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Sam’s Club invests in app experience, outperforms competing wholesale retailers

Source: https://blog.apptopia.com/sams-club-invests-in-app-experience

Superstores and wholesale retailers saw strong growth in downloads and engagement in 2020. We attribute this to consumers being especially focused on affordability and bulk buying this year. You can learn more about this consumer trend, and all the retail performers who benefited, in our joint analysis with Semrush.

In this blog, we’re taking a close look at Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s Wholesale Club, the three most popular wholesale retailers in the US. All require a membership card, and all have an app. In 2020, in the US, the Sam’s Club app was downloaded approximately 9.6M times, Costco was downloaded about 4.9M times, and BJ’s about 3.1M.

Your first thought may be, “duh.” Costco has the most physical stores worldwide, but Sam’s Club has the most in the US. So, of course the Sam’s Club app would be attracting more users here. I, however, would argue that there’s more to the story. The difference in US stores between Sam’s Club and Costco is marginal (~7.5%) compared to the difference in their 2020 app downloads (~95.9%).

So, why is Sam’s Club outperforming its closest competitor on mobile? First, I should note that Sam’s Club is a subsidiary of Walmart. Having that backing can’t hurt. Second, the Sam’s Club app appears to have implemented a series of updates, which improved the user experience, and made for a more pandemic-friendly shopping experience. As a result, Sam’s Club has the highest percentage of positive user reviews over the past 365 days, about 77.6% compared to 26.8% for Costco.

To dig into this further, I visited the version history and review history of both apps. With Sam’s Club, I saw that people were continually praising the new “Scan & Go” feature, which allows shoppers to skip the checkout line, even while shopping in store. Sam’s Club also added the ability to cancel a pickup order, giving shoppers more flexibility and peace of mind. And, of course, the wholesale retailer fixed a few app bugs too.

Meanwhile, at Costco, some users were so displeased with the app experience that they were considering switching to Sam’s Club. In fact, some variation of the keyword, “Sam’s Club,” was found in over 100 reviews of the Costco app. Main complaint from these reviewers: the Costco app appears to be disconnected from the in-store experience.

The reviews above perfectly illustrate how important it is to implement and improve an omni-channel approach. In 2021, with most shopping done digitally, your business needs an app. But, more importantly, it needs an app that creates a seamless, synergistic shopping experience between the shopper’s phone and the physical store. Sam’s Club was successful in their omni-channel approach, and the payoff was clear.

If you’re still not convinced you should be investing in mobile, I recommend you listen to this Somewhat Mobile episode with Matt Hudson. Hudson is a long-time mobile savant, and the brains behind the fastest growing retailer app in the country. Even as in-store foot traffic declined over 2020, Hudson’s app continued to grow.

To learn more about the data behind this article and what Apptopia has to offer, please reach out to Connor Emmel at cemmel@apptopia.com.

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ForwardKeys is one of the leading travel analytics firms that provides investment firms with alternative and predictive data on the travel industry. Data is offered both on the demand and the offer-side of the aviation market.

Actual Air Reservations is an aggregation of flight bookings made via the Global Distribution Systems. Exclusive agreements make that global travel data is available, including regions that are generally difficult to track. This data contains valuable insights into the profile, behaviour, and impact of events on past, present and future air travellers.

Seat Capacity provides insights into the scheduled flights from 99% of global commercial airlines.

Financial institutions use this data for artificial intelligence and predictive models to forecast the performances of businesses. Combined, the datasets can provide insights into the financial health of businesses operating in the travel and tourism industry. This list contains companies like airlines, airplane leasing companies, oil companies, hotels and travel agencies.

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Data is changing the speed of business. Investors, Corporations, and Governments are buying new, differentiated data to gain visibility make better decisions. Don't fall behind. Let us help.

DATA PROVIDER SPOTLIGHT

ForwardKeys

ForwardKeys is one of the leading travel analytics firms that provides investment firms with alternative and predictive data on the travel industry. Data is offered both on the demand and the offer-side of the aviation market.

Actual Air Reservations is an aggregation of flight bookings made via the Global Distribution Systems. Exclusive agreements make that global travel data is available, including regions that are generally difficult to track. This data contains valuable insights into the profile, behaviour, and impact of events on past, present and future air travellers.

Seat Capacity provides insights into the scheduled flights from 99% of global commercial airlines.

Financial institutions use this data for artificial intelligence and predictive models to forecast the performances of businesses. Combined, the datasets can provide insights into the financial health of businesses operating in the travel and tourism industry. This list contains companies like airlines, airplane leasing companies, oil companies, hotels and travel agencies.