Sam’s Club is undertaking a strategic shift— one that began last month with something of a bang when Sam’s announced it is closing 63 stores as part of its overhaul strategy for the business.
The next phase of that strategy went public this week, when Sam’s announced that it would be making a bigger shift toward eCommerce — and offering Sam’s members that paid $100 a year for their Sam’s Plus membership free shipping on any item.
That perk is familiar, of course, as it is also the foundational perk of Amazon Prime.
The company also said it was converting a former Sam’s Club store in Memphis into a fulfillment center for online orders, with other eCommerce facilities in Florida, California, the Chicago area and the Northeast on the way in the coming months.
Sam’s will be focusing from here on out on its core customers — families making around $120,000 per year.
The company is also restructuring its membership levels from three to two: the Plus membership and the $45 Club membership.
Sam’s Club executives said in a call with reporters that it was still too early to say how many of the thousands of workers who had been displaced by store closings would find new jobs at the company.
The move will hopefully soothe the handful of genuinely enraged customers who showed up to shop at their local Sam’s — only to find it it had been closed. Coincidently, that was the same day Walmart announced its plan to increase wages and hand out bonuses.
The timing of the announcements prompted criticism that the retailer was trying to distract from the bad news at its Sam’s Club operation. Walmart, at the time, maintained they were unrelated stories.
It seems they were telling the truth.