Costco has opened its flagship store on Alibaba's Tmall online marketplace. The store now carries mainly imported food and healthcare goods including its Kirkland Signature private label. It's driving traffic by ensuring quality of its all imported products and offering discounts and free delivery for some items.
Testing new ecommerce models
Entrance to China's ecommerce market is part of Costco's push to grow its online business. With online operations in the US, UK, Canada and Mexico, it has been testing new models in the US. This has included partnering with Google Express to offer same-day delivery. The partnership has also enabled Costco to make its in-store ranges available online; it typically offers a different range of products online, focused on non-food.
Growing focus on Asia
Asia is an important region for Costco, with operations in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, with the latter being the focus of accelerated expansion over the last two years.
"Costco sees tremendous growth opportunities in China, especially in light of Chinese consumers' increasing appetite for imported products," said Executive Vice President Jim Murphy.
In Asia, Costco runs 19 shops in Japan and 10 in Taiwan and South Korea. China is the first market in Asia where Costco has an online presence.