Sam's Club is turnng to the Salesforce Sales Cloud platform to migrate many of its business membership functions from manual, paper-based processes to a more flexible, automated digital model that it says will improve productivity of the store's membership teams and enable more integration between physical and digital shopping experiences.
Sales Cloud will become the foundation of Sam's Club's B2B business, allowing the wholesale chain to anticipate and more quickly address business members' needs, while also freeing up the company to focus more on recruiting new members and managing relationships, rather than getting bogged down in manual processes.
- Sam's Club also will rely on Salesforce's Analytics Cloud, which can give Sam's Club management and in-club membership teams more visibility into business member interactions across every club, enabling the retailer to improve overall member experience.
Time to upgrade from manual, paper-based processes already? Hopefully Sam's Club isn't placing so big a bet on digital that it can't reverse course if paper makes a comeback and automation turns out to be a fad.
All kidding aside, membership-based stores may have a closer bond with their customers than many other retailers do. Some portion of Sam's Club members may have preferred more of an old-school approach to customer service and communication, but stores also must know when to nudge their membership programs into the 21st century, particularly when it can result in even greater benefits to members and more membership growth and management efficiencies for the stores themselves.
Sam's Club, like many retailers, is working hard to stretch itself in new directions, testing new ideas related to e-commerce and other sales trends, as well as new notions about logistics and fulfillment. Moving some very important but time-consuming and labor-intensive functions to the cloud is part of that effort.
The move to Salesforce should allow Sam's Club more flexibility to do more for its current members, while helping it reach out in a more modern way to potential new customer groups. At their core, these club stores are communities, a notion that fits the 21st century as well as the 20th. Cloud technology can help membership teams do more to make their membership programs feel more like dynamic communities. Membership should be about more than a little laminated card.