- Sam’s Club will now allow customers to purchase alcohol through its popular Scan & Go program, according to a press release emailed to Grocery Dive.
- Shoppers scan alcoholic beverages using the Scan & Go feature inside their Sam's Club app, then show their ID to the Sam's Club greeter on their way out of the store. Once their age is verified, shoppers click “pay” in the app and the transaction is complete.
- Sam’s Club piloted the offering at its retail and innovation lab, Sam’s Club Now, in Dallas last year. It’s now available at all locations that sell alcohol.
With alcohol sales rising 5.1% between 2017 and 2018, retailers are eager for ways to marry the growing demand for digital retail and alcohol.
For Sam's Club, the addition of alcohol to its Scan & Go program offers a path to bigger baskets. The program has proven popular for the bulk-sized purchases shoppers make, and the club retailer has been steadily innovating in order to keep the momentum going. In March, the company announced it would test image-recognition technology to allow consumers to scan the whole product instead of a barcode, making the process faster and more intuitive.
Last month, Sam's Club opened a Scan & Go-only location inside an online distribution center in Tampa that carries roughly 2,000 in-demand products.
Going through an ID check at the exit means the experience isn't a completely seamless one. But club store customers are used to receipt audits on their way out, and scan-and-go programs also rely on random audits to deter theft. Although implementation of fast-checkout technology across the industry has been inconsistent, nearly three-quarters of consumers are open to using self-checkout and other self-serve technologies at the store, according to mobile device management firm SOTI.
Online alcohol sales are also growing rapidly. Earlier this year, Sam’s Club launched same-day alcohol delivery through Instacart at more than 200 of its stores across 10 states. Walmart rolled out alcohol pickup at 2,000 stores last month and not long after, Aldi launched alcohol delivery nationwide. Retailers like Meijer, H-E-B and Schnucks offer alcohol delivery through companies like Shipt and Instacart.