A month after announcing a wave of store closings, Sam's Club is revamping itself to reduce its membership categories, offer more free shipping and make purchasing easier and faster.
Officials of the chain, the membership warehouse store arm of Walmart, said Wednesday they are trying to boost value and convenience with the moves. But Sam's Club is yet another chain that is under pressure not only from rivals like membership warehouse giant Costco, but Amazon and its ability to deliver just about any goods to homes at low cost.
"Easier and faster" is how Sam's Club CEO John Furner describes the goal.
Sam's Club is reducing its membership categories to two — a Club level for $45 a year and a Plus level for $100. The Plus level will come with free shipping on the vast majority, some 95%, of the items that Sam's Club says it sells on its website with no minimum order, officials said.
Furner says Sam's Club is "being more aggressive on direct-to-home than we've ever been" and that "it's really a big piece of our transformation."
In addition, Plus members will get cash rewards, early shopping opportunities and pharmacy discounts, said Jamie Iannone, executive vice president of membership and technology.
The changes come a month after Sam's Club said it would shut or convert 63 stores. At the time, Sam's Club officials attributed the need to close the stores to a shift toward more online orders, reduced population growth in some areas and many competing locations.