Costco is continuing to test curbside pickup at its three New Mexico clubs to determine if the service could roll out to additional locations.
Richard Galanti, Costco chief financial officer and an executive vice president, spoke briefly about the pilot for the clubs in the Albuquerque area Thursday during the wholesale club's quarterly earnings.
“The pilot's going well. Our members have responded to it and basket size have actually surpassed our expectations,” Galanti said. “Our focus, of course, is how can we be more efficient at doing it to determine if this offering can become scalable and make economic sense for us.”
Curbside pickup has grown dramatically in popularity and availability during the coronavirus pandemic. Retailers including Sam's Club, Best Buy, Macy's, Kohl's and Old Navy added it as shoppers try to make fewer trips to stores.
The Albuquerque clubs rolled out the new service with Instacart in January for members who can purchase about 2,000 items including groceries and select nonfood items. Costco also partners with the online and on-demand grocery company for same-day deliveries.
Curbside pickup fee
The added convenience comes at a price. There's a $10 pickup fee on each order and the minimum order is $100, Costco says on its website, adding each pickup warehouse has "dedicated pickup parking spaces."
"Item prices are the same as warehouse pricing at the time the order is placed," the website notes. "Item prices may fluctuate up or down from the price quoted when the order was placed."
On a post on the Costco Fans Facebook page, a popular group for diehard Costco fans, shoppers had mixed opinions of the fee. Many said they wanted to see curbside as an option at their club but didn't want to pay another fee since they pay for membership and because retailers like Sam's Club don't charge extra for pickup.
Others said they'd miss the experience of going into a club and loading up the cart. Some said they felt they'd save money even with the fees because it would cut out impulse purchases.
And then there were some who said they'd stick to using Instacart for Costco same-day delivery, which has a $35 minimum with prices including a service and delivery fee.
Costco told USA TODAY in January that the company is testing curbside pickup on "a limited basis in one market at this time."
On its website, Costco said store employees prepare the orders and deliver to members' vehicles and that curbside pickup "adds an additional expense to our low-cost business model and limited markup structure."
Costco has started to offer "Order Online Pickup in the Warehouse" for select items, including some electronics and jewelry.
For curbside pickup, Instacart works with more than 100 grocery retailers, including Albertsons, Aldi, Food Lion, Publix, Sprouts, The Fresh Market and Wegmans, and offers pickup at more than 3,500 stores across 45-plus states.
Instacart also delivers from 600 national, regional and local retailers and offers same-day delivery with several nongrocery retailers including the Disney store, Sephora, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Big Lots and Staples.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Costco curbside pickup: Instacart pilot going well in New Mexico