Costco (NASDAQ: COST) has sold caskets for years and has annoyed funeral directors who sell loved one’s caskets of their own.
There are two ways to get caskets from Costco. The delivery services are an illustration of the tiers of service Costco and other big-box retailers satisfy demand and protect their margins.
Costco has two sets of delivery dates for its casket line. Caskets shipped for “expedited delivery” have to be ordered by 11 a.m. EST for them to arrive the next day by 5 p.m. The caskets cannot be delivered by next day service Saturdays and Sundays. Expedited delivery may not be available in some states, and no delivery may be available at all if the casket is bought from Costco or one of its affiliates. States where delivery is available include:
Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Caskets that come via standard delivery must be ordered by 11 a.m. EST to be delivered within three business days. Once again, Saturdays and Sundays don’t count.
Among the things that are not clear about casket purchase from Costco is whether the caskets can be returned.
Costco, Walmart (NYSE: WMT), and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) are in a moment-by-moment competition for product sales, customer service, and delivery time and charges. In many ways, the casket business is no different. Walmart sells caskets and so does Amazon. In all cases, the sales are part of a “completeness” strategy.
Each of the retailers wants to promote one-stop shopping. You can, each company wants to believe, buy anything and everything from their online websites. Caskets are no exception whether sold for expedited or standard delivery.