Sam’s Club has previously hinted at a cashierless club concept, and this Monday they announced details about the “Sam’s Club Now” initiative, which will open “soon” in Dallas. The club “will be the epicenter of innovation for Sam’s Club”, the company said in a press release.
The backbone of the program is the already existing “Scan & Go” technology, which was rolled out in stores 2 years ago. With the app, the customer will see “smart” shopping lists complied from purchase history and machine learning, as well as interactive maps, beacon-search and voice search capabilities to help the customer find the right product within the club. Customers will also benefit from one-hour pickup and cashierless checkout.
How This Compares To Amazon Go
At first, the phrase “cashierless checkout” seems to suggest that customers can simply walk out of the store, similar to Amazon Go. However, the “Sam’s Club Now” program still requires customers to locate a club employee in order to formally purchase their products. Customers will still have to download the app, similar to Amazon Go, then each item must be scanned individually before adding it to the shopping cart (which is a major difference from Amazon Go). When the customer is ready to checkout, they are required to find a club associate to scan a barcode on their phone before leaving.
Another major difference between Sam’s Club Now and Amazon Go is the club footprint. The Sam’s Club Now locations will have a footprint that is roughly a quarter of the size of a traditional Sam’s Club. However, this still dwarfs the footprint of the existing Amazon Go locations, and will allows Sam’s Club to continue to carry a full array of products, from CPGs to fresh meat and dairy.
Finally, Sam’s Club plans to use the Dallas pilot club to test out electronic shelf labels, which can be updated in real-time. In the future, it plans to use camera technology to help manage inventory and optimize club layout.
All of these efforts are expanding the trend of increased customer convenience in the digital age.