When Retailers Don’t Need to Compete on Price

Photo by Kate Plants on Unsplash

A few years ago, my wife wanted to buy a new nursing chair in anticipation of our son’s arrival; her current chair was used for our first three children and it’s seen better days.

She found a chair she liked at Costco. Then she found the same chair at Best Buy for $70 less. She bought it from Costco anyway. And I fully supported her decision.

If you’re a Costco shopper, you likely already know that Costco has one of the best return policies in the retail industry. If you don’t like your purchase for whatever reason, you can bring it back for a full refund, no questions asked. (And since they maintain a record of everything you purchase there, you don’t even need your receipt.)

Two years ago, we purchased all of our kitchen appliances from Costco. When our freezer arrived, we noticed a large dent in the front panel. I called Costco, and they arranged for the old freezer to be picked up and new freezer to be delivered. That new freezer also arrived with a dent… so they quickly replaced that one too. (Thankfully, the third one was fine.) You can buy anything at Costco almost completely risk-free, because you know if you don’t like it, Costco will make it right.

For us, that peace of mind was worth more than $70.

Retailers don’t have to compete on price if they give their consumers other reasons to be loyal.

David Pullara is a Chief Marketing Officer, writer, speaker, consultant, and course facilitator for the Schulich Executive Education Center. His career has included roles at Starbucks, Yum! Brands (Pizza Hut), Coca-Cola, and Google. You can read his thoughts by following him on Medium, LinkedIn, and Twitter.