Sam’s Club said in a blog post, it will test mobile checkout, a camera system for inventory management, electronic shelf labels, in-store navigation technology, augmented reality and artificial intelligence shopping. The store was first announced in June, with Sam’s Club saying back then that it will be a real-world lab for bringing more technology to the experience of shopping. “We’ll use all available technologies – including computer vision, augmented reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, just to name a few – to redefine the retail experience,” said Jamie Iannone, SamsClub.com CEO and EVP Membership and Technology said. “Sam’s Club Now is a lab our technologists will use to develop and refine concepts before they scale. It also happens to be a club that’s open for business.”
In order for consumers to shop in the new Sam’s Club location, they will still need to have a membership — but other than that, things will be a lot different in the store. For instance, there won’t be cashiers but rather member hosts that will act like concierges, according to reports. Customers will also use a new Sam’s Club Now mobile app to scan items as they put them in their shopping cart and pay by their phone instead of waiting online. At the new Sam’s Club Now store, shoppers will not only be able to use their mobile phone to scan and pay for purchases. Other high-tech aspects are incorporated into the app including a navigation system and augmented reality features, with a built-in map for finding the right aisle included at the launch. The map is expected to get updated so that it is tied to the shopping list of the consumer and provides the best route throughout the store to get the shopping completed, noted the report. The store will carry a range of products including meats, fresh foods, beer and wine, and frozen items.
The app will also enable members to place orders and pick them up in under an hour or get same day delivery. The store will also be about a quarter of the size of an average Sam’s Club. “We’re putting Sam’s Club on the cutting edge of innovation in the warehouse channel. Using all available technologies – including computer vision, AR, machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, just to name a few – we will redefine the retail experience today and into the future,” the executive wrote in the blog.