Experience with Costco? Something to Look Forward to?

Costco has started taking membership applications from today (last Friday). I read/heard their petrol station is going to be opened before the warehouse.

Just wondering whether anyone has shopped at Costco's elsewhere, is it something to look forward to? Will the petrol be much cheaper?

Thinking of joining to check it out for a few months, if it's not worth the $60 membership, maybe I'll just get it refunded…haha


Costco New Zealand memberships are now available for purchase at our temporary office. Sign up now and beat the rush on opening day.

Temporary office address: 15 Kakano Road Westgate, Auckland. NZ 0814.
Phone number: +64 09 870 4700
Operating hours: 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday

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  • +1

    Costco in the States was pretty good when I last shopped there some 7-8 years ago. Bulk purchases at a good price. Costco deals over at OzBargain seem to get a decent amount of upvotes

    • My experience was similar - the key being that almost everything was in bulk packs, so not like a normal supermarket where you could buy one item / jar / packet etc.

      However, that was 2014 or so, in California, so they might use a different model in NZ.

      Can't see petrol being much cheaper than Gull or Waitomo, but you never know - they might run it as a loss-leader to start with to get people into the stores with the promise of a big petrol discount.

  • As mentioned above, costco is good for bulk purchases. But as NZ is quite small market compared to other countries, not sure what model we will be looking at. Also, don't see what departments/items Costco would be carrying like electronics, travel etc. But I am pretty sure $60 would be worth it if you shop regularly at Costco.

    Anyone know if they will be having a tie up with Amex or not? I know they had in US, not sure how is it in Australia.

    So is $60 their regular membership cost or opening special?

    • Looks like $60 is the regular cost, they only offer 2 types of memberships here, Gold Star (personal) and Business ($55).

      • Business is cheaper?

        Is there any difference?

        • Yeah, it's strange, but I'm not sure what's the difference.

  • +1

    I can't imagine Costco being that much cheaper for gas unless its members only, even then. I don't like the American standard of really big things spread out really far. I expect them to make a loss on a lot of the store to get more signups since it's their first store. I go to west harbour around every 2 weeks so I will most likely be getting a membership. Their starting year is most likely to be the best time to sign up and I expect them to make a big splash.

    • I agree - it seems likely they will lead in with plenty of low, no, or negative margins to build up the membership.

      Also, you can see how people would subscribe then remain sticky in future years (keep paying the membership fee), and also succumb to the 'sunk cost fallacy' and think, 'I've bought the membership - better go and buy stuff there to avoid being a fool'.

  • you can get it refunded? tell me more

    • +1


      Product and Membership Guarantee
      On Membership: We will refund your membership fee in full at any time if you are dissatisfied.

      • Pretty sure the refund is pro-rata? Full refund seems too good to be true.

        • It does say "in full" and "any time" in their refund policy above. I heard as long as it's before the 365 days are up, one can get a full refund.

        • It will be full refund. Atleast that's how it was in US.

  • Just searched up how Costco gas stations work and luckily it is members only which means they are likely to lead with a large discount on fuel. One way to bypass without membership is with a "shop card", their version of essentially a gift card but only members can purchase them.

    1st store in NZ, 1st day/week/month, is $1 per litre unrealistic?

  • +3

    Lived in Australia up until a few years ago and shopped at Costco regularly. The size and price of the products they sell will most certainly appeal to families. We didnt tend to buy as much from the food/produce as a couple, but when kids were in tow it was really cost effective.
    Fuel was way cheaper than the usuals, and it drove down the prices in the area. You had to swipe your membership card to activate the pump, so it will most certainly be for members only.
    The other (somewhat strange) benefit, is that they will guarantee the products you buy so long as you retain a membership. We bought a vacumn that died 2-3 years after purchase and we took it back - they gave us a full refund of the original purchase price, no questions asked. Itd be great if that also came with them to NZ, as it is certainly an incentive to retain your membership.
    And yes, the full refund of the membership is a well-known thing (though probably seldom used).

  • I was a member for a few years, and assuming the offering is the same, I’d be happy I answer any questions based on my experience

    • Will they likely offer shipping nationwide for those of us not in Auckland (ie, online)? Or is this a shop in-store only offering?

      • Judging by the current wait for the online sign up to get online, while they probably will, I wouldn't hold my breath.

      • The au stores took 11 years to get online shopping. They might skin the au one to get it running quicker, though.

  • Haven't used them but always mentioned in a good way in the US groups I am in. My guess is they would have similarities to Gilmours here for their grocery lines.

    • +1

      Nothing like Gilmours who stock items and brands that our Supermarkets stock. Costco are an interesting animal, but considering the volume you have to purchase and store travelling to the shop you would not do it regularly. Great free samples that I enjoyed at the Brisbane North Lakes outlet. American foods and candy at good prices and TV’s etc at sometimes good discounts. Just know your prices before you buy as always. Also their huge pizzas were a steal but we used to cut them and freeze coking as required, especially loved their5cheese pizza…

      • It does look like they are not always the cheapest, but I guess for most people who have paid for the membership, it's easier to just assume they have the best value and always buy from there to get the most out of the membership fees.

