Are you considering the Costco affiliate program for your next affiliate marketing campaign?
If you are, you will find this article somewhat interesting because I’m about to share with you everything you need to know about the popular retail affiliate program.
Choosing the right programs to promote as an affiliate marketer is crucial to your success. It can make or break you as a marketer, so knowing which companies to promote is vital.
Costco is a well-established company worldwide with loyal members who love the service they provide — but what about their affiliate program?
Is it worth promoting?
In this Costco affiliate program review, you’re about to find out.
Let’s get started.
What Is Costco?
Costco is one of the biggest retailers in the world. The wholesale supplier provides top brand products at wholesale prices for its members.
They offer good savings when buying various products in bulk and currently have stores in hundreds of locations.
They sell many products from food to furniture, electronics to jewelry.
Costco Company Profile
Costco was formed in 1976 and operated as ‘The Price Club.’ They opened their first Costco store in 1983 in Seattle and became the first company to make $3 billion in sales within six years.
Below is a breakdown of the company profile:
- CEO: W. Craig Jelinek
- URL: www.costco.com
- Formed: 1983
- Address: 25 1st street Cambridge, MA 02141 United States Of America
- Costco Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Costco/
- Industry: Retail
- Employers: Over 4k
- Number Of Warehouses (Worldwide): Over 800
- Affiliate Program: Yes (through Commission Junction, now known as CJ Affiliate)
Does Costco Have An Affiliate Program?
Yes, they have an affiliate program running through the CJ Affiliate platform (previously called Commission Junction).
CJ affiliate is a well-established affiliate platform. They pay affiliates on time, and you shouldn’t have any problems using the service. However, the Costco program is only available for those who live in the United States of America.
Although the marketing material for this program is limited, you do have a dashboard that shows your referrals and relevant tracking information.
What Products Can You Promote?
Costco doesn’t pay commission on your referral purchases but rather the memberships you sell. They have two primary memberships on offer — the Goldstar membership and the Executive membership.
You only get a cash reward when you sell a Costco membership.
However, if you wanted to inform your audience of the products available from Costco, then the list below features some of the popular items:
- Beauty, Health & Personal Care
- Furniture, Home & Kitchen
- Toys & Books
- Electronics & Computers
- Food & Kitchen Appliances
- Sports Equipment
- Baby Products
What Are The Main Benefits of the Costco Affiliate Program?
Let’s take a look at the main benefits of the Costco affiliate program.
Costco is a household name and has hundreds of stores in the United States. This is beneficial because you will find it easier to sell its memberships to your readers as people will trust the brand.
The company has been made famous by offering low prices on bulk purchases. The Covid pandemic has seen an increase in the number of people buying in bulk — some call it panic buying.
Still, as an affiliate, you can exploit this opportunity and introduce them to a membership plan that will find them the best prices on bulk services.
You receive support and guidance from an affiliate manager. In addition, you can contact them via email with any issues or problems, and they will get back to you with support reasonably quickly.
Low Payout Threshold
You only need to earn $50 for a bank payment and $100 for payment by check.
Costco allows you to use coupons and codes to encourage your readers to sign up for a membership. You can use them as long as they are available to the general public and provided by the affiliate program.
Suitable For Certain Niche Markets
If you’re a money-saving expert or into prepping, this affiliate program could be a good opportunity for you to make some easy sales.
What Are The Negatives of The Costco Affiliate Program?
Now let’s look at the negatives of being a Costco affiliate.
Costco uses a session-based cookie system, which means you only get paid if the customer purchases while on the website.
If the customer was to close the browser, your cookie session ends and you won’t receive a payment if they come back to purchase later.
Deep Linking Not Available
When you deep-link to a specific page on a website, it can help you make the sale as an affiliate. For example, you could link to a page selling toilet rolls in bulk, and it will have a better conversion rate than linking to the home page. Of course, this depends on your marketing tactic, but in general, deep linking is a valuable strategy to have at your disposal.
Unfortunately, Costco doesn’t allow deep linking, so you can only link to the page the affiliate link sends them to.
Poor Marketing Material
Most (good) affiliate programs will provide you with marketing material to help your promotional efforts. These could be banners, videos, screenshots, email swipe files, keywords, and more.
Costco doesn’t provide any of this.
The affiliate payment amounts from Costco are pretty low compared to similar retailers. The low payments are mainly down to the amount they pay affiliates for the membership sales. You can only get paid on selling memberships and not what they purchase.
Costco Affiliate Commission Rate
Let’s elaborate on the commission rate you receive as an affiliate.
Costco has two flat payout amounts, which in my opinion, is a real disappointment to the program.
If you refer a customer who purchases a ‘Gold Star Membership,’ you will receive $3, and for those who buy an ‘Executive Membership,’ you will be paid $6.
These payments are low for such a big company. Considering that you can get a percentage sales commission from similar companies like Amazon and others, it’s a bit hard to accept.
How Do You Join The Costco Affiliate Program?
To join the Costco affiliate program, you’ll need to create an account with CJ Affiliate. In addition, you will need to enter your marketing plans, name, email, and accept a few terms and conditions before being accepted.
As long as you have a web presence (website), you shouldn’t have any problems.
What Is The Best Way To Make Money From The Costco Affiliate Program?
My advice for those who want to refer their readers to Costco would be to target those looking to save money.
You could create a series of blog posts that highlight a specific product with a great price and then point them in the direction of the Costco membership.
If you wanted to take it a step further, you could create a weekly email newsletter highlighting the week’s deals and even run a podcast or Youtube channel to enhance your marketing efforts.
Another alternative method would be to create a PDF file rounding up the best deals on Costco. You could keep it to one niche topic (like groceries) and list them all with links to Costco.
Then create a landing page and give the PDF away as a freebie to your readers.
You could title the landing page as ‘Save Money On Your Shopping Bill With This Guide’ or something along those lines. Of course, this method will require a bit of work initially, but if you do it right, you can build your email list and earn some money.
Don’t forget to add your affiliate links and share your articles and free PDF landing page offer on social media.
Alternatives To The Costco Affiliate Program
If you’re looking for an alternative to Costco, you have several options available to you. These include Amazon Associates, Walmart, and Target.
- Amazon — Commission rate between 4 and 20%
- Target — You can earn up to 8%
- Walmart — 1% to 4%
The main difference with the above alternatives compared to Costco is that you receive the percentage commission from the total amount of sales the customer makes — with Costco, this doesn’t happen.
Is The Costco Affiliate Program Worth Promoting?
Suppose you already have a website in the frugal living niche or the prepping niche. In that case, you could sign up as an affiliate and pretty easily add your affiliate links for your existing readers to see.
They will appreciate the chance to buy products in bulk, and the savings are pretty good.
However, if you’re a new affiliate looking for a program to create a marketing campaign around, I would recommend looking elsewhere, mainly because of the low payments.
You only receive $3, or maybe $6 at maximum. If that customer signed up and spent $1000 on products in one session, you get a pittance really compared to the sale amount.
These low payments are hard to accept.
If that same customer spent the same amount with Amazon, you could receive between 4% and 10%, which would be a significant jump in commission compared to Costco.
To sum up, the Costco affiliate program is worth signing up for as an additional source of income to an established presence (in the right niche) you already have, but the payments are low. If you’re looking for a new affiliate program in retail as a standalone program, I would consider other options.