Sam's Club's new perks are part of an overall transformation of the business, which is focused on reducing complexities, "right sizing" its store fleet and improving features like scan-and-go, pickup operations, fresh delivery and digital tools that reorder essentials. In its struggles to adapt to a post-Amazon retail landscape, Walmart subsidiary Sam's Club is adopting an online membership model notably similar to Prime.
Sam's Club is rolling out free shipping on most of the items it sells online, from televisions to washing machines, in a direct challenge to Amazon Prime and Costco. Eventually, Sam's Club is hoping to guarantee one or two shipping for most of its products.
The offer will be available to shoppers with Sam's Club's "Plus" membership, which costs $100 annually. The company will now have just two types of membership - Plus and Club members.
Furner said a year ago that the company had made a decision to sharpen its focus and began catering to budget-conscious shoppers, pulling back from business owners.
Currently, Bentonville, Ark. -based Walmart operates six giant server farms, each bigger than 10 football fields, which cost millions but are beginning to pay off through its online sales, which have outpaced wider industry growth levels for the past few years, Reuters said.
Officials of the chain said that they are trying to boost value and convenience with the moves.
With free shipping and no minimum purchases, Sam's Club is working on the time element, but only for its most loyal customers. Furner said Tuesday that the center should be ready to ship items by the end of March.
The moves have been initiated by John Furner, the new chief executive officer of Sam's Club, in a bid to rejuvenate a business which has underperformed compared to its parent company Walmart as well as competitors such as Costco Wholesale. Other regions being considered for e-commerce centers include Texas, central Florida, Chicago, Southern California, the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. "Another piece of that strategy is building out a Sam's Club unique supply chain that enables us to get closer to members, and it makes ordering on SamsClub.com easier and faster".