        • +2

          I'm sure that's a part of their business model - exploit people who are fooled by the sunk cost fallacy, and think it makes sense to 'get the most out of their membership'.

          They likely have a mix of good prices, okay, prices, and not so good - exactly like everyone else really. To get good value, you'd have to pick and choose wisely, but most people are too lazy to do that - they'd rather sit on the couch and watch people play games :-)

    • I'm in a few of those groups too, interesting to see what most people are buying and the amount of stuff they are coming out with…haha

  • Do you think they will have a online ordering with delivery ? Or just in store shopping only?

    • +1

      Aus started with instore only (for like 2-3 years), then once they expanded beyond Syd/Mel, they did online and delivery as well. Itd be great if they did that in NZ too, but perhaps theyll wait to reach critical mass and/or after they launch their Christchurch store.

  • I worked for a large food manufacturer that supplied them in Aus. A part of our contract with them meant that we had to have regular in store displays and sampling - makes sense because you are committing to a large unit. As a consumer I found it novel and really liked the experience. Essentially if you are a cheapie you are kind of pre-programmed to like Costco.

    • At least I haven't notice the cult like following on their NZ fans group on here yet…haha

  • If anyone does register to their membership program before they open their store or have been on the phone with them. Can you please confirm
    1. The membership plans they are offering
    2. when will their fuel station be operational before Aug
    3. Which call credit cards will be accepted at fuel station
    4. what all pre-opening benefit/access does one receive before the store opens completely by end of Aug or start of Sept

    • They are offering personal (Gold Star - $60) and business ($55) memberships. Fuel station should be opening in May.

  • Does anyone know what is the difference between Personal & Business account? Also, what is required for Business Account?

    • My understanding is that it allows you the opportunity to resell goods purchased at Costco which the must crack down on somehow if you attempt to buy large quantites under a household card?

      • Thanks. Makes sense. I believe it's fine to use business card for personal use. I do have a business, but not sure how much I would be buying from costco if any over time.

      • You'd think there must be some downside to a business membership (compared to personal), else why would everyone not save $5 and go for business (excepting ignorance)?

        • On the assumption that you are a registered business, then it seems logical (i.e.must be in the NZ Companies register)

          • @Elvino: If you have to be a company, then it would exclude a lot of businesses, and include a lot of companies that are not businesses, but maybe that's how CostCo rolls?

  • Is the membership fee charged annually? Or one off?

    • Its an annual fee. If you head to the checkout with a lapsed membership, you can only purchase the goods by re-signing.

      • So why do those people to sign up now when the store is not yet opened.

        • Typically costco try to sign up as many memberships as possible prior to opening. Those memberships become active from the first day the shop opens, with a 12 month expiry (I think there is a 10-15 day leniency there somewhere at the end of the 12 month period).
          Costco memberships require a photo to be taken, so by signing up early, and getting your card. You can get straight into the store rather than the inevitable queue to signup on opening day.

          • +1

            @Elvino: Thank you, it's too far from where I live, only if they open another store in South/East AKL.

            • @txf: Sydney started with one store, and now has 3, Melbourne the same. So if they reach the right critical mass (and with IKEA going into Sylvia Park), its probably in their plans if they find the right site.

            • @txf: You'd have thought the best place to open their first store would have been in South Auckland / Manukau - interesting to do it out West.

              Maybe hard to find suitable sites anywhere in Auckland though (c.f. supermarket covenants!)

  • Aside from their cheap fuel and other loss leaders (hotdogs) are they much cheaper than the supermarkets?

    Looking at the australian costco site prices they look pretty good, especially if they are every day prices, but an astute shopper can pick up those deals if they shop around and wait for specials.

    Admittedly the range of groceries online is limited so my comparison really is only on coffee capsules which work out around 50-70c a capsule.

    • Can't answer in general, but we have not paid more than 50c per coffee capsule (Nespresso) for many years - PNS, NW, or CD are always doing specials on them.

      We just wait until they are on special, and stock up to cover months of consumption - they don't go off or anything (at least not in those kind of timeframes).

      • Just picked up boxes of 10 for $2.79 at Reduced to Clear (expiry 3/22).

        I'm always buying them on special/clearance - just before lockdown last year I added up and had over 40 boxes in the pantry. With working from home, 2-3 coffees a day, I've been chipping away at my supply and am down to about 10 boxes left.

        • Yes - the last ones I bought (Robert Harris) were, I think, 30c each (2 x 10 packs for $5.99), so not quite as good as your 28c, but close.

          We bought those about a year ago (maybe a little more), and had two cardboard boxes. I can't remember exactly how big the larger box was, but the smaller one we have just started on is about 75cm x 40cm x 30cm is still fairly full of them - I reckon maybe 400 - 500 boxes of ten or 4,000 to 5,000 capsules, but I might be over estimating as that sounds excessive….

          We are still working through them - one box is empty, but the other just started, so I guess we have gone through about 2,000 to 2,500 capsules in a year, but that is three of us, so probably similar rate of consumption to you. Interesting!

