Sam’s Club plans to open an innovation center in Texas

sam's club

The innovative store will not eliminate human employees to work but alter their role.

Warehouse chain Sam’s Club, a unit of Walmart Inc, lately announced to open a new store and innovation center in Dallas, Texas. Reportedly, the store would be used to test technology before it is implemented in stores.

This center will be separate from an internal research lab, called Walmart Labs, that focuses on developing new e-commerce applications and technology for the company.

The new store, dubbed as Sam’s Club Now, will have the smart shopping lists, augmented reality and other features. It will require shoppers to use a mobile app to make purchases and check out. However, the warehouse is not eliminating human employees, now called member hosts, who will continue to help customers.

John Furner, CEO, Sam’s Club, stated, “Sam’s Club Now gives us one more avenue to develop, test and refine technology and features that will create new shopping experiences at scale.”

Human employees to work as ‘Member Hosts’

Jamie Iannone, Chief Executive Officer, SamsClub.com and Executive Vice President of Membership and Technology, stated, “Our associates are key to bringing this experience to life, which is why we’re introducing a new role called the Member Host. Think of these associates as the concierge of the club. We’ll empower them with new technology that will allow them to serve members better and faster.”

Shoppers to use the app while shopping

Of about 32,000 square feet, the new location in Dallas is a quarter of the size of most Sam’s Club stores. Shoppers will use the Sam’s Club Now app inside the store while associates or member hosts will become concierges.

The new store will serve as a technology lab for Sam’s Club as it tests different features on the app. Customers will have access to auto-filled smart shopping lists, which will use machine learning and purchase data. The app will allow for voice search navigation with maps that will turn into beacon technology over time. Sam’s Club will also offer one-hour club pickup through the app, so you can order online.