Sam’s Club Tests Retail Space at eCommerce Fulfillment Center

Sam’s Club last week reintroduced retail space to a former store in Tampa, Florida that the company had converted to an eCommerce fulfillment site, according to local reports. The store shuttered last January as part of the company’s sweeping closures and began filling online orders several months later. The retail space, located in what was the former store’s liquor and tire service section, includes a selection of 2,000 popular products. There are no checkout stands: Customers must use the club retailer’s Scan & Go app to pay for products. Customers interviewed by local media expressed confusion and disappointment at the new store’s limited selection and no-frills presentation. Bill Ball, Sam’s Club’s senior director of eCommerce supply chain, told a local Fox affiliate the store is a test for the company. Big-box stores like Walmart, Target and Meijer are focused on adding eCommerce fulfillment operations to their existing stores. What’s interesting about the Sam’s Club test is that the company is doing the reverse — adding retail to an online fulfillment site. Sam’s Club says the new store is an experiment — and a low-stakes one at that, with no checkout stands and little to no merchandising in the space. There’s no new branding, either, with a simple “SamsClub.com” sign advertising the store to shoppers. Local media reports note shoppers have missed the retail location that closed last January, and Sam’s Club wanted to see if it could tap into some of that pent-up demand.
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