Here is a detailed review on the Costco affiliate program.
If you’ve been following esopress.com, you would have noticed that we’ve been writing more on affiliate programs lately. From Target to Walmart to Wayfair to Home depot to even Nike affiliate programs.
Gone were the days where you had to rely solely on the Amazon affiliate program to earn via affiliate marketing.
I mean, that was bad…
Relying on a single source of income is totally a bad idea! and without knowing the intent of the source is out-of-the-woods.
Take, For instance, if Amazon’s affiliate program closes tomorrow or even decides to drop down their rates to 1%, many people would contact HBP.
Well, thanks to the fact there are no limitations in joining affiliate programs.
Over the years, there have just been tons of affiliate programs popping at every corner.
Today, I’ll be taking on the Costco affiliate program. So, Just sit tight and take 10 minutes of your time as we journey, from the soup to the nuts of the Costco affiliate program.
But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page and fully know what Costco is all about.
What Is Costco?
Headquartered in Washington, United States, Costco is a multinational retailer company that engages in the bulk sales of products to its members at significantly discounted prices.
Just from 1983 to 2022, the company has had huge successes, with over 554 locations in the United States and 785 warehouses total worldwide.
According to Zippia, The company has over 105.5 million members with annual revenue of $166.76 billion.
All these began way back in 1993, as a result of the merging of two major pioneers of membership warehouses/clubs at the time – Price Club and Costco
The two companies had operated in close to similar strategies – Purchase goods in huge members from big brands and sell them to their members at cheap prices.
Obviously, this strategy paid off and today, Costco is ranked 6th in the top 50 global retailers, 10th in the topmost admired company, 8th in brand finance best retail brands, and many other achievements.
Costco Affiliate Program
The Costco affiliate program is one of the company’s marketing strategies to pump in high sales. The key here is, you promote their products, make sales In turn and you get paid for your effort.
Costco affiliate program is open to almost any type of website you can think of such as blogs, brochures, News sites, Shopping directories, magazines, and dozens of others. But, There are, however, some conditions that you must follow.
The company partners with one of the most prominent affiliate networks, CJ affiliate, which is one of the world’s oldest and largest affiliate networks that provide affiliate marketers Real-Time Reporting, sales tracking, and payment.
So, in other words, to join the Costco affiliate program, you’ll need to create an account with CJ. If you’re already a member of the Cj affiliate, then you have no problem, just search for Costco and apply.
Generally, CJ affiliate is quite easy to join and has a good number of advantages over its rivals.
However, for swift approval, you should have a website, fully functioning, with a decent amount of content and traffic in it.
What Products Can You Promote in the Costco affiliate program?
One of the red flags in most affiliate programs is the Lack of sellable products.
How do you even intend to make sales with poor products?!
Well, this is not the case for Costco, as you can promote all products available at costco.com.
However, Costco, unlike other big retail companies, does not focus on selling everything; rather, they offer products that your audience will definitely want to buy.
Since Costco’s major customers are usually subscribed as members, a good percentage of their products are stocked based on members’ requests and best-selling items.
So, in other words, some of the types of products available in Costco are prone to fluctuate.
This complies with Costo’s statement in one of their post (tagline); “Not everything…just everything you want” and the popular “if Costco doesn’t have it, I don’t need it”.
In general, products available at Costco are just a complete package for any viable affiliate program.
Let’s take a look at some of their popular product categories.
- Home improvement
- Clothing & Luggage
- Home & kitchen
- Health & personal care
- Gourmet foods
- Gift cards
- Health & personal care
- Sports & fitness
- Tires & Auto
- Jewelry & watches
- Patio & lawn
- Toys & books
- Home Services (installations)
- Groceries & pets
- Floral items
A whole lot, right?
That’s pretty much better than the Target affiliate program and also a little bit low compared to the Amazon affiliate program.
However, since the majority of Costco products are from reputable and popular brands, Costco still has a stance over Amazon.
So In turn, there are higher chances of conversion when promoting Costco products.
In all, Costco’s cheap prices are just points of attraction for buyers and since they’re well-known, buyers have no fear of being scammed.
This being said, let’s move over to the next section…
Costco affiliate program Policies
Costco has no stated policies/restrictions for its affiliates program – What do you expect from an affiliate program that has no landing page?!
However, it has one apparent restriction for affiliates and that’s a geolocation restriction.
Costco affiliate programs will only payout via their wholesale transactions carried out in the United States.
So Africans, Europeans, Asians, Australians, and every other person out of the United States of America are excluded from this affiliate program.
Cookie Duration (Referral Period)
Costco affiliate program, unlike several other affiliate programs, employs the use of a session-based cookie.
Heads Up – Session-based cookies are cookies that are stored while a user browses the web and would get deleted immediately the browser’s window is closed.
