Costco’s acquisition of a logistics company in 2020 aimed to boost e-commerce sales of appliances and large items and create a faster delivery experience. The direct website scheduling led to a 99% success rate, reducing delivery times from approximately 14 days to just 3-7 days within the first two months.

CompanyCostco WholesaleServicesUX DesignYear2020-2021

The Challenge

Costco.com lacks a delivery scheduling option for appliances and large items, offering limited visibility into the earliest available delivery dates. In cases where dates are provided, the earliest delivery dates are 14 days after purchase, creating users to shop elsewhere. 

Additionally, once a large item is shipped, customers have no visibility into the delivery date. This situation has led to high call volumes and long wait times at the Costco call center, mainly due to customer inquiries related to the shipment status of big and bulky items.


Goals & Objectives

The high-level goals were to:
  • Create a consistent scheduling process to enhance the overall customer experience.
  • Enable customers to see the earliest available delivery dates.
  • Optimize the coordination between carriers and suppliers within the system.
  • Stay competitive by reducing delivery window estimates and have customers get their big and bulky items sooner.
  • Allow self-service options to reduce high call center volumes.

My Role

I was the lead UX designer who created wireframes and designs, facilitated unmoderated qualitative usability studies, and worked with another designer on the competitive analysis.

I also worked closely with Business Analysts, Solution Architects, Front & Back-end Developers, QA Testers, Business Stakeholders, Program Director, and the Innovel/Costco Logistics Team.

Over the course of one year and three phases, the new experience launched in August of 2021.

Discovery

Competitive Analysis

I worked with another designer for the competitive analysis. We looked at 6 companies that had a well-known e-commerce presence and were seen as leaders in major appliance sales.

Lowe’s and Home Depot together account for almost half of all major appliance sales. The next major retailers in line are Best Buy and Sears.

The top-of-mind store goes to Abt, the Chicago-area retailer that is Consumer Report’s top major appliance retailer for the 10th year in a row.

Key Findings


User Flow

A user flow was created to identify where design changes were needed within the user journey.

I began iterations based on where the user would need to be informed of pertinent scheduling information. 

  • Product Detail Page - Scheduling information near the Add to Cart CTA.
  • Cart/Checkout - Parts & services listed below the product title and description; date picker to schedule within shipping options.
  • Order Details Page - Parts & services listed below the product title and description; scheduled delivery date is shown; ability to view or change order.
  • Order Confirmation Email - Parts & services listed below the product title and description; scheduled delivery date is shown near the top of the email; ability to view or change order.
  • Order Shipped Email - Parts & services listed below the product title and description; scheduled delivery date is shown near the top of the email; ability to track the delivery.

Design

The main goal of the design is to let the user have more information upfront before purchasing their larger items. Transparency will give the consumer more confidence when buying.

Product Detail Page

This is where the journey begins and the perfect opportunity to tell the user how soon they can get their item. Utilizing the call to action section of the page to display the approximate appointment date and further messaging to inform the user about their potential purchase.

Cart & Checkout Pages

The user needs all of the information before they click the “Place Order” button. In both cart and checkout, the user can see their products and the parts and services that come with it. They are also able to select the delivery type as well as a delivery date based on the estimated delivery date.

Order Details Page

Between the time an item is ordered and is delivered, it can generate a range of emotions, but the goal is to generate confidence and a sense of control.

Email Communication

Customer engagement is a high priority when buying appliances or other large items. Pertinent information is added to each of the emails sent from Costco before the order is sent through Costco Logistics. The scheduled delivery date (if chosen) is included in the Order Confirmation email and a link is provided for “How to prepare for your delivery” in the Order Shipped email.

Validation

In the initial two months of its implementation, this experience achieved a remarkable 99% success rate, significantly reducing delivery times from around 14 days to just 3-7 days. Notably, 70% of customers opted for the first available delivery date.

In the first fiscal year, Costco Logistics Scheduling sales grew 3x YoY (up by $4.4B). A large amount of the e-commerce sales growth came from the success of this project, pushing Costco Wholesale e-commerce to be a $25B business.

Scheduler Demo

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