What Is Sam’s Club? (All You Need To Know)

Sam’s Club is the place to go when you want to stock up on must-have items like toilet paper, bottled water, or granola bars. Additionally, Sam’s Club approaches the idea of a retail store differently, so their customers save as much money as possible. 

So, if you want to learn about what separates Sam’s Club from the competition, consider this your complete guide for everything Sam’s Club-related!  

What Is Sam’s Club In [currentyear]?

Sam’s Club is a membership-based warehouse retail store that is owned and operated by Walmart. Members of Sam’s Club have access to unmatched savings on groceries, gas, cleaning products, household items, and much more because they are sold in bulk.  

To learn more about how Sam’s Club differs from other retail stores and who Sam’s Club’s main competitors are, continue reading!  

How Is Sam’s Club Different From Other Stores?

The most apparent difference between Sam’s Club and other retail stores is the company’s membership requirement to shop at the store.

In return, members have access to exclusive deals, savings, and products that non-members cannot access.  

Another aspect of Sam’s Club that makes it stand out from your typical grocery or retail store is the size of the warehouses.  

Sam’s Club stores are massive warehouses that sell products directly off the pallets they were shipped on.  

Because Sam’s Club members can buy grocery and household items in bulk, they can access savings that traditional retail stores cannot match.  

Why Was Sam’s Club Created?

Before Sam’s Club came along, the company’s owner, Sam Walton, opened Walmart.  

Walton’s intention for Walmart was to offer customers everyday items at a lower cost than his competitors.  

After Walmart proved to be a success, Walton wanted to use his resources to open a store that would help other entrepreneurs access products and services they needed to run a thriving business.  

With that idea in mind, the first Sam’s Club opened in 1983 in Midwest City, Oklahoma. Today, Sam’s Club still strives to provide solutions for growing businesses.  

However, the warehouse retailer has expanded its reach to help families access incredible savings on products needed to keep their household running.  

Who Owns Sam’s Club?

Who Owns Sam's Club?

Contrary to popular belief, Sam’s Club is not a publicly-traded company. Instead, the parent company, Walmart Inc., owns and operates all the business of Sam’s Club.  

Because of Walmart and Sam’s Club’s global scale, the companies have separate Presidents, CEOs, and other upper management.  

For example, the President and CEO of Sam’s Club is Kathryn McLay, who helped the warehouse retailer accumulate $64 billion in total revenue for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2021!  

One thing about Walmart and Sam’s Club’s ownership that they share in common is the location of their headquarters. Both companies have their headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.  

What Kinds Of Membership Plans Are Available At Sam’s Club?

Sam’s Club offers 2 types of membership plans for customers. The membership plans differ based on the number of benefits you will have access to.  

Club Membership  

Sam’s Club’s Club-level membership plan is the basic and most popular membership plan. This membership costs $45 a year and gives you access to the following benefits: 

  • Instant Savings 
  • Sam’s Club Mastercard  
  • Access to Sam’s Club gas stations  
  • Tire and battery center  
  • Complimentary membership for another household member 
  • Add-on memberships available  

Plus Membership  

If you want access to even more benefits, Sam’s Club’s Plus membership is perfect. This plan costs $100 a year and includes all the perks of the Club membership with several others added on.  

The additional benefits of the Plus membership include: 

  • Cash Rewards
  • Free shipping for online orders  
  • Earlier shopping hours  
  • Access to Pharmacy savings 
  • Access to Optical center savings 

What Benefits Are Available To Sam’s Club Members?

What Benefits Are Available To Sam's Club Members?

A membership at Sam’s Club comes with incredible benefits that you will not be able to find at your typical retail store.  

In addition to saving money on items sold in bulk, Sam’s Club offers its members so much more. Some of the amazing services and money-saving programs members have access to include: 

  • Free shipping for online orders 
  • Cash Rewards  
  • Savings on prescription medication  
  • Sam’s Club Credit  
  • Instant Savings  
  • Free health screenings  
  • Free auto care services  
  • Free samples  
  • Member-only savings on fuel  

Some of the perks Sam’s Club offers vary depending on what membership plan, Club or Plus, you have.  

For example, Plus members have access to earlier shopping hours and higher cash back rewards for in-store and online purchases.  

However, the Plus membership does cost a little bit more than the Club level membership plan.  

What Services Do Sam’s Club Members Have Access To?

Sam’s Club members have access to a wide array of deals and services. In addition to members-only pricing on groceries, the Sam’s Club app allows members to use the Scan & Go feature.  

Scan & Go lets customers ring up items as they shop, removing the need to wait in line at the checkout and effectively saving time.  

Other services that draw customers to become members at Sam’s Club are free curbside pickup and same-day grocery delivery.  

Additionally, Sam’s Club also provides the following perks at most locations within the United States:  

  • Auto center (tire replacement, battery changes, tire rotation)  
  • Optical center (eye exams, contacts, prescription glasses) 
  • Pharmacy (standard health exams, prescription renewals) 
  • Food court  

How Do You Become A Member At Sam’s Club?

How Do You Become A Member At Sam's Club?

If you want to become a member at Sam’s Club, there are only a few simple steps you must take to do so!  

Sam’s Club makes it easy to join your local Club either online or in-person, depending on your preference.  

If you prefer to join in person, stop by your local Sam’s Club and ask an employee to direct you to the Membership Services desk.  

The Membership Services desk will have you fill out the necessary paperwork and process the membership fee.  

