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Sam’s Club aims to bolster sales via revamped app

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November 14, 2012

The updated Sam's Club iPhone app

Sam’s Club is sprucing up its mobile application with new tools to prep for the flood of holiday shoppers this year.

Sam’s Club has updated its app for iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry devices with new holiday shopping features centered around Black Friday and online shopping. In addition, the retailer claims that a new round of app updates focusing on the in-store experience will be rolled out by Dec. 1.

“As we look to update our app this holiday season, we want to enable quicker check-out and give the members easy access to holiday items on their list,” said Carrie Foster, senior manager of public relations at Sam’s Club, Bentonville, AR.

“As you’re probably aware, Sam’s has seen a significant lift in mobile and online purchasing from our membership base since last holiday.

“When our members think of Sam’s Club today, they don’t just consider the physical club – they’re thinking about SamsClub.com, our mobile apps, Facebook and Pinterest pages – however their lifestyle interacts with Sam’s Club. Therefore, we continuously innovate every channel’s experience to give our members a simple, hassle-free shopping experience across the board.”

Sam’s Club is a division of Walmart Stores and claims to be the eighth-largest retailer in the United States with 47 million members.

Mobile savings
On Nov. 1, Sam’s Club updated its app with a holiday gift finder section that aggregates holiday gift ideas into one place. From there, users can click through and add the products to their shopping carts.

The updated app also includes videos and photo guides that give consumers tips on holiday home décor and tree trimming.

Members can log-in to the app to upload their own holiday photos to the Sam’s Club Photo Center.

Black Friday’s deals have also been added to the company’s apps to give consumers a jump start on holiday shopping. The deals begin rolling out on Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 10 p.m.

Giving users access to Black Friday deals before Thanksgiving is being used by several retailers this holiday season. For example, Macy’s and Staples have also equipped their mobile apps with Black Friday features as a way for shoppers to preview the best deals to ultimately drive in-store traffic.

Additionally, consumers who shop through Sam’s Club mobile apps, site or Web site will receive free shipping through Dec. 2.


The Sam’s Club iPhone app

Big-box retail
By Dec. 1, Sam’s Club plans to have another round of updates available for its apps.

For example, when the app is open, a device’s GPS will locate when a consumer is within half a mile of a Sam’s Club location. In-store features such as shopping lists, membership lists and a bar code-scanning feature will be available on the app.

Consumers will also be able to refill pharmacy prescriptions to Sam’s Club Pharmacy and experience a simplified shopping experience.

The app will also use push notifications to keep users up-to-date on in-store events.

Sam’s Club originally updated its mobile efforts last year with an mobile shopping site and updates to its apps (see story).

Additionally, the company launched an iPad app right before the holidays to let members research and buy online items (see story).

“Mobile is one of the drivers of innovation for Sam’s Club,” Ms. Foster said.

“We are continually looking at how we can accelerate the multichannel experience at Sam’s Club by providing in-club shopping tools and a quick and easy mobile shopping experience to our members,” she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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