Sam’s Club Focuses on Retail Innovation in New Stores

Photo: The Business Journals

Sam’s Club, a large members-only retailer, is opening up to a new retail concept. This Wal-Mart owned space will be testing out new innovative technologies like mandatory mobile checkout and AR-enabled packaging.

Wondering where to see the innovation happen? In Texas innovation hub, Dallas. The store will act as the retailer’s innovation epicenter and will be part technology lab, part store.

The Sam’s Club mobile app will be the center of the experience. It will feature Scan & Go technology, and it will be the only way for shoppers to purchase from the store. Additional technologies will then be added and refined gradually. It will work by having customers scan their items on the app to add them to their cart. Once they’re ready to check out, a staff member will scan a QR code to complete the purchase.

Sam’s Club Now

Sam’s Club Now is the name of the app, and it will assist with more than just the check-out process. It also will aid customers in navigating the store. It will allow customers to search via voice for a particular item, and a map will lead them to the correct shopfloor location. The retailer forecasts that in the future this will be updated with beacon technology. This technology would allow customers to receive a personalized map upon entering the store that will show them an optimized route for their shopping journey.

Additional features include a one-hour pickup of items ordered via the app, as well as electronic shelf labels that instantly update prices. In the future, the store also aims to optimize inventory and layout of shopping space by integrating 700 cameras in the club.

You may be asking yourself, what about the staff? Instead of being store associates, Sam’s now calls them Member Hosts. This name change better describes their new focus on improving customer service. “Eliminating friction doesn’t mean replacing exceptional member service with a digital experience,” said John Furner, Sam’s Club president and CEO. “We know our members expect both.”

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