          I suspect we will never go back to purchasing as many coffees 'out' (from cafes etc), and our in-home consumption will stay higher than pre-Covid, especially for me, as I now work from home about 90% of time, compared to pre-Covid more like 40% of the time.

          I haven't looked for deals for a year or more now, as I felt we had enough, but maybe I'll start looking again. I'll have to start considering stock rotation!

  • They will have an online sign-up option. Most likely will be available before they open. Better to wait for that than to wait in line at the location.


    • +1

      cool. yeah, I agree. Time is valuable.

  • Petrol station opens today:


    91 - 2.497
    95 - 2.597
    D - 2.097

    Costco opens petrol station in Auckland with $2.50 a litre petrol, plans to take on supermarket duopoly

    • In the current climate, I don't even know if that's cheap or not anymore. Taking a look at gaspy the price at Costco is rather quite disappointing. Was expecting something a bit more substantial.

      • Prices are definitely not great given all the hype they have been creating. Not sure this is the lowest they could do, I suspect they might lower the prices when the warehouse opens to lure more people to shop there.

        • That would be a large stuff up. You can only open for the first time once. Even if they increased the price by 20c the next day, they would still have the price in the news. Missed out on a one time opportunity in my opinion. No marketing they can do would beat a grand opening discount. Perhaps they are saving it for when the store opens to call it their true opening.

          • @Bill: That's right, given their size, they should be doing a lot better than this. But looking at what they have been doing so far, they certainly don't have the best people running their launch here…haha

            • +1

              @akrotohur: Should have employed their directors from cheapies to know how their target market thinks. What are a couple tens of thousands to cement a stereotype of rock bottom prices, a couple hundred new signups would pay pay for it in membership fees alone.

              • @Bill: Why have an insanely low price when the big store is not open yet. The purpose of an irresistibly low fuel price is to get foot traffic into the main store across the road.

      • +1

        Prices are already lower in the West thou for whatever reason - so a little harsh as there can only be so much room to move . Its about 10c a litre below the cheapest out there by the looks of Gaspy.

        The price here in Takapuna I just went past is 2.80 - so thats 30c down on that! If i happened to be going past Costco - that would be worth a fill up (and of course if I was a member)

  • not sure whether they will have cheaper TVs….

    • Do a quick search on OzB for comparison of Costco AU vs the usual retailers on tv's. Highlights some pretty sharp deals to be had in a very competitive market. My own experience was that they were generally pretty sharp with their pricing in comparison

  • Costco finally opens next Wednesday - I guess we can expect a flood of listings on here for it.

    Who's planning on going along?

    • +1

      Wow, their pr is so unbelievably shit I didn't even know. I'm guessing they aren't going to have a one day sale as that would just be insane. Also, don't know how long some of the stuff has been sitting on the shelf. I think a forum for costco deals would be better than just spam in the main section for everyday price at costco.

      Anything people are eyeing to buy? I've got a trampoline, tv on my list so far.

      • I'm keen to check their optical prices. If it will be competitive to the likes of online optical stores.

        • OH! That's right. One of the biggest players to defeat luxottica. I didn't know our westgate store would get one.

          • @Bill: Yep, we're getting the full treatment. Optical, hearing, food court, tyres…

      • I havent seen too many trampolines in the Aus stores, but you never know your luck. TV's are (IMO) always cheaper than the usual brick and mortar stores.
        Plus the added bonus of longer warranties and change of mind policy helps too

        • I'm hedging my bets on the lifetime costco warrantee. I'll compare prices, but hope to get some saving at costco.

          • @Bill: Good Iuck with trying to get a lifetime warranty, suggest you get it in writing if AKL store says they offer it because the Brisbane North Lakes store says it is an urban myth and will not honour it. Might be something US stores had at one stage?
            Edit Just found this on sister Australian site: https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/511389

    • Waiting for the opening specials. Will decide if it's worth while to stand in the queue. As far as I know they send out the specials in email to members. Let's hope they arrive this week.

  • +1

    Online membership sign-up is now available on the website.

    • I see they've finally sorted Visa payments out, before they were only accepting MasterCard

    • "New Zealand brands on sale included Canterbury clothing, and high-value Manuka honey and collagen products."
      it's awesome that costco will be stocking local brands. :) Here's to hoping for a Whitaker's bulk pack haha

      • Ahh…Whittaker's is something to look forward to, I wonder if the 250g blocks will be cheaper than $3 each if Costco sells them in bulk…haha

        • +1

          Will be great to Price Beat at The Ware…. Oh wait nevermind…

          • +1

            @Arsonist: RIP 10% price beat. you will be missed.

      • Gilmours sell the 2kg bags of Dark Ghana bits (for baking), but its price ends up higher than if you'd just bought the equivalent amount of blocks from Pak N Save. Maybe Costco will carry those

  • Very excited to hear they have the rotisserie chickens. Those are loss-leaders in America and cost less than the whole raw chickens.

  • I saw they have Sur-Ron ebikes stocked, I wonder if they will be much cheaper than other retails in NZ right now.

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