Sam’s Club adds higher-tech pickup

Discussion
Jun 11, 2015

Already the only warehouse club in the U.S. to provide a pickup option, Sam’s Club has added some mobile sophistication to its Club Pickup offering to "help save its members valuable time."

Members can now build and save shopping lists online for easy reordering and trigger weekly refills with a single push of a button. Also in pilot in some clubs, a new mobile check-in will allow members to use their mobile app to notify their Sam’s Club when they arrive to pick up their order.

Overall, the new features promise to offer:

Enhanced convenience/ease-of-use: Beyond the instant reordering and text message alerts, Club Pickup features improved site performance and navigation as well as relevant substitute options for out-of-stock or no-longer-carried products. Also being added this year is the ability to pre-pay online and the option to assign a designated individual to pick up the order at the club on behalf of the member.

Sam's Club pickup

Photo: Sam’s Club

Seamless pickup: New technology will improve order accuracy and the ability to check in for pickup from any mobile device, as well as the new mobile check-in option that is being piloted in some clubs.

Product breath: Currently allowing orders from fresh produce to paper goods to diapers, additional categories, including fresh meat, fresh bakery and adult beverages, will be added throughout the year.

Extended availability: Orders can now be placed online until midnight (local time) and picked as soon as the next day in clubs. Club Pickup is available seven days per week during club operating hours, and members can select their preferred pick up time.

Sam’s Club pointed to 2014 research from The Futures Company showing that 71 percent of business owners and families shop for essentials each week, with the average grocery trip taking approximately an hour.

Said Rosalind Brewer, president and CEO of Sam’s Club, "We know this service can make a big impact on every member’s time, and believe our busiest members will benefit the most, like parents and small business owners who have limited time and the most recurring needs."

What do you think are the biggest pain points in the store pickup process? Will Sam’s Club’s enhancements to Club Pickup solve many of those issues?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"They do a pretty good job of getting the order ready and you go to a separate pickup spot behind the store to pick it up. Here is the problem. You still have to go to the customer service counter to pay for it, and that slows things down, as the speed of service is slow at best."
"The biggest pain point in any pickup system is the human-to-human interface. Sadly, that’s an issue not easily resolved by technology."
"One key pain point is checkout, making the order ready in time for pickup and substitution. Paying online and getting someone else to pick your order helps with the long checkout queue. However, substitution—especially for produce—is tricky. The technologies above do not address this."

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6 Comments on "Sam’s Club adds higher-tech pickup"


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Tony Orlando
Guest
6 years 11 months ago

They do a pretty good job of getting the order ready and you go to a separate pickup spot behind the store to pick it up. Here is the problem.

You still have to go to the customer service counter to pay for it, and that slows things down, as the speed of service is slow at best. I fax and pick up at Costco and I can send anyone I want to pick up the product, as I sign for it and fax it back to them without any hassle.

I cannot send someone to pick up my order at Sam’s without buying them a club card, so I do it myself, which is OK. Overall it is best to get in very early in the morning to avoid the crowds, and it works pretty well. Sam’s still needs to improve the transaction process, and it would go a long way towards making things better.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
6 years 11 months ago

The biggest pain point in any pickup system is the human-to-human interface.

Sadly, that’s an issue not easily resolved by technology.

Andy Casey
Guest
Andy Casey
6 years 11 months ago

I’ve only done online ordering/store pickup at Sam’s once, so I have a poor sample size, but the process was so onerous I doubt I will ever do it again. Standing in line at customer service for a half an hour just isn’t my thing.

Kenneth Leung
Guest
6 years 11 months ago

The total experience from order to payment to pickup in a timely manner and the orchestration on the pickup end that still requires human interaction. Not being a Sam’s Club member I am basing this on reading the overview. It looks like everything is covered. I will have to see how the execution goes in the “last mile” when the customer pulls up and also what happens if the customer misses the window. Takes a lot of labor to get that last bit right and hopefully they offer enough personnel up front not to create a log jam at the drive-up.

Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Guest
6 years 11 months ago

If the technology is efficient, then the product is ordered, paid for, and the consumer knows when it is ready for pick up. Depending upon how efficient the fulfillment process is, the order will be ready quickly or not. Then the customer comes to the store expecting efficiency to continue. If the wait to pick up the order is long and if the order is not accurate, all the efficiency gained in the order process and promised is erased, leaving the customer unhappy. The people part of the process needs to work as efficiently as the technology.

Shilpa Rao
Guest
6 years 11 months ago

One key pain point is checkout, making the order ready in time for pickup and substitution. Paying online and getting someone else to pick your order helps with the long checkout queue. However, substitution—especially for produce—is tricky. The technologies above do not address this.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"They do a pretty good job of getting the order ready and you go to a separate pickup spot behind the store to pick it up. Here is the problem. You still have to go to the customer service counter to pay for it, and that slows things down, as the speed of service is slow at best."
"The biggest pain point in any pickup system is the human-to-human interface. Sadly, that’s an issue not easily resolved by technology."
"One key pain point is checkout, making the order ready in time for pickup and substitution. Paying online and getting someone else to pick your order helps with the long checkout queue. However, substitution—especially for produce—is tricky. The technologies above do not address this."

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