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We all know how amazing Costco can be, with its free samples, cheap booze and bulk prices.
But schlepping the kids there, wandering the aisles, standing in line and then trying to cram everything into your car can sometimes require time and energy that you just don’t have.
There’s a better way. Instead of doing all that, considering having Costco items delivered to your door. There are a couple of services out there that will do this for you. And while you’ll be sure to pay a delivery fee, when you factor in what you’d spend on gas and all the extra items that somehow find their way into your cart while browsing the bowels of Costco—you may find that paying a few extra bucks to outsource your shopping not only saves you time and lugging but some money, too.
1. Google Express
You may not have heard of or used Google Express yet, but chances are you’ll become much more familiar with Google’s delivery service in the coming year. Costco is one of 45 retailers that Google Express will deliver, often same-day, to your door for a $4.99 delivery fee per order.
The company doesn’t deliver items that need to be refrigerated or frozen yet, but you can order other groceries, including cereal, juice and snack foods, along with paper products and other dry goods.
With Google Express, you must spend at least $15 at Costco or you’ll also pay a $3 small-order fee. You also need to be a Costco member to order items through Google Express, which offers same-day, next-day and two-day delivery.
If you sign up for a Google Express membership, which costs $95 per year or $10 per month, delivery is free once you pass the Costco minimum. In addition to the delivery charge, you may pay higher prices than you would if you shopped in the store. Google doesn’t specify which items are priced higher than in-store, so it’s something savvy shoppers should look out for. On the flip side, Google Express notes that in most cases you’ll get the benefit of any special promotions happening in the store at the time your order is purchased.
Google Express serves more than 90 percent of the U.S., according to USA Today. Google plans to service the entire continental U.S. by the end of the year, according to TechCrunch. If you find that your area is not yet covered, it’s worth checking back on the regular. Enter your zip code on the Google Express website to confirm whether you’re eligible for Costco delivery.
Instacart will also deliver your Costco items, even if you’re not a Costco member. The company delivers all types of Costco groceries, including refrigerator and freezer items, in major cities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
With Instacart, you place your order online and schedule a delivery time—items can be delivered in as little as an hour. Then, a personal shopper pops into Costco, picks up your items and drops them off at your house. Your order must be $10 or more.
Instacart delivery fees range from $5.99 to $7.99 per order and your first order is free. They sometimes charge a “busy pricing” fee during high-demand delivery periods. A 10 percent service amount is also added to your bill to help pay the personal shopper’s commission, though Instacart says you can remove or edit that amount before you place your order. Those tips are optional, but encouraged.
You can also sign up for a membership plan, which includes unlimited free deliveries and no busy pricing fees for $149 per year or $14.99 per month.
Instacart offers some in-store discounts, but it may charge prices that are more than 15 percent higher than in-store prices. The company says it adds a “standard mark-up to partially cover the cost of delivery to you” for certain retailers, including Costco (products from retailers like Target and Whole Foods are offered for the same prices as those in-store). You’ll know Instacart charges a markup before you shop a retailer, however, so you can decide if the mark-up is worth it to you.
This one is obvious, and perhaps you’ve shopped Costco’s online site before. It’s open to everyone, even non-Costco members—though non-members are charged a 5 percent surcharge on everything except prescription drugs.
The upside is that you can get many of your Costco favorites like paper goods and cleaning products shipped to your door.
The downside is that not everything found in-store is available online. The grocery department, for example, is much more robust in-store. Quantities of products sold online also seem to be much larger than those found in-store, and you’ll have to pay shipping. Plus, some prices may be higher online, but this distinction isn’t flagged, so you just need to be on the lookout.
For now, Shipt is only delivering Costco products in the Tampa metro area, but the online grocery delivery service says it plans to expand to 50 markets and 30 million households by the end of 2017.
To join Shipt, you pay a $99 annual fee and you get access to unlimited free deliveries on orders over $35—not a bad deal if you plan on getting a lot of groceries delivered to your door!
Shipt began partnering with Costco in March 2017. Shipt members can shop Costco’s full selection of food and choose a one-hour delivery window for their order. Shipt works with personal shoppers who take your list to Costco, pick up your items and then deliver them to you.
So what do you think: Are you ready to let your fingers do the walking for you when it comes your Costco shopping trips?