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Costco Pallet Display Requirements & Guidelines

Last year, we shipped over 40,000 pallet displays to Costco for brand managers of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG). Our clients include Khombu boots, Wells Lamont gloves and Cole Haan socks, just to name a few. Here is a summary of Costco's display requirements.

Costco merchandises all inventory on 48' x 40' pallets. Pallet loads of product are moved into place by forklifts or pallet jacks. Additional product for daily replenishment is stored in the steel shelves above the pallet run. Costco packaging specifications help to ensure that Costco employees and members are working and shopping in a safe environment.

Download Costco pallet display and structural packaging requirements

Unitized Pallet Requirements

Pallet Load Configuration Specifications

  • Pallet footprint must not exceed 48"x40" (no overhang): recommended footprint is 47.5" x 39.5"
  • Underhang pallet footprint cannot be less than 44" x 37"
  • Unitized packaging must maximize pallet area without gaps between units
  • False bottoms or middles (chimneys) are not allowed, except when requested by Costco Buyers; pallet loads with false bottoms or middles (chimneys) must comply with Costco stacking strength requirements

Pallet Requirements for Products Shipped in Display-Ready Corrugated Packaging

  • Pallet load weight must not exceed 2500 lbs.
  • Pallet loads must be engineered to double-stack in-bound to Costco whenever doing so optimizes freight efficiencies; no pallet load may be taller than 58", including 5.5" for pallet height
  • Layer sheet requirements:
    • Must use layer sheets or layer caps between product layers for all items shipped in open top master display modules with the exception of display modules with locking stack tabs; if display module weighs over 35 lbs, layer sheet must be a minimum of 150 lbs. mullen test board
    • Shink-wrapped products or products shipped in boxed packaging with smooth, slippery surfaces require non-skid coated layer sheets
  • Pallet cap or layer sheet is required when top of pallet load is exposed to protect from damage
  • Rigid corner posts recommended on all four corners of the pallet extending full length top to bottom; plastic corner posts are not allowed; corner posts must not bend from vigorous stretch wrapping
  • Stretch wrap pallet load to bottom of pallet to avoid load slippage; a minimum of .79 gauge stretch film wrapped three times, or the equivalent in performance, is required; use of netting is restricted
  • Plastic strapping is allowed – no metal strapping
  • Pallet load must be stacked in display ready mode facing 48" side of pallet; desirable to be shoppable from both a 48" and 40" side
  • Large display boxes with vertically unstable products such as mirrors, picture frames, mops etc. must use additional vertical mid pallet dividers/support to reduce possible shifting; center of gravity is to be as low and as centered on pallet as possible

Pallet Requirements for Products Shipped in Fully Enclosed Corrugated Shipping Containers When Display Packaging Is NOT Required

  • Pallet load weight must not exceed 2,500 lbs.
  • Pallet load height must not exceed 58", including 5.5" for pallet height
  • Stretch wrap pallet load to bottom of pallet to avoid load slippage; a minimum of .79-gauge stretch film, wrapped three times or the equivalent in performance is required
  • Plastic strapping is allowed – no metal strapping

Pallet Requirements for Bagged Products Weighing Over 10 Lbs. (i.e., pet food, flour, sugar, rice)

  • Pallet load weight must not exceed 2,500 lbs.
  • Pallet load height must not exceed 58", including 5.5" for pallet height
  • A layer sheet is required under the bottom layer of product and on top of the pallet load
  • Pallet loads of bagged products must be unitized in one of the following three options:
    • For automated production, 1.2 mil one-side cling, puncture resistant blown film is required; a minimum of three layers of film is required around the bottom third of the pallet load and three layers of film on the top third of the pallet load; stretch wrap the pallet load securely to the bottom of the pallet
    • Fully enclose all four sides of pallet load with a corrugated shroud and stretch wrap entire load to bottom of pallet; a minimum of 79 gauge stretch film wrapped three times is required; tie off bottom of stretch wrap to the pallet
    • Place product in a corrugated 40"x48" tray maximum with a minimum height of 12"; stretch wrap pallet load to bottom of pallet; a minimum of .79-gauge stretch film wrapped three times is required; tie off bottom of stretch wrap to the pallet

Corrugated Master Display Modules, Trays or Shipping Containers

Master Display Module and Tray Specifications

  • Ship products in a display module or tray only if necessary to transport and protect the product from damage; master display module must be display-ready without knives or labor required to stock product
  • Tear front panels, plastic strapping, tear tape, telescoping lids and display module covers are not allowed; exceptions: telescoping lid or display module cover may be used if products are distributed in layer quantities
  • Master display modules must incorporate a design feature that prevents the case above from nesting into the case below (i.e., triangle corners or wide shoulder stacking surfaces)
  • Master display modules and trays must have a minimum of 3" front panel height; 4" front panel height is recommended; exceptions:
    • If product is single stacked with a height equal to or less than 8", the minimum front tray height may be reduced to 2" if the remaining three sides are a minimum of 4"
    • If product is single stacked with a height equal to or less than 5", the product is exempt from the minimum front height requirements
  • Product bearing 100% of load weight may be contained, using a low tray, provided that it meets the requirements of 3.1.4
  • When master display module/tray contains multiple sell units, the maximum dimensions allowed are 24" front length and 20" width; use of large 48" x 40" pallet trays are NOT allowed; pallet tray may be used
  • Maximum weight cannot exceed 40 lbs: safety handling guidelines recommend case weight not to exceed 25 lbs.
  • Center support dividers are required for large display boxes containing vertically unstable products such as mirrors, picture frames, bulletin boards etc.
  • Optimum display module size is 16" front length x 13.3" width x 11.5" Height for front end functionality and maximizing pallet cube
  • Master display module or tray must be able to support product weight without buckling, independent of the structural support of the unitized pallet load
  • Master display module presentation is as important as unit presentation at point of sale

Master Shipping Container Specifications: When Display Packaging Is NOT Required

  • Products must be shipped in fully enclosed corrugated shipping container with a box manufacturer's certificate stamped on the bottom outside surface of each box
  • Maximum weight cannot exceed 50 lbs. when master case is of the size to be hand lifted
  • MRA (Moisture Resistant Adhesive) is required for all corrugated packaging that is exposed to a moist, refrigerated environment
  • Use of wax coated containers is restricted with the exception of crab, broccoli and asparagus

Contact us to learn more about Costco pallet displays



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Since 1965, TPH has evolved into one of the leading innovators in retail packaging, displays and supply chain solutions. Our retail experts enhance Customers' selling opportunities and provide confidence and expertise to maximize sales throughout the retail landscape.

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