retail news in context, analysis with attitude

From CNN:

"Costco relies on a surprising perk to engage its executive members and keep them hooked on their $120-a-year subscription: The Costco Connection monthly magazine.

"Costco mails out the Connection to executive members every month for free. The magazine features cooking recipes, offers from Costco's travel and auto services, electronics and book reviews, ads for its Kirkland Signature private-label products, and a range of home, health and lifestyle original content … The magazine is no stunt. Like Costco's popular $4.99 rotisserie chickens and $1.50 hot dogs at food courts, the Connection is emblematic of Costco's strategy to stand out against Amazon and Walmart by offering members distinct services and products. Costco also offers home and life insurance, a mortgage program and advice on their next vacation."

The story says that "the Connection has a circulation of around 14.3 million copies per edition, up from 12.2 million in 2016, as Costco has grown its executive membership program. That makes it America's fourth-highest distributed magazine."

KC's View:

I'm pretty sure it doesn't say anything positive about me, and I probably shouldn't admit it, but at a quick glance I can't tell the difference between the Costco magazine and the AARP magazine.

I would argue that this reinforces the long-held position here that retailers have to be more than a source of product, but have to evolve into being a resource for shoppers.  That's what Costco does very effectively here, and, go figure, it is doing so with a dead-tree vehicle.