Sam's Club announced Tuesday it is partnering with e-commerce service Instacart in three metro markets to provide same-day grocery delivery. Shoppers in Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and St. Louis, Missouri, will be able to order online from Sam's Club and get delivery via Instacart the same day, according to a release from the companies.
Instacart customers won't need a Sam's Club membership to shop there, the companies noted, while existing Sam's Club members can save their membership number in the loyalty card section and receive membership rewards and lower, members-only pricing on items.
Although the company is starting with only a few markets this week, Sam's Club says it hopes to expand the service to millions of households across the U.S starting this year.
Sam's Club is the latest retailer to join forces with the popular e-commerce delivery service. Sprouts announced last month that it would roll out delivery with Instacart to all of its major markets, while Albertsons recently inked a chain-wide deal with the provider.
Sam's Club is a particularly intriguing add because the company is undergoing a major shift as it focuses on battling Amazon and close competitor Costco. Walmart, which owns Sam's Club, decided last month to close 63 of the club's 660 stores. Around a dozen of those stores will be repurposed as e-commerce fulfillment centers, in a nod to Walmart's growing focus on online sales.
For Sam's Club, new e-commerce efforts include offering no-minimum free shipping to exclusive members on nearly all items. This program, announced earlier this month, promises to deliver products to most customers in one or two days, similar to Amazon Prime. Beefing up online business with Instacart delivery keeps it on pace with partnerships that other retailers are already offering.
Sam's Club has also been struggling against Costco, which has been doing a successful job of keeping members and drawing new ones who enjoy strolling through its massive aisles searching for bargains. Costco has also ramped up its online shopping efforts with a grocery delivery service and its own Instacart partnership.
Walmart's club division will likely need to spend some more time regrouping as it focuses on e-commerce and on offering the types of products and delivery services standard at its bigger rivals — and of more interest to a higher-income clientele. Partnering with the ever-expanding Instacart may help to get that done just a little bit faster. If successful, the partnership could also lead to a deal between Walmart and Instacart. The mega retailer has piloted numerous home delivery options, but so far nothing has really taken off, as the company has chosen to focus on store pickup.