Costco Affiliate Program (2023)
Costco is a membership-based retail giant known for its warehouse-style stores and bulk shopping experience. Unlike Amazon and Target, Costco focuses on selling products in large quantities at discounted prices, catering to individuals and businesses looking to save money on everyday items.
Does Costco have an affiliate program? Yes, Costco has an affiliate program that anyone can join.
In this review, you will learn how to become a Costco affiliate and everything you need to know about the program.
Costco Affiliate Program Overview
Cookie Duration: Session-based
Where to Join: CJ Affiliate
Payment Options: Payoneer, Electronic Funds Transfer
Costco Affiliate Program
The Costco affiliate program can be joined through the CJ affiliate network here.
Even though Costco does not operate just in the USA, Costco affiliates can only earn commission from US online store purchases.
If your audience is not primarily from the USA, then the Costco affiliate program is not for you.
The program does not specify any requirements except having a website or a social channel.
Costco has the shortest possible cookie duration - a session-based cookie.
This means that Costco affiliates only get credited for sales that happen immediately after clicking on your affiliate links.
If someone clicks on your affiliate link, adds the product to their cart, but then gets distracted and closes the browser tab with the intention of completing the purchase later; unfortunately, you won't receive any commission for that transaction.
Session-based cookies are hated among affiliates, and for many, it is a reason not to join an affiliate program.
Nevertheless, some of the most popular affiliate programs also have session-based cookies, and many affiliates earn a full-time income from them so don’t condemn Costco just yet. An example could be the Booking.com affiliate program.
Now let’s take a look at how much Costco affiliates can earn.
Costco Affiliate Program Commission
Costco offers a wide range of products across various categories. Even though they are mostly known for selling food, one can also get electronics, beauty products, etc.
However, what products you promote does not affect your commission, as Costco pays flat-based commissions for membership purchases.
You earn a $3 commission for Gold Star Membership purchases and $6 for Executive Membership.
Therefore, if a company purchases cleaning supplies in bulk for their five-floor headquarters worth thousands of dollars, you will only earn $3 or $6, depending on the membership they have.
For reference, the Gold Star Membership costs $60 a year, and the Executive $120.
It is important to mention that anyone can shop in the Costco online store. You don't need to be a member.
Non-members, however, are subject to a 5% surcharge on their orders, and there are several exclusive items on the site that are exclusively accessible to Costco members.
Costco affiliate program seems quite popular on CJ Affiliate as the program has high Network Earnings.
This is a little surprising as their EPC (earnings per hundred clicks) is relatively small.
At the time of writing this review, the 7-day EPC was $12,76.
That means that affiliates, on average, earn $12,76 for 100 clicks.
In general, affiliate programs with high Network Earnings have higher EPC, but that's not the case with Costco.
In order to withdraw your commission directly to your bank account, you need to earn a minimum of $50 in total.
Alternatively, if you prefer to be paid by check, the minimum amount to qualify for payment is $100.
Can You Make $1,000 a Month as a Costco Affiliate?
Let’s do a quick, simplified hypothetical example to give you an idea of what it would take to earn $1,000.
For this example, I will be pessimistic and assume that your referrals only buy the Gold Membership that brings you the $3 commission.
To earn $1,000, you would need around 333 people to purchase the Gold Membership.
If your content with affiliate links had the standard 1% conversion rate, your content would need to be read by 33,300 people.
Note: According to one Costco annual report and Investopedia, approximately 45% of Costco shoppers opt for the Gold Membership, while 55% choose the Executive Membership. Surprisingly, this means that you could expect more sales from the more expensive membership.
How to Promote Costco
Before joining the Costco affiliate program, you should consider if Costco products and benefits align with your audience.
For example, Costco is known for offering discounted prices and bulk deals, making it attractive to individuals and families looking to save money on everyday items. If you know your audience consists of budget-conscious shoppers, you could have a decent conversion rate promoting Costco products.
I have seen some personal finance blogs promoting Costco products, which I thought were a good strategy as people reading finance blogs are more cost-aware and thrifty.
According to data from the analytics firm Numerator, the typical Costco shopper in the US tends to be an Asian American woman aged between 35 and 44, married, and residing in a city in the Pacific Northwest.
This type of information is priceless for affiliate marketers. Before promoting any product through any affiliate program, you should always think about the customer profile and do some research.
Sometimes the customer profile is obvious. For example, anyone would guess that Shein's audience is mostly younger women.
But sometimes, it is not that clear.
I will be honest, before writing this review and doing any type of research, I thought that the typical Costco customer would be a business owner. I am not an American, and I have never been to a Costco store. I assumed that since Costco sells for wholesale prices in bulk, business owners would be the typical customers, as I know a couple of wholesale chains in Europe that primarily target business owners.
Therefore, always do your research.
If what you promote does not align with your audience, you will have a miserable click-through rate on your affiliate links and generate very few sales.
Summary: Pros & Cons
Here is a brief overview that highlights the main advantages and disadvantages of the Costco affiliate program.
- Trusted brand
- Wide selection of products
- Buying in bulk is becoming increasingly popular
- Low flat-based commissions
- Session-based cookies
- Affiliates can only earn commissions from sales made through the Costco US store
Should You Become a Costco Affiliate?
Costco is a reputable brand, and it is considered one of the most popular wholesale stores in the USA.
However, the Costco affiliate program is not that great. Costo affiliates earn lower flat commissions, and the program also utilizes session-based cookies, which limits the earning potential as customers do not always complete their purchases in a single session.
Also, the program is limited to sales from US stores, so if your audience is from elsewhere, then the Costco affiliate program is not for you.
If you have a US-based audience and your blog is about saving, finance, or about something else that aligns with Costo's offers, then Costo might be worth trying.
If you are in a niche that does not align with Costco's customer profile, I recommend joining a different program.