You will receive a temporary membership card while your official card is being processed and sent through the mail.  

If you want to join Sam’s Club but do not want to leave your house, you can also join online! After choosing between the Club and Plus membership plans, the website leads you to the next step.  

After locating the new member form and entering the required information, the website will prompt you to make a payment for your annual membership fee.  

Then, your membership card is sent to your home address via the mail. An additional perk of becoming a new Sam’s Club member is the $45 Sam’s Club gift card you receive when you join.  

Sam’s Club gift cards can be used in-store, online, at Walmart and Sam’s Club gas stations, and in-store at Walmart.  

Can You Shop At Sam’s Club Without A Membership?

Even if you do not have a Sam’s Club Membership, there are still a few ways to access the incredible deals available at Sam’s Club.  

Instacart  

One fast and convenient way to have your favorite Sam’s Club products delivered right to your door (whether you are a member or not) is through Instacart.  

Instacart is a new grocery delivery service that allows you to pick out and pay for your desired products online or on the Instacart app.  

Then, your order is delivered within an hour, or at a time you pick, that works for your schedule. Not all products that Sam’s Club sells are available on the Instacart app.  

However, most of the popular grocery, cleaning, and household products are available. To use Instacart with Sam’s Club, you must first make an account after downloading the app or visiting the website.  

Then, Instacart provides a list of available grocers based on the address you enter. When you use Instacart, there is a delivery and service fee added to your order.  

90-Day Membership Trial  

If you feel a little unsure about whether or not to purchase a membership at Sam’s Club, they provide a free 90-day trial membership 

The 90-day trial membership gives you the same access to the products and services Club-level members have.  

Some of the benefits include access to the Sam’s Club app, online shopping, and all other perks of a Club-level membership plan.  

However, you must receive an email invitation from a current member who received the offer to share with a friend to access a trial membership.  

Or, you have to participate in a partner program where the free 90-day trial is available.  

Shop Online 

Another way to purchase products in bulk from Sam’s Club is to shop online. Non-members can buy items from Sam’s Club using their website with an added 10% service fee applied at checkout.  

However, not all available in-store products are available online, like select groceries and larger appliances.  

To buy things from Sam’s Club without a membership, you must select the ‘Guest’ option when you get to the checkout.  

Unfortunately, Sam’s Club no longer provides guest passes for in-store purchases.  

How Many Members Does Sam’s Club Have?

How Many Members Does Sam's Club Have?

Sam’s Club is home to 47 million members in the United States and Puerto Rico as of [currentyear].  

With locations recently opening up in different areas of the world, there is no doubt Sam’s Club is home to even more members than the last available data shows.  

With over 47 million members, Sam’s Club ranks in the top 10 retail stores within the United States.  

How Many Sam’s Club Locations Are There?  

Sam’s Club currently has about 600 locations within the United States and Puerto Rico alone, with the average warehouse being 136,000 square feet.  

In addition to the warehouses in the United States and Puerto Rico, Sam’s Club also has a few international locations in China, Mexico, and Brazil.  

In recent years, Sam’s Club has also made an effort to make its warehouses more environmentally conscious. Some of their green initiatives include the following sustainable features: 

  • Installing skylights  
  • Night dimming lights  
  • Central energy management  
  • Water-conserving faucets and other fixtures  
  • Natural concrete flooring  
  • Various recycling programs (tires, batteries, plastics, etc.) 

How Many Employees Does Sam’s Club Have?

Sam’s Club is home to around 36,000 hourly and management-level employees. At Sam’s Club, the company encourages its workers to advance their position whenever an opportunity arises.  

With that, around 75% of Sam’s Club’s current managers were initially hired as hourly workers for the company.  

Other factors that draw people to work for Sam’s Club include the competitive wages, medical benefits, relaxed dress code, and flexible scheduling.  

Who Are Sam’s Club’s Biggest Competitors?

Who Are Sam's Club's Biggest Competitors?

Although Sam’s Club is extremely successful, a couple of notable competitors offer similar services and products.  

Costco 

Costco is the largest warehouse retailer in the world and the only company that leads Sam’s Club in annual sales and revenue.  

Compared to Sam’s Club, Costco’s membership fees are slightly more expensive per year.  

However, Costco’s Kirkland products, their own private label brand, are rated superior to Sam’s Club’s Members Mark products.  

Additionally, Costco’s food court has a broader selection of foods than Sam’s Club’s offers. When it comes down to it, both warehouse retailers provide members with huge savings.  

It is ultimately a personal preference or warehouse location that forces customers to choose between Sam’s Club and Costco 

BJ’s  

Another competitor Sam’s Club faces is BJ’s Warehouse Retailer. In a side-by-side comparison, there are very few differences between the 2 retail giants.  

However, one of the main distinctions between BJ’s and Sam’s Club is membership cost. An annual membership fee at BJ’s is $10 more than one at Sam’s Club.  

Besides the membership cost, both warehouse retailers offer optical centers, a pharmacy, a food court, and incredible savings on products sold in bulk.

To learn more, you might also be interested in reading up on Sam’s Club facts, statistics & trends, if Sam’s Club is a franchise, and the competitive advantages of Walmart.

Conclusion

Sam’s Club is a membership-only warehouse retailer owned by Walmart that offers popular items like groceries and cleaning items in bulk-sized quantities.  

In addition to incredible deals on products, Sam’s Club also provides its members with convenient services like auto care, pharmacies, gas stations, and optical centers.  

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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