Sam’s Club Creates Amazon Prime-Like Free Shipping Service

Walmart subscription bulk buying subsidiary Sam’s Club is rolling out an Amazon Prime-like service offering unlimited free shipping on nearly all items for its Plus members at $100 a year, $1 more than Prime charges, with no minimum order threshold.

The company’s Club membership level, at $45 per year, will not receive the same delivery perk but gets discounts on services like flat tire repair.

This is part of a major digital push by the subscription club giant. It comes one month after Walmart announced the closure of 63 underperforming Sam’s Club stores, with plans for 12 of them to be converted into ecommerce fulfillment centers. This will speed up online order delivery by expanding the distribution network and putting inventory closer to customers. After the reduction there will be 597 Sam’s Club stores.

Many Sam’s Club members were upset at the store closures, which came suddenly and without warning. This prompted a PR mess and a good bit of social media blowback as the news trickled out via posts from laid-off employees.

In a blog post announcing the new shipping service, CEO and VP of Membership and Technology Jamie Iannone said Sam’s Club’s first store-turned-FC will open this spring in Memphis, TN – home to FedEx and a strategic location with broad reach for two-day shipping across much of the U.S.

“Our Memphis center will teach us a lot as we build out this new ecommerce supply chain, Iannone said. “We plan to accelerate growth of this network in the back half of the year.” He added other areas being considered for new FCs include Texas, central Florida, the mid-Atlantic, southern California, Chicago and the Northeast.

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