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Sam's Club Changes Membership Proposition

Sam's Club Changes Membership Proposition

The changes come a month after Sam's Club said it would shut or convert 63 stores. The warehouse chain will also enhance its online retail offerings by launching additional e-commerce warehouses as well as providing free shipping.

The company added that it is boosting the value of its Plus membership with free shipping on most items sold online, including nearly all of its Member's Mark products. The company said at the time that up to a dozen of the closed stores would be turned into distribution centers to fulfill online orders.

Warehouse chain Sam's Club, a unit of Walmart, said on Wednesday it will consolidate its membership structure for customers and improve its e-commerce offerings by adding free shipping and opening more e-commerce warehouses this year. "We are adding more value to our membership, we're making strategic choices and changing how we work to drive visible growth", he added.

Not a member? Sam's Club regularly offers special sign-up deals, like a $10 gift card for new members.

Plus members will continue to receive other benefits like cash rewards, early shopping hours, and pharmacy and optical discounts. The company will now have just two types of membership - Plus and Club members.

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The free shipping option will be only available to Sam's Club's "Plus" members, which costs $100 annually, which is essentially the same as Amazon Prime's one time price or monthly payment totaling $99 annually.

Furner said a year ago that the company had made a decision to sharpen its focus and began catering to budget-conscious shoppers, pulling back from business owners.

The Plus level will come with free shipping on the vast majority. Furner said Tuesday that the center should be ready to ship items by the end of March.

Revamped memberships seem to be the latest move in an effort by Walmart to boost its Sam's Club franchise. According to Reuters, other areas being considered for centers include Texas, central Florida, Southern California, the Chicago area, the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. "Another piece of that strategy is building out a Sam's Club unique supply chain that enables us to get closer to members, and it makes ordering on SamsClub.com easier and faster".

Furner says Sam's Club is "being more aggressive on direct to home than we have ever been" and it is really a big transformation.