A new Sam’s Club is getting ready to open in Dallas, but this one is a bit different from other clubs. It’s called Sam’s Club Now and it will be a testing hub for the latest in retail technology. The Walmart subsidiary is touting the store as a technology lab which doubles as a live, retail club.
Sam’s Club Now Store Uses Scan & Go
There are no cashiers in this Sam’s Club. Instead of waiting in line, customers can use the Sam’s Club Now app to scan items with their mobile phone as they put them into their cart. When they are done shopping, they can simply pay through the app and be on their way. The Scan & Go app will also keep track of how much customers are spending as they go through the store.
The company stated in a blog post “More than 90% of members who try Scan & Go use it again on their next trip, and regular use is up 40% this year. That’s because it makes shopping easier and members like that.”
AI Will Make Shopping Lists and Help Customers Navigate Around the Store
If customers don’t feel like making a shopping list, the app will make one for them. Through machine learning and analyzing previous purchase history, a personalized shopping list is pre-populated. Of course, customers can make edits to the list if they desire.
Having trouble navigating around the giant warehouse or can’t find what you are looking for? The Sam’s Club Now mobile app features an interactive map to help guide customers around the store and show them exactly where specific items are located.
No need to even type anything in, using voice search capabilities, customers can simply ask the app where something is and the map will pop up. Future plans include analyzing the customer’s shopping list to map out the best route through the store. This may sound like overkill, but in a big store like Sam’s Club, this could save a ton of time.
Augmented Reality Makes Items Come to Life
Sam’s is also looking to liven up the shopping experience by using Augmented Reality. Through the Sam’s Club Now mobile app, examining the shelves will turn into an interactive experience with stories and more in-depth information about the products. For instance, if you are interested in a certain type of coffee, you can be shown things like where the beans are grown and how they are cultivated. If the kids are getting bored, the AR can even turn the shopping cart into things like a pirate ship or rocket.
Electronic Shelf Labels Will Update Prices in Real Time
The technology isn’t just about shopping, the company hopes it will help human employees and improve overall efficiency in the store. Instead of the normal paper signs, the company will be testing electronic shelf labels which will instantly update prices. This will remove the need for employees to print and replace signs every time the price of an item changes.
In a store like Sam’s that carries over 4,000 unique items, this can save a ton of time and manpower. The company also plans to put about 700 cameras around the store to help keep track and manage inventory through artificial intelligence.
Member Hosts Will Assist Customers
While the store is heavily automated it won’t be completely void of human workers. According to the company, “Member Hosts” will act as concierges helping to guide customers through the new technology and step in if any difficulties arise.
At just 32,000 square feet, the test store is about a quarter the size of an average Sam’s Club. Some items will also come in smaller package sizes compared to other locations. As far as human employees go, the test store will employ about 44 associates compared to the normal 176.