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Sam’s Club releases iPad app in time for holiday shopping

November 29, 2011

Big box retailer Sam’s Club has launched an iPad shopping application that lets consumers browse, search and buy products with a Sam’s Club membership.

With the app, users can choose to buy products online or search through local store’s inventory for items. This is Sam’s Club’s first foray into the tablet space with the company already using smartphone apps and  mobile coupons.

“At Sam’s Club, we look at the iPad user differently than a smartphone user, and we know that our members use tablets during their me time,” said Matt Martin, senior manager of mobile strategy at Sam’s Club, Bentonville, AR.

“Whether the Sam’s Club member is at home using their iPad, getting their morning coffee or traveling, the Sam’s Club iPad app helps Members plan and simplify their shopping visit to their local Club,” he said.

Mobile savings
The Sam’s Club brand is known for building local relationships with consumers, which reflects in the app with its design around a virtual store.

Users can sign in to see daily specials and deals from the retailer.

Here is the page where consumers can browse for products

The Sam’s Club iPad app lets users enter their membership information to shop from the company’s mobile site or by using GPS to find the closest Sam’s Club store.

After selecting an item, users can see if the product is available online or in-store.

To receive an order at a retail location, users must submit their order by 5 p.m. to be available for pick-up the next day.

Consumers can also renew, upgrade or sign up for a Sam’s Club membership.

Consumers who are not members can also shop via the app with a 10 percent charge.

Holiday shoppers can also view seasonal recipes and a digital entertainment guide.

For the holidays, the app also has a section that shows users a daily value item leading up to the holiday.

Shoppers can also sign up for the company’s daily email program, find store holiday hours and view holiday decorating tips, including how to decorate a Christmas tree and how to wrap a present.

Users can also view in-store events and promotions by selecting a nearby store.

“The goal of the iPad app is to drive both in-Club and online engagement,” Mr. Martin said.

“While it’s a commerce-friendly tool, the iPad app is also a planning device making it easy to maneuver a visit to a local Sam’s Club,” he said.

Mobile package
Sam’s Club has been doing a lot in mobile lately.

Most recently, the retailer prepared for holiday shopping with a new site (see story).

Sam’s Club has also dabbled in mobile coupons and a line of smartphone apps.

Sam’s Club knows that a majority of their consumers use smartphones instead of tablets and up until now they have only focused on smartphone apps, which shows that the company is thinking about its mobile initiatives in a strategic way.

“I believe we will continue to see mobile bridge the gap between the physical store locations and all that the Web has to offer,” Mr. Martin said.

“Mobile will enable creative ways to engage shoppers that simplifies their shopping and gives them access to tools and information to help them make smarter choices about where they shop and what they buy,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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