LAS VEGAS – Costco doesn’t have a public relations team and spends very little on advertising. However, the warehouse chain seeks to build its retail media network by giving brands a way to reach millions of members whose purchase histories are well documented.

“It’s a really good time to be starting fresh in retail media,” Mark Williamson, assistant vice president of retail media at Costco, said in this interview with Beet.TV contributor Tameka Kee at Shoptalk. “For those who are trying to partner with us on media…it’s remembering who we are and why we’re successful.”

Since the company opened its first discount warehouse in 1983, Costco has expanded to 876 locations in 14 countries. Its sales expanded 6.7% to $237.7 billion in fiscal 2023 as its international segment drove the fastest growth.

“Costco is wildly successful as a retailer. We have 130 million members worldwide, and we don’t do a lot of marketing,” Williamson said. “They come because they trust the value, they trust the quality.”

Selling advertising is one of the ways that Costco seeks to strengthen its collaborations with brands that earn a spot on its warehouse shelves and on its website.

“For our retail media program to differentiate from others, we have to be uniquely Costco,” Williamson said. “We have to fuel the mission of Costco with the retail media partnerships and solutions that we create. We want to be a program that is complementary to everything else that we are as Costco.”

The company seeks to be as transparent as possible with advertisers to ensure that their outcomes meet expectations. Advertising on its retail media network can be seen in the context of its broader shopper marketing platform, which includes its monthly coupon book and in-store savings.

“In general, Costco is viewed by the supplier community as an avenue for growth,” Williamson said. “For retail media or the solutions that we have…suppliers are used to investing in these vehicles to drive growth, to grow awareness of their items.”

You’re watching “Retail Media: Let’s Talk Shop,” a Beet.TV Leadership Series at Shoptalk 2024, presented by Epsilon. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.