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Sam’s Club drives sales with mobile gift cards, Facebook offer

Sam’s Club is ramping up efforts to drive membership sales to its retail warehouse clubs in 2015 by offering consumers a $20 gift card usable on mobile devices upon enrollment, with an additional $5 for those who share the promotion on Facebook.

New members and existing members that renew their membership status for the upcoming year by Jan. 31, 2015 will be eligible to receive the $20 gift card, which can be used towards any Sam’s Club purchase, from electronics to jewelry. Individuals that share this offer on their Facebook pages can also receive an additional $5 credit for a total of $25, which will be emailed to them as a voucher.

“By continuing to focus on the integration of physical and digital, we are giving members the opportunity to choose when, where and how they shop and save with Sam’s Club,” said Carrie Moore, senior manager, Sam’s Club communications, Bentonville, Ark.

“Providing anytime, anywhere shopping experience for customers is no longer an innovation in retail, it is a requirement.”

Mobile-friendly promotion
When customers receive the email with the voucher, they may print it out or bring their mobile device to the Membership Services desk at their local Sam’s Club for redemption.

The retail brand hopes that by making the promotion as mobile-friendly as possible, more on-the-go consumers will be enticed to participate.

“Any strategy that includes offering financial incentives to new and existing customers is likely to be positively received,” said Mark Ghermezian, co-founder & CEO of Appboy, New York. “Making your customers feel valued is important, and tying a reward to an action is a great way to encourage desired behaviors.

“Since social media is fairly personal, it can be difficult to prompt people to post about business-related transactions, but if they have a strong enough relationship with the brand and sharing it will substantially benefit them, customers should be more inclined to post it to Facebook.”

Existing members or potential customers interested in signing up for a Sam’s Club membership and receiving the gift card may visit They may then click the “Get Your Offer” button to sign into their Facebook accounts to share the promotion, or continue by entering their email address.

The voucher will be sent to them upon completion.

Expanding mobile offerings
Sam’s Club recently rolled out a free travel mobile application for its members, designed to compete with other major travel apps such as Expedia and Travelocity. Users are able to browse savings on hotels, rental cars, vacation homes and other activities within the app, which aims to introduce consumers to the retailer’s extensive inventory of travel options (see story).

The app offers streamlined searching capability and booking features to help members save on exclusive travel deals and save on-the-go users time, especially during the busy winter season. There is also a section for last-minute offers for consumers that are struck with sudden inspiration to travel.

“With continuous advancements in consumer technology, consumers expect more from brand/retailers and demand mobile enhancements that are more aligned with their daily behavior,” said Daniel Meehan, founder and CEO of PadSquad, New York.  “Brands/retailers that do not offer mobile redemption for gift cards/coupons are doing themselves a disservice.

“Consumers have many options when it comes to brands and retailers.  Those who offer convenience and communicate to their consumers in relevant ways will break through the clutter and win on brand loyalty, engagement and sales.”

Members seeking to use their mobile devices in store can download the Sam’s Club app for iPhones, iPad and Android devices. The Sam’s Club app features members-only Instant Savings that are applied automatically during the shopping process, access to membership cards at any time and easy membership renewal.

Plus members can also enjoy in-app Cash Rewards, while all users may update prescription refills on their smartphones or send print photo orders to the Club Photo Center.

“Any efforts that increase personalization and provide convenience will benefit wholesale retailers and help them retain mobile customers in 2015,” Appboy’s Mr. Ghermezian said.

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York