Reports of the new concept first arose in mid-June, when The Dallas Morning News reported that Walmart was planning the location to open in an old Walmart Neighborhood Market in Dallas' Lower Greenville neighborhood. The report noted that the store will carry about 1,000 to 2,000 items – compared with the average 6,000 in a full-size Sam's Club – with focus given to convenience items, fresh food, and grab-and-go meals.
Earlier this month, Sam's Club also revealed plans to grow its same-day-delivery footprint to half of its locations by the end of October. It first added same-day delivery of groceries and everyday essentials through Instacart back in January, piloting the service at 61 locations in three markets: Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and St. Louis. The retailer also recently expanded the service into San Diego and Los Angeles.
The automated Sam's Club location comes at a time when a number of retailers and grocery technology companies are focusing on smaller formats and such technologies as machine learning, vision sensors, AI and more to make the shopping process as seamless, quick and easy as possible.
Seattle-based Amazon already has opened three locations in Seattle,two in Chicago and one in San Francisco, and is planning one in New