If you’re visiting Costco anytime soon, be prepared for a treasure hunt. The rotisserie chicken and cheap vodka purveyor allegedly designs its store layout to purposely confuse their customers.
That’s according to an article from Business Insider, that looked into some of the many queries posted in Quota and Reddit asking the question, ‘Why doesn’t Costco make it easier to find items in its stores?’
One shopper posted “Are these changes made purely to force people like me to walk by stuff I wouldn’t normally walk by? I bet it works, but it sure does rustle my jimmies.”
Turns out, it entirely by design, and to keep you roaming the aisles and spending more. Costco employees refer to it as ‘The Treasure Hunt”.
“They purposely move products around to different locations and are constantly rotating a certain percentage of their inventory to new products,” Tony Jacobson, who worked at Costco for 13 years, wrote on Quora. “This creates a ‘treasure hunt’ experience as you shop and helps you discover new products that you may not normally see on your shopping visits.”
And that’s not the only strategy meant to confuse: CBS reported that the lack of signage within the warehouse is also meant to encourage people to explore.
An article in Fast Company stated that Costco designs their layouts as an elaborate “racetrack” that exposes shoppers to “a greater number of products.” This layout allows customers to view home, seasonal, and lifestyle selections on low-profile racks that allow for open sight lines across any point of the store. The very outside of the track is home to practical staples, including toilet paper, whose location requires consumers to pass many impulse buys.
The retail chain tends to keep fresh food and essentials in the back of the store to draw you in. Meanwhile, many Costco employees place the store’s biggest bargains in the “center court” of the store, according to Business Insider’s Kate Taylor.
So if you want to keep your cart light on your next Costco trip, stay to the middle or the back of the store.