Is Sam’s reimagining the future of warehouse clubs?
The headline of the latest blog post from Jamie Iannone, CEO of SamsClub.com and executive vice president membership and technology, claims that the chain’s latest store concept is “reimagining the future of retail.” While that may or may not prove to be hyperbole, there’s no doubt that the new Sam’s is, at the very least, different than the rest of the chain’s warehouse clubs.
The new concept — Sam’s Club Now — has been described by the retailer as “more lab than club” where the “latest innovations and shopping technology are being tested and implemented.”
The shopping experience is built around the Sam’s Club Now mobile app, which gives customers access to smart shopping lists, store maps, augmented reality tech to provide information on products and make shopping more entertaining, one-hour club pickup, and the ability to pay without having to stop at a checkout. The cashier-free checkout feature within the app is similar to parent company Walmart’s Scan and Go app.
The store, which was first announced in June, measures 32,000-square-feet, much smaller than the 100,000 to 150,000-square-foot clubs typical of Sam’s. The product selection is focused on fresh foods, groceries and grab-and-go meals.
As to the store’s role as a laboratory — Sam’s does not plan to open any others — Mr. Iannone said that testing is not singularly focused on technology.
“Our associates are key to bringing this experience to life, which is why we’re introducing a new role called the member host,” he writes. “Think of these associates as the concierge of the club. We’ll empower them with new technology that will allow them to serve members better and faster.”
- Video: Sam’s Club Now – Dallas
- Sam’s Club Now – Reimagining the Future of Retail – Sam’s Club
- Sam’s to open small concept focused on tech, fresh and grab-and-go foods – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think Sam’s should be looking to learn from its new Sam’s Club Now in Dallas? How do you see Costco, BJ’s Wholesale or other competitors reacting to this?