Why Costco's Website Gets So Much Hate Online

Despite the many benefits people experience when shopping at Costco, the grocery chain's website leaves a lot to be desired in the minds of its members. One of the most egregious issues include the inability to search the website to see which items are available at the nearest Costco. Many shoppers also experience problems placing online orders for pickup in the store, or cringe at the disparity between online and in-store prices, as online prices are often higher.

The poor online experience becomes even more frustrating when you compare Costco to other retailers. Take Sam's Club, for instance, which allows members to access great deals online, while also offering a convenient shipping policy that allows the majority of items (save for frozen goods) to be brought right to your door. Customers have also made comparisons to BJ's Wholesale Club, where search functionality and item availability are more favorable when compared to Costco. While members are pretty vocal about what the Costco website gets wrong, they also have a few suggestions on how to improve the online shopping experience.

Which features do customers miss most of all?

Digital shoppers make up 33.3% of the world's population. Accordingly, it's in the best interest of retailers like Costco to make their digital services as user-friendly as possible. According to the chain's members, adding a scan and go option to the Costco app like Sam's Club offers could go a long way towards increasing satisfaction. This feature allows shoppers to scan and pay for items with their smartphones, thereby eliminating long waits in line.

As for the Costco website, shoppers would love the online experience to hew closer to in-store shopping. Along with pages devoted to new items available at the store, members would also like pages featuring clearance or discontinued items available at discounted prices. Shoppers are also interested in a function that offers online browsing of the items currently available within the store, which is challenging with the current site. These fixes seem relatively simple based on what other stores achieve, but Costco members might be waiting a long while for an update.

Will Costco ever overhaul its site?

Costco has never commented on its members' continued displeasure with its website. The only acknowledgment comes from a page on the site that offers general instructions to users experiencing errors, such as clearing the browser cache or removing and replacing items in the digital shopping cart. It doesn't seem like the warehouse retail chain is planning to update its site any time soon, and customers can't help but speculate why. Some members think the lackluster website is deliberate, as a poor online experience forces shoppers to visit the nearest physical location, where Costco hopes people will spend more money than they might online. 

Then there's the possibility of problems with the developers responsible for building and managing the Costco site. According to a Reddit commenter who claimed to have worked on the site, Costco uses "an incredibly small team" to handle their website, and this team "operates really slowly." Additionally, the commenter points to conflict within the team that they describe as "political." While the Costco site is widely derided, it likely won't affect members' dedication to the chain and its many excellent bulk buys