The Open Secret of Costco Shopping: Costco Next

What is Costco Next? It’s a specialty shopping zone of Costco.com that has highly curated products at discounted prices.

 Exterior view of a Costco store on August 18, 2020 in Teterboro, New Jersey
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Veteran Costco shoppers are familiar with the limited-run vendor roadshows for high-end (but heavily discounted) items like Vitamix or Traeger grills that liven up Costco warehouses, particularly on weekends.

The “surprise treasure” nature of these offerings flesh out the private label Kirkland Signature brand of products that draw shoppers in regularly. But Costco is employing a similar strategy in an out-of-the-way online portal of its website. It’s called Costco Next, and it contains a curated selection of limited goods Costco says are supplied by “some of Costco’s most trusted suppliers.” They’re mostly in the home goods, tech, fashion and outdoors realms – a hodgepodge of retailers you might know and some you probably don’t.

To let the warehouse giant explain it, “this innovative approach helps us achieve our goal of bringing a broader selection of goods to our members while increasing the value of the Costco membership.” That’s a smart play, considering Costco is due for a rise in its annual membership fees much like Amazon boosted its membership fees.

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Costco Next isn’t new. It’s been around since 2017. Lately, however, Costco has been adding more brands to the limited-run site. And other warehouse club chains, BJ’s Wholesale Club and Sam’s Club, don’t appear to have an equivalent of what Costco is doing online with Costco Next.

So, what are the deals? There are currently 41 brands online in the Costco Next universe. Some are familiar: Invicta watches, Mikasa dinnerware, Dearfoams slippers, Philips lighting products, and Thomas Kinkade Studios fine art.

You’ll also find Artika lighting products, Baggallini accessories, Bench activewear, Cangshan handcrafted cutlery, Briggs & Riley luggage and Golden Arowana flooring among others

How Do I Use Costco Next?

Click into the Costco Next page. You’ll find the link nested toward the bottom of the Costco home page. On Costco Next, click on one of the brands, like Invicta watches. A page pops up with products available at Invicta (men’s watches, ladies watches and collaborations). You must enter your first and last name and your Costco membership number (even if you’re already signed on to Costco.com). Click “visit Invicta.” You’ll be taken to Costco.Invictawatch.com to buy from the provider at Costco prices. Under “collaborations,” an Invicta Disney Limited Edition Men’s Gold and Black watch sells for $114.99 (regular price $259) and an Invicta Shaq Collection Sea Hunter Men’s Two Tone Gold with Diamonds watch sells for $319.99, regularly $414.98. Under men’s watches, an Invicta Venom Hybrid Double Open Heart Mens Black and Mother of Pearl watch is $349.99, regularly $449.43.

But are these smart buys? We checked out what appeared to be the same Disney watch on Amazon.com (opens in new tab). It was selling for $109.99, $5 less than it was selling on Costco Next. Mind you, it isn’t always easy to compare apples to apples – or Shaqs to Shaqs. We had a hard time finding new Invicta Shaq collection watches available elsewhere that matched up with what Costco Next was offering via Invicta.

And be careful about how prices display when in the Costco Next portals. Invicta gives you the Costco price up front. So does outdoors gear company Klymit (and it also notes up front shipping is free). Portable charger brand Anker, however, shows a higher list price and tells shoppers the Costco member discount will show up at checkout. And for Anker, the 20% Costco discount comes only with a $50 minimum purchase. And, indeed it did. The Anker PowerCore 20100mAh Portable Charger Power Bank that was listed for $59.99 was $48 when I put it in the shopping cart. Shipping was free. On Amazon, that Anker PowerCore 20100mAh Portable Charger Power Bank (opens in new tab) was selling for $59.99.

Bob Niedt
Online Editor, Kiplinger.com

Bob is a Senior Online Editor at Kiplinger.com. He has more than 40 years of experience in online, print and visual journalism. Bob has worked as an award-winning writer and editor in the Washington, D.C., market as well as at news organizations in New York, Michigan and California. Bob joined Kiplinger in 2016, bringing a wealth of expertise covering retail, entertainment, and money-saving trends and topics. He was one of the first journalists at a daily news organization to aggressively cover retail as a specialty, and has been lauded in the retail industry for his expertise. Bob has also been an adjunct and associate professor of print, online and visual journalism at Syracuse University and Ithaca College. He has a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater from Hope College.