Costco One Foot Ahead Of The Competition

I was in my local Costco store recently and while I was searching for my favorite razor blades (they were no longer listed – but that’s another story – grrrrr) I was amazed to see an orthotics analyzer from Dr. Scholls as part of the Health & Beauty offering.

Now, I think that Dr. Scholls Custom Fit line-up of orthotic products is quite ingenious as it provides in-store analysis of each consumer’s feet, with the fitting unit making a specific recommendation from the assortment of products integrated right into the unit.

It takes all the guesswork out of the purchase and provides a service somewhat like a high-end shoe retailer like The Running Room would offer its customers.

I know that Costco struggles to animate products beyond big boxes on pallets, but I think that this type of self-serve system that empowers the Costco member could be a potential for many products especially in the Health Care space.

The Custom Fit analyzer brings Health Care credentials to the Costco Pharmacy area, just like blood pressure analyzers did for pharmacies a quarter century ago.

In this case, Costco is ahead of traditional pharmacies as there are ten Custom Fit analyzers in Calgary – one at Costco, one at Rexall, one at London Drugs and eight at Real Canadian Superstores.

The big question is “will it last?”

Costco is relentless about floor / pallet productivity and even though these orthotics run about $50 it will have to move a fair amount of product to compete with the other products vying for space in Costco Pharmacy.

If it is successful, watch for other vendors looking to duplicate this product customization approach.


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