Sam’s Club recently held a grand opening of its eCommerce fulfillment in Memphis. The fulfillment center (FC) is the first of the planned conversions of recently shuttered Sam’s Club locations. The new facility is located about five miles from the FedEx hub which is expected to shorten delivery times of regional online orders.
Sam’s Club CEO John Furner said recently the company will continue to look at other opportunities for club conversion adding to the FC count, which should over time enable next day or two-day shipping to most of its members.
The conversion took less than four months to complete and the first package was shipped 46 days after the renovation began. Furner was the recipient of the first package sent by the Memphis FC to his Bentonville office. He said it was his favorite coffee along with a note saying the facility was open for business.
“We’re excited Memphis was chosen to be the home of the company’s first FC,” said Charles Dodge, general manager of the Memphis FC. “We appreciate the support of the community as we’ve converted the club and look forward to continuing the great partnership we have for years to come.”
The company said during the renovations it designed the concept, made small changes to the interior and implemented supply chain processes and technology. Work to continue scaling the operation continues. The facility is 135,000 square feet and employs 50 full-time workers.
“We moved fast to bring this FC online, and I’m proud of the team that made this happen,” said Mohan Akella, vice president of online supply chain for Sam’s Club. “This FC is going to make sure our members get their orders even faster, and we’re excited about what this means for our business.”
Other regions being considered for fulfillment centers include Texas, Central Florida, the Mid-Atlantic, Southern California, Chicago and the Northeast.
Jamie Iannone, CEO of SamsClub.com, recently said focusing on member services like free shipping on most items for plus members along with an upgraded version of Scan & Go and mobile wallet are company priorities. In the first quarter of this year Sam’s Club saw online sales increase about 25% following the free-shipping announcement. This growth helped to boost comp sales for the club to 5.2%, excluding fuel and tobacco.
Efforts to grow Sam’s Club e-commerce business have been on the retailer’s agenda over the past year. The company elevated Iaonne to CEO of SamsClub.com, giving that business its own leadership team. More recently Sam’s Club tapped Tony Rogers, chief marketing officer for Walmart U.S. and eCommerce, to fill a new role of chief membership officer focusing on membership and e-commerce growth.
Ianonne said this new role being filled by Rogers is an important step in helping the retailer focus more membership insights and offerings for in-store and online which are crucial to the club model’s long-term success.