The number of Costco eCommerce and retail IT open job postings reached an all time high of 50 in September. A significant surge from the 20 postings it had in July, and 40 in August.
Prior to July, Costco only had a dozen eCommerce positions open in any given month. Half to staff its online pharmacy and half to support its online store. This left little room to innovate online. That’s in the past.
From software developers to business analysts, SEO specialists to automation analysts, Costco’s new eCommerce postings are signs it’s ready to innovate. The fact these postings are available to external candidates is also extraordinary. Costco historically “promotes from within” and fills office roles with store employees. It’s clear they’re struggling to fill all eCommerce and technology vacancies from within.
This gap in eCommerce talent has already impacted results. Costco’s September eCommerce sales were up +18% from last year, lagging behind Walmart at 37% and Target at 32%. Both Walmart and Target have more than triple the number of eCommerce postings Costco has this September.
The fact Costco is playing catch up online is due to its legacy retail culture. Buy things, sell things. Mike Parrott, Costco’s SVP of eCommerce, is a 19 years Costco veteran with 17 of those years as head of hardlines merchandising. He is no Marc Lore.
Costco’s online strategy is purely about merchandising unique products at great value, just like its stores. Not about innovating on web experience, or offering convenient fulfillment options. Costco has in fact relied on Instacart for grocery delivery since 2017. Walmart and Target both delivery grocery themselves.
There is however one product category in which Costco has leadership online: Pharma. Costco has had a mail-order pharmacy in Corona, CA and Jeffersonville, IN years before Amazon acquired Pillpack. To maintain leadership, Costco announced it will be trialing 1-hour prescription deliveries. It can’t afford to lose any boomer business to rivals.