There's Actually A Reason Costco Doesn't Label Its Aisles

Warehouse chains like Costco have more unconventional setups than traditional stores. We've come to expect the open warehouse atmosphere, the bulk product selection, and the free samples set up at the end of many aisles. While some of the most characteristic elements of the store make sense, others leave customers scratching their heads. One design feature is especially interesting — why doesn't Costco label its aisles?

Having some sort of guidance as to what each aisle houses is a simple concept, and is very helpful in helping customers navigate the store. Costco doesn't have any such thing, and this lack of specific signage is actually by design. Costco wants its members to walk up and down each aisle so that they can look at every product the chain has to offer. This usually means customers will buy more because they see things they weren't expecting to. So the next time you go to Costco, don't look at it like a regular shopping trip. Think of it as a treasure hunt.

Having no signs for the aisles is a smart way to get customers to spend more, and it's actually far from the only sneaky strategy Costco employs to do so. 

How Costco inspires you to spend more money

Costco has a few different strategies in place to encourage customers to shop more, and some are more obvious than others. Of course the chain's free samples are a surefire way to entice customers that may have never known about a new snack or dinner offering, but let's dig into some of the more unconventional methods. 

For starters, Costco's carefully planned entrances are secretly designed to loosen your wallet. The chain designs its stores to encourage customers to spend more by putting essential items like fresh food, milk, and sugar in the back while nonessentials like TVs and jewelry remain up front. So if you're a chronic impulse buyer, you might want to be careful in this warehouse chain. 

Another strategy Costco uses to help you spend is that they will routinely change the location of common household products like light bulbs and paper towels so you have to take a different path every time you shop. This further encourages your eye to linger on all the stuff you didn't really come for. Lastly, Costco also regularly fazes out many of its products to replace them with new ones, and this limited time stock encourages shoppers to buy more. You never know what will be taken off the shelves next. 

How to find what you need in Costco

While splurging on items you didn't know you wanted can be a fun way to treat yourself, overspending can quickly become a recipe for disaster. Luckily you don't always have to be fooled by tricks like aisles without labels. There are ways to get around these traps, and awareness is the first step in overcoming them. 

If you're tired of the tricks, remember that most Costcos are set up in similar formations, so you should be able to roughly know where things might be. As previously mentioned, Costco usually designs its many locations so that essentials like bread and milk are at the back of the store. This means that more expensive items like electronics, luxury handbags, and bedding supplies will be closer to the front. If you want to avoid overspending, consider starting your journey at the back of the store and working your way forward. If you can't fit the TV in your cart, you might be less inclined to buy it. 

Beyond these basic ideas, it's difficult to get specific about store layouts because Costco is always changing. So when in doubt, don't panic. You can always ask a Costco employee for help.