When Amazon bought Whole Foods Market, it seemed like the retail world flipped upside down. Since the end of 2017, here's a quick recap of what you might have missed. Target acquired Shipt and is testing same-day delivery in Florida; Costco is experimenting with its own delivery service; Amazon just promised free 2-hour delivery on Whole Foods Market purchases for Prime members; and in an unprecedented move, Walmart Inc closed 63 Sam's Clubs across the country, with the South and the Midwest getting hit the hardest. Now, Sam's Club is back in the news with a brighter message for its customers.
This week, Sam's Club announced it would offer free shipping on many items for premium members. This comes on the heels of the announcement that the brand would restructure its membership programs. As part of Walmart Inc, Sam's Club stated that the bulk of its online items will qualify for free shipping, and there will be no minimum order size required for Plus members. As Fortune reported, a Plus membership costs $100 yearly.
The no-minimum-order requirement encourages regular Walmart shoppers to turn to Sam's Club as Walmart offers free 2-day shipping on orders of $35 or more with no membership requirement. After falling out of public favor when the brand closed stores overnight, with more following at the end of this month, this move is designed to increase club memberships. Fortune also pointed out that this is Sam's Club way to promote its private label, Member's Mark.
Competing with arch-rival Costco's beloved Kirkland Signature brand, Member's Mark works similarly and has products in every category from liquor to household supplies. While there is the Plus membership for $100 yearly, Sam's Club is also offering the Club membership, or Sam's Savings, for $45. Club members will still find the same great deals, instant savings, and club coupons, but will still deal with shipping costs on online orders.
Do you pay an annual fee or other membership fees to belong to a bulk wholesaler or one of the many warehouse stores out there? Do you think that the best deals are in bulk stores? Let us know in the comments!