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Sam’s Club traveling deeper into mobile with app rollout

Sam’s Club’s rollout of a mobile travel application next month will meet the mobile customer’s demand for convenience in all areas of life, including travel planning.

The warehouse club chain owned by Walmart Stores, Bentonville, AR, will make the app available for Android and Apple iOs users by mid-November. The app, in approval stage with app stores, continues the chain’s effort to attract small business customers and to provide members with mobile tools to enhance the shopping experience.

“We’re growing with our members through Sam’s Club Travel, easing the burden of affording business and leisure with amazing deals curated by Tourico, industry leaders in wholesale travel,” said Carrie Moore, Sam’s Club spokeswoman.Today our member defines savings beyond just dollars. They need to save time, too. Time is a modern day currency.

”The Sam’s Club Travel app is a convenience tool for our members and a necessary evolution of our travel booking program that keeps us competitive in the travel industry and the membership club space,” she said.

Industry research
Besides travel, Sam’s Club aims to offer affordable products and services and convenience to small businesses with offerings in health care, payroll, human resources, legal services and payment-processing.

In endeavoring to serve small business, Sam’s Club is competing with Staples, Office Max and other retailers. Its mobile-travel application could give it a competitive edge.

On the other hand, numerous travel apps already are available through online travel agencies, hotels, airlines and other travel clubs. Sam’s Club will have its work cut out overcoming its late entry into the market.

Sam’s Club is a membership-based retailer targeting households and small businesses with jewelry, designer goods, sunglasses, crystal and collectibles, electronics, apparel, tires, flowers and food items.

Each store is typically 110,000 to 130,000 square feet and includes a pharmacy.

Industry research on digital travel habits and sales shows 18 percent of travel purchases today are made through mobile devices, Ms. Moore said. That rate is expected to increase to 33 percent in the next four years.

“By continuing to focus on the integration of physical and digital, Sam’s Club gives members the opportunity to choose when, where and how they shop and save with Sam’s Club,” she said.

“More than half of our members regularly shop on their phones, some even making purchases on their phones when they’re inside our clubs. Providing an anytime, anywhere shopping experience for customers is no longer an innovation in retail, it is a requirement.”

The app will support Sam’s Club’s commitment to offer all deals and promotions from the travel site unveiled in June on its mobile and tablet apps.

Sam’s Club offers weekly travel insider emails for members and highlights weekly deals at Sam’s Club often provides seasonal membership offers to potential members that may contain promotional savings offers on Sam’s Club Travel offerings.

The travel-app launch is just one part of the price club’s larger outreach to United States small businesses.

Research drove the decision to make the Sam’s Club Travel app separate from the Sam’s Club App.

“Many of the 26 million Americans booking travel digitally bundle their travel apps – airlines, rental car companies, hotels and aggregator services like Sam’s Club Travel – together on their phones and tablets,” Ms. Moore said.

“We want to be relevant to our member wherever and whenever they shop, so we encourage our members to download both apps to receive savings of money and time on anything they need, from travel and every day household and business needs to pharmacy, credit services, photo center and so much more.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.