“We’re beginning to play with some of those concepts, but all of that is based on having this open dialogue with a member online while they're in an offline club.”
McLay also shared insight into how Sam’s Club is leveraging learnings from its Scan & Ship technology, in which consumers scan bulky items with their phones for direct-to-home shipping. Though they initially assumed consumers would ship items immediately after scanning, they instead found consumers will let them sit in baskets for up to 30 days, later returning to purchase them after doing research.
There’s an opportunity to use this process for such things as Halloween costumes, said McLay, a category that’s historically difficult to keep stocked in every size.
Also on the horizon: Further advancement with robotic inventory analysis. Though Walmart has walked away from the technology in its stores, McLay said it works well in Sam’s Club in part because of their limited-SKU design with pallet flows and displays.
[See also: RIS News' 2022 Store Experience Study]
Available at nearly all 600 locations, the camera-affixed automated floor scrubbers scan inventory levels each day. Not only are the scrubbers “automating a role that’s asking to be automated,” she said, but they’re also providing an extraordinarily accurate inventory rate and freeing up associates’ time.
The robots are currently able to scan both tags on the floor and in the racks, and the company is exploring RFID technology so it can read the apparel tables as well.