BJ's unveils new mobile app in latest omnichannel move
BJ's Wholesale Club has announced a new mobile app with an Add-to-Card feature that allows customers to save coupons in-app directly to their club membership cards that will be automatically applied to in-club purchases without requiring additional steps from members, according to a press release.
The Add-to-Card coupon gallery will feature all coupons found in The Little Book of Big Savings published by BJ's, in addition to manufacturers' coupons. The new app is now available on both iOS and Android devices.
For the next 30 days, BJ's is also running a promotion under which club members who download the new app can use it to locate and select a BJ's Gas location, where they will receive five cents off per gallon on their next fill-up.
BJ’s Wholesale Club has been making a concerted effort to invest in omnichannel, an effort that seemed to move into a higher gear when the company in May named two new top technology executives — Scott Kessler as chief information officer and Rafeh Masood as chief digital officer. Since then, BJ’s has launched a new desktop website, and unveiled a new mobile website.
In September, the wholesale club followed up with new websites dedicated to its private label brands, Berkley Jensen and Wellsley Farms. All these moves come as BJ’s and other pioneers of the club membership model are facing an increasing competitive threat from Amazon Prime, as well as the possibility that the membership model is becoming too common.
Amid changes in its market, the future path for BJ’s Wholesale Club has not been very clear. The company was once seen potentially pursuing an IPO, but those plans appeared to be shelved earlier this year by the company’s private equity owners, who were said to be working toward a sale of the company. Amazon was mentioned as a buyer that made sense when those reports surfaced. However, that was back in April and no deal has happened to date.
Given the uncertainty, BJ’s could be phoning it in at this point, trying to aggressively control costs and position the firm for whatever its owners might decide to do with it. Instead, the company seems determined to finish 2017 looking much better prepared for the sector’s omnichannel future than it was at the beginning of the year.
The Add-to-Card feature is a good example of that, and shows that BJ’s understands that just having a mobile app for sales is no longer enough. The ability to integrate multiple coupons and have them automatically applied to a purchase greatly reduces friction in the mobile purchase, and it shows BJ’s is looking to use the app to create a better customer experience.