So this means that if a user clicks on your affiliate link and maybe decides to buy the product subsequently. At closing the window of the link, your affiliate cookies would be destroyed. Meaning that you’re no longer affiliated with the purchase of the product and you won’t earn any commission.
As said earlier, Costco has no stated policies for its affiliate program. However, to stay on the safer side, it’s ideal you follow the usual policies of an average affiliate program:
At the time of registration, your site must be Live and not under construction.
Before applying, your site should have a decent amount of content.
Legal, non-sexual, non-violent content should be avoided on your site.
Your website should be Family Friendly.
You shouldn’t promote any illegal material/product on your site
Sadly, this is where the bad side of the Costco affiliates program comes in.
Costco affiliates program does not work in percentages as many other affiliate programs would, rather, it employs a flat-rate payout structure.
According to Oxford Language, The flat rate structure is simply a pricing structure employed by marketers to charge a fixed fee for a service, regardless of usage.
So let’s bring this home…
The flat-rate payout structure means that affiliate marketers would be paid a certain amount of money regardless of the type and amount of product sold.
Costco affiliate program employs the flat rate payout pricing plan.
And as said earlier, Costco runs mainly based on membership purchases. Meaning, people subscribe monthly or manually to get products at discounted prices.
So, the company uses purchases made only by members (not normal customers) to pay affiliates. The higher the level of the member that purchases your product, the higher you earn.
Basically, the pay is $3 for all Gold Star membership purchases and $6 for all Executive membership purchases.
Regardless of the type and amount of product you sell, Costco’s commission per product still remains constant.
Imagine referring sales to a product that is worth $600, you still get to earn the same $3 – that’s bad!
Pros And Cons
While the Costco affiliate program is a good one, it’s bagged up with a lot of disadvantages. So the question is; do the Pros outweigh the Cons?
- Costco is indisputably a big brand. So, converting viewers to buyers won’t be a big deal! l
- There are always over 4000 stocks of goods at every streak. Y’all know the wheel; more varieties result in more customers preference which in turn results in more conversion.
- The Costco Affiliate program comes with a very low minimum payout threshold. You don’t have to stock up your commission balance to hundreds and thousands of dollars!
- The prices of their product are a big advantage to leverage to higher conversions.
- Costco Affiliate Program support team is dope thanks to their affiliate partner, CJ affiliate
- Very bad referral period strategy; Session-based cookies.
- The affiliate program is bagged with a poor commission rate – Unfortunately, this is a core factor to consider before selecting from the wide available options of affiliate programs.
- They’re not really any available marketing creatives, materials, or even banners for affiliates.
- The Costco affiliate program seems to only work for affiliates in the US.
Alternatives of Costco Affiliate Program
1. Amazon Affiliate Program
The truth is that you can’t make mention of affiliate marketing without quoting Amazon, the pioneers of affiliate marketing.
Amazon has been on the system for quite some time now, and over the years, the company has drastically evolved. However, one major drawback of the program is its 24 hours cookie duration (referral period). Yet, this is pretty much better than Costco session-based cookies
Excluding the fact that the Amazon affiliate program is a popular and recommended one, the company itself is a leader in the e-commerce industry.
Amazon’s products are focused on a whole lot ranging from retail goods to digital content, from web services to e-books. This as well applies to their affiliate program.
2. Target Affiliate Program
Target Corporation is a well-known retail corporation based in the United States founded way back in 1902.
Target is the eighth largest retailer in the United States and the retailer corporation worldwide after Walmart, Amazon, Costco Schwarz, and 8 others.
Coming to their affiliate program, Target’s affiliate program is one of the worthy opponents of Amazon as well as Costco. Target commission rate ranges from 1% to 8%, however, it comes in an increasing proportionality. Thus, the more you sell, the more you earn.
In terms of referral periods (cookie duration), the Target affiliate program comes in handy; a 7 days referral period (cookie duration) is pretty much better than Costco session based cookies.
Here’s a detailed review of Target’s Affiliate Program
3. Walmart Affiliate Program
If you’re inclusive, aiming to find affiliate programs of a popular brand focused on retail goods of all kinds, then Walmart should be a great option.
With over $534.7 billion in annual revenue, Walmart is the world’s largest retailer followed by Amazon and then Costco.
Walmart has a whole wide range of products, encompassing 4 million products. And you can promote just anyone available at Walmart.com
Here’s a detailed review of Walmart’s affiliate program
Sincerely, the Costco affiliate program is not really a good deal, however, with high traffic, good marketing strategy you can earn yourself a few tens, hundreds or probably, thousands of dollars (You can equally do this with any other relatable affiliate program!)
On the other hand, their so-called Session-based cookies, flat commission rate, membership blah blah blah, is just hell!