- Sam's Club, the warehouse club brand owned by Walmart, hired two of the world's fastest athletes for a campaign promoting the speediness of its mobile-checkout scanning app, according to a press release.
- Retired Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who holds the record as the world's fastest man, and three-time world champion American sprinter Allyson Felix star in ads highlighting the ease of using Sam Club's proprietary Scan & Go tool. A video where Bolt is challenged to scan 20 items in under three minutes sits at the center of the campaign. Felix makes an appearance at the end of the video asking Bolt to hold her medals, a nod to the fact that she recently surpassed Bolt as the holder of the most world championship gold medals.
- The video is hosted on YouTube and the microsite ScanAndGoChallenge.com. It challenges consumers to download the app and make their own speedy shopping trips to Sam's Club stores. Sam's Club is also running digital ads, social media and paid integrations as part of the campaign.
As the key holiday season ramps up, Sam's Club's is leaning heavily into its scan and go mobile technology as a means to drive consumers to stores. With the creative effort, the retailer acknowledges that customers are short on time — and increasingly opting to buy online — and illustrates that the psychical retail experience doesn't have to be arduous in a playful way through the inclusion of Bolt and Felix.
Beyond featuring some high-profile athlete ambassadors, the push could generate engagement by spurring consumers to complete their own scan and go challenges.
Sam's Club ramping up marketing of its scan and go app comes as rivals are similarly looking to expand their in-store mobile offerings. Amazon has continued to test cashierless store concepts that allow shoppers to load up on items and walk out the door, seamlessly paying through an Amazon Go app. The e-commerce giant is planning to expand its Amazon Go supermarkets and pop-ups next-year, along with licensing its Go technology to other retailers, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
But scanning apps are not without its issues. Sam's Club parent Walmart recently stopped using mobile scanning checkout after discovering that customers didn't like being put to work scanning items themselves and didn't find it as convenient as the retailer had hoped.
Still, Sam's has frequently attempted to position its brand as "digital-first." The retailer recently put out the customer service apps Ask Sam and Sam's Garage that aim to help shoppers find their way in the store without having to ask a sales associate for help.