Who doesn't love shopping at Costco? Well, probably nobody, but that's because Costco has purposely designed its stores to make you want to keep shopping there. According to a Wall Street Journal YouTube video, there is a psychology behind why you spend so much time in Costco.
First of all, Costco's 803+ locations are designed to make you feel like you're on a treasure hunt. There are no in-store maps or aisle signs. Instead, aisles are numbered and filled with assorted products. Plus, Costco is constantly moving products around and adding in new merchandise, so you really have to hunt for the items you want (and buy other products that catch your eye in the process).
Costco also employs treasure hunt psychology when selecting and promoting their items. Specifically, they pick interesting items and put them on sale to make shoppers feel like the items won't be there forever. So in order for consumers to get the lower-priced item, they have to act fast and buy it immediately.
The shopping chain is able to sell quality items at lower prices (like with their very own Kirkland brand) because of their membership model. They make most of their money on memberships, so they only have to mark up a product by 11% on average. Other stores instead mark up items by 25-50%. Another significant difference: Regular supermarkets have 40-50,000 items, whereas Costco has about 3,700.
Now, the next time you go to Costco and feel compelled to make several impulse purchases, you'll know why.