Sam’s Club transforms in-store shopping with array of new technology

Sam's Club digital cake ordering
Sam's Club is enabling digital cake ordering.

Sam’s Club is deploying a variety of solutions to improve the store experience for shoppers and employees.

The solutions include what the warehouse club retailer, a division of Walmart Inc., described as  "first-of-a-kind exit" technology that uses computer vision and digital technology to streamline the verification of receipts and the general exit process. Shopping cart images are captured by cameras and, using artificial intelligence (AI) in the background, the solution seamlessly authenticates payments. It eliminates customers having to wait at the exit while also enabling employees to engage with customers. 

Sam's Club is currently piloting this technology in 10 locations, with plans to roll it out chain wide by the end of the year. The rollout will make Sam’s Club the first retailer to implement this type of technology at this scale, the company said.

Digital cake ordering

In other new solutions, based on customer feedback that the manual process for ordering cakes was a hassle, Sam’s Club has introduced digital cake ordering to 30 stores, with plans to roll it out to all locations throughout 2024.

With the new system, customers can customize their cake, add to cart, schedule cake pickup and shop for other groceries and supplies in a single transaction. Sam’s Club says it will continue refining the digital cake ordering experience based on shopper feedback. The retailer has also added other new features to its shopper app, such as an A.I.-powered "Did You Forget" prompt that helps a customer remember their favorite items.

Automated inventory tracking

On the employee side, the retailer said it has developed suite of unique apps that put access to millions of pieces of data into the hands of in-club associates.   These include a mobile employee app, called “Own Your Inventory,”  that receives automated inventory actions and reports from the scanning tower delivered to associates digitally. An application called “Fresh” was designed specifically to help associates identify the right quantity and specifications for all fresh items that are produced daily. 

Sam’s Club offers associates these apps in addition to its established employee apps such as the Ask Sam informational tool.

Dedicated innovation space

The company is also opening a 37,000-sq.-ft. design thinking studio, called Clubhouse, on the Sam’s Club corporate campus in summer 2024. First announced in 2022, the studio, when completed, will serve as an innovation engine where the retailer will test products and design new, enhanced experiences for customers and associates.

"I’m proud that Sam’s Club stands out among retailers deploying the latest technologies making members’ and associates’ lives more convenient and meaningful," Todd Garner, interim chief product officer, Sam’s Club, said in a corporate blog post. "When you take the art of retailing and you keep it people-led and tech powered – that’s where the magic happens. It's powerful when you get the balance right."

Bentonville, Ark.-based Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart Inc., operates nearly 600 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

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