Sam’s Club — the members-only, Walmart-owned retail store — is taking a page from Amazon’s playbook by opening an experimental cashier-less “Sam’s Club Now” store in Texas. In a blog post announcing the news, CEO Jamie Iannone said that the new store is “very close to opening,” and it will serve as the “epicenter of innovation for Sam’s Club.”
Despite doing away with traditional cashiers, Sam’s Club Now isn’t quite as automated as the high-tech Amazon Go locations. Users will use a new Sam’s Club Now app to scan their items as they walk through the store, and there will be a final scan from a staff member as you exit to complete your purchase. It’s almost like turning the entire store into a continuous self-checkout stand.
The company has big ambitions for expanding that experience, with plans for smart shopping lists that automatically update as you scan items, intelligent maps that could guide you through the store to find your next item, and even augmented reality.
In the future, Sam’s Club Now is planning to add electronic shelf labels that will instantly update prices and take advantage of the over 700 cameras in the club to better manage inventory.
Sam’s Club Now is part of Sam’s Club’s continuing efforts to stay ahead of the technological curve, and it’s the latest move in Amazon and Walmart’s ongoing war for retail supremacy in the US, putting the Walmart-owned Sam’s Club in direct competition with Amazon’s new Go stores.