a focus on the love of cooking and creating for KitchenAid. Needless to say, the displays and the messaging are completely different.

Now that the brands have announced that their product lines are available at Costco, the next step is to make this even more engaging. They plan to add some QR codes to the displays, so customers can get more information about each of these products, should they wish to know more.

What we think about this

Costco has large sprawling physical stores and a strong online presence as well. It is a brand that has a strong omni-channel presence with brick and mortar warehouses, a great website, a mobile app and plenty of ways to mix it all up.

The displays of appliances are to create awareness and to guide a physical shopper who was inspired by an online promo, to find what they were looking for. All this is great!

But Costco needs to tap into the infinite potential that these displays afford. They need to make them pop so loud, that they get the customer to stay longer – the longer they stay, the more they will buy.

The displays are the starting point – they need to move to the next level with some technology thrown in, to make them truly pop. Costco plans to add some QR codes to the displays, so the customers who want to know more, will be able to find the information they need.

With the advances in technology, there is so much that brands can do. The bottom-line is that there needs to be interactivity and deep engagement – and for that there is a whole range of tech to choose from. Anything from creating virtual reality spaces or a step into metaverse to using even AI to mix it up a little!

Today there is no limit to what technology can do. With the right game plan, the right strategy and the right implementation, infinite possibilities open up.

And that is the direction Costco or any brand must go!


Pete Johnson

Pete is a MarTech expert guru with a knack for getting diverse MarTech solutions work for brands. He has a wealth of experience in working with a plethora of MarTech platforms that dive Personalized Omnichannel Experiences. When he's not at work, you can find him playing basketball or listening to jazz.


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