Inside the Sam’s Club ‘living-lab’

Date : 30 October 2018

Sam’s Club is launching a new club concept, developed to enable the retailer to test the latest tech-led initiatives and adapt the in-store layout.

Incubating, testing and refining new technologies

Located in Dallas, the new club will trade under the Sam’s Cub Now banner. Developed as a technology lab, this will enable the retailer to incubate, test and refine technologies. The goal is to build a customer experience which will be relevant for consumers today and in the future.

Source: Sam’s Club

Fresh new look

This will be the only club of this type, although learnings and best practices will be rolled-out across the broader network. At 32,000 sq ft it is significantly smaller than a traditional club, while it also features a fresh new look. New category signage and the stronger use of colour creates a more contemporary look and feel. The retailer will also be testing electronic shelf edge labels, while more than 700 cameras will be added to help manage inventory and optimise the club layout.

Source: Sam’s Club

Scan & Go only model

One of the key differences at this club is that all members will need to use the retailer’s Scan & Go app to shop the club. This has been a major success at Sam’s Club. More than 90% of members who try Scan & Go use it again on their next trip, and regular use is up 40% this year. To support members, the retailer is introducing a new role, the Member Host. They will be equipped with new technology to better serve shoppers.

Source: Sam’s Club

Innovative tech features

With the launch of Sam’s Club Now, the retailer will be testing several new features within its app. These include:

  • Smart shopping lists – using machine learning and purchase data, a member’s shopping list will be auto-populated. As items are scanned, the list will automatically update and move the item to their mobile basket
  • Wayfinding and navigation - using voice search capabilities combined with navigation features, a map will pop up and take members to what they need. In the future, this will be supported with beacon technology, which combined with the smart shopping list, will help to determine the best route through the club
  • Augmented reality – items will be brought to life with integrated stories around a product’s features and sourcing

Source: Sam’s Club

Digital innovation central to strategic framework

Sam’s Club has been pushing hard on innovation over the last 18 months as it adapts to the technology-enabled retailing era. Earlier this year, it converted one of its cubs to be a dedicated ecommerce fulfilment centre as it rationalised its network. Launching Sam’s Club Now provides it with the environment to continue testing and adapting and deliver solutions which will resonate with its target high-income households.

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