Who are WDS and what is their relationship with Costco…?

Costco and WDS

We often get asked by our vendors about the fundamentals of WDS – what do we stand for, where do we come from and what can we offer them? Many assume WDS is simply the sampling and demo arm of Costco, but when it comes to Costco, the relationship is far more nurturing and profound than owner and supplier; we’re partners and have been for almost 30 years now.

WDS: a brief history

The WDS name is tied irrevocably to our mission statement: WDS stands for “Warehouse Demo Services,” which quite neatly sums up what we’re all about. WDS was founded in earnest back in 1993 when our relationship with Costco began at their UK launch. The company had already been trading for 7 years, however, as “Powergirls,” a name which played into the bold and transformative nature at the company’s heart. As a young company, the founders understood that the product demo and sampling sector was small in the UK, with few players to compete against or model themselves on.

Power Girls set about finding its niche within an already small sector by teaming with the noted US brand Costco. This started as a single assignment to coordinate product demonstrations at the opening of its very first UK warehouse in Thurrock, Essex. The initial events were such a tremendous success, however, that Power Girls (which eventually changed its name to Fizz to accommodate its evolving breadth of offerings) became Costco’s preferred product demo supplier. There was one request, though – that the company set up a brand dedicated to working with Costco. This was when WDS was truly born.

So, now that you know who WDS are, it’s time to examine what it can offer vendors and how its deep and rewarding relationship with Costco was allowed to blossom into the trusting partnership it is today.

What we do

Sampling is all about helping customers to experience your brand the way you want it to be experienced. The control is in your hands. As we’ve been working in the sampling sector for over three decades, we understand that it’s also a service that is by no means a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. We take your brief and put our own spin on it, getting to the heart of what your brand is trying to say about its products and how to best reflect that to the general public.

We work with both retailers and brands, so have experience in working with both sides of the industry and know how to make them work together in perfect harmony. In our history, we’ve worked with some of the biggest names in food and drink, electronics, health and beauty – from Diageo and Britvic to Phillips and Schwartz. Our umbrella company, Fizz, has also worked with major retailers such as M&S and Whole Foods, turning browsers into buyers, so we have a wealth of experience with a variety of retailers from all sectors of the industry. 

Because we’ve worked on both sides of the aisle, we know what makes them both work and what makes them work well together. We know what to say, when to say it and how to balance expectations on either side, leaving you to focus on the bigger picture.

WDS and Costco 

Our longstanding relationship with Costco means we’ve a wealth of insight to draw on when it comes to providing sampling and demo services to Costco members. Every year, we deliver over 75,000 product sampling and demonstration events to Costco warehouses across the country, building brand buzz and creating lifelong customers and retail partners in a unique retail environment that only Costco can offer.

WDS was always the perfect partner for Costco. As we’ve already discovered, the bread and butter of the company from the very beginning was to build brand awareness and sales through direct interaction with target customers. As a uniquely customer-facing company with a wealth of shop floor space in their 29 UK warehouses, Costco offers something that the major supermarket chains never could – the chance and the space to interact directly with consumers in a wholesale environment that is so much more personal and direct than the competition.

How we can help you 

For vendors, we offer a range of promotional opportunities suitable for all budgets and all product types. Our aim is to offer the chance for customers to sample your product in person, creating a memorable and positive experience of your brand.

  • Our Single Demo installations are the most cost-effective way to promote your product. Your demonstration will run for one day with a trained WDS brand ambassador at the helm.
  • The Super Demo is, as the name suggests, a more elaborate and high-profile activation that runs for a minimum of one week using multiple brand ambassadors across numerous Costco warehouses and is more of a campaign than a one-off brand/product awareness exercise.
  • For those brands that want to go the extra mile, we also offer a Special Event service. Run by specialist teams in Costco warehouses over a minimum of 5 days and a maximum of 2 weeks, these events are a chance for you to experiment with brand new products. It’s a chance for you to promote and sell your product and brand to a completely new market.

Partners in brand building

Over the last 25 years, WDS has woven itself into the fabric of Costco to the extent that neither would now be quite the same without the other. It’s a partnership that allows vendors to interact directly with millions of their target customers every year and allows Costco to build on its approachable and customer-facing reputation. This makes a trip to Costco feel less like a visit to a wholesale warehouse and more like a day out to look forward to. Here’s to another 30 years of working in partnership!


Build brand awareness for your product with us! Learn more about how we can work with you here: https://www.fizz.co.uk/wds/

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