According to The Motley Fool's Ascent, the Walmart-owned bulk retailer is now offering better deals on many grocery staples to one type of consumer that Costco has long neglected: online shoppers.
The personal finance site found that Sam's Club provides a "far better selection of shippable items" and also offers in-store pickup for online orders, while Costco's digital presence is "disappointing," by comparison.
The stark difference between the two club's e-commerce strategies may come as no big surprise to long-time Costco members, who know that the retailer's best deals are usually found in person at the warehouse, not online. In fact, the Costco website includes a whole page devoted to "warehouse savings," which specifically notes that: "Most items available online for a delivered price."
Sam's Club, meanwhile, "actually encourages shopping online," the Ascent noted, and even offers free shipping for Plus-level members. Costco, by contrast, not only charges a premium to shop online but also tacks on shipping fees.
Comparing online prices on several everyday items, the finance site discovered some significant price differences between the two warehouse rivals.
The most noticeable is the advertised price for olive oil. Sam Club charges just $12.38 for its 2-liter bottle of Member's Mark Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, whereas Costco's Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil costs $15.99—that's savings of over $3!
Sam's Club private label coffee and maple syrup is also cheaper online than Costco's, the site found. Member's Mark Colombian Supremo Whole Bean Coffee is priced at $6.39 per pound, while Kirkland Signature Colombian Supremo Coffee Whole Bean is $8. Meanwhile, Member's Mark Organic 100% Pure Maple Syrup costs 40 cents per ounce, while Kirkland Signature Organic Pure Maple Syrup is 44 cents.