- Sam's Club members are used to toting home large packs of everyday goods, but now the company is creating a new version of its existing Scan & Go payment technology to better move bulky items home, or to wherever they need to go.
- The company is piloting a new program called Scan & Ship, which allows members to scan products using the Scan & Go feature in the Sam's Club app and have them shipped to their homes or any desired destination, according to a press release Tuesday. The new feature also lets shoppers browsing the aisles choose different colors and sizes that may not be available in the store.
- "The feature uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and only requires scanning a QR code to begin use," the release said. "The demo, which allows members to key in a payment option, delivers on the experience of contactless shopping and skipping the traditional checkout line."
Sam's Club's most recent attempt to provide an easier shopping experience is the latest example of how retailers use fulfillment innovations to adapt to consumers' changing shopping behavior.
Last year, when retailers and wholesale clubs selling essential goods experienced tremendous growth, the Sam's Club app saw 9.6 million downloads, according to AppTopia data cited in the release. That's "almost twice as many downloads as competitor apps," Sam's Club said.
The demand for autonomous checkouts and stores is increasing post-pandemic, AiFi CEO Steve Gu said in an interview. AiFi is an artificial intelligence company that helps design the software required for an autonomous store like Amazon Go and has over 10 operating stores worldwide.
The ability to shop and pay without friction is appealing to many consumers, especially the younger generation. “We saw that more than 60% of our customers are Gen Z customers," with a higher usage rate, Gu said.
Alongside the Scan & Ship announcement, the company is also releasing a new feature in stores that gives members the chance to try out the Scan & Go feature without downloading the app onto their phones.
It is through perks like convenient fulfillment services that companies stand out among the stiff competition between big-box retailers. Costco reported a 450% rise in same-day grocery delivery sales in the second quarter and, in January, began testing curbside pickup at three stores. Meanwhile, Target has also recently been testing new methods to deliver orders faster after experiencing a whopping three-digit percentage point growth for its digital fulfillment services.
"Just like Scan & Go, Scan & Ship gives members greater control of their shopping experience," said Tim Simmons, senior vice president and chief product officer at Sam's Club. "It's exciting to see our team develop and launch the Scan & Ship pilot so quickly, and it's got great potential to deliver the ultimate omnichannel member experience across our entire chain."
Three locations are currently participating in the Scan & Ship pilot, including Sam's Club Now, the company's Dallas-based innovation lab, per the release.