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For many, grocery shopping is an onerous chore. Packed aisles and long check-out lines are common complaints raised by shoppers in industry surveys. Retail giant Sam’s Club thinks it has the solution to such woes, for business owners and busy families alike, with a new array of click-and-collect and grocery pick-up services. The chain actually contends that these new services are simply an extension of an existing program, in place for more than 15 years for its business customers. Thus, it believes it has both the experience and the new online tools that will enable it to meet the varied needs of its busy customers in the best way possible.

The new e-commerce engine and mobile application will allow Sam’s Club to move forward with ambitious plans to roll out its new click-and-collect pick-up services in stores nationwide. Customers use the website or mobile application to submit their orders online, set a specific pick-up time, and pay for the selected items. When the designed window of time arrives, the customer can pull into one of the new, convenient, curbside parking spaces, and a Sam’s Club employee will load the customer’s order into his or her car. The chain reports that these “service encounters” can be completed in as little as 30 seconds, and there is no limit to the types of items that may be purchased through this program. From sofas to frozen shrimp, Sam’s Club is able to deliver it all, right to your (car) door.

In addition to this focus on curbside service, Sam’s Club also continues to find ways to enhance the in-store shopping experience for customers that want to purchase items the old-fashioned way. All stores nationwide now have Scan & Go checkout lanes, which allow customers with a few items to move through the checkout process faster. Initial shopper satisfaction scores for this new self-check-out option are high, leading Sam’s Club to cheer the enhancement as both a money-saving option and a customer-focused improvement that will help it to keep prices low and continue to win the loyalty of its club members for years to come.

Discussion Question: 

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Sam’s Club Pickup, from Sam’s and customers’ perspectives?

 Source: James Tenser, Retail Wire, March 29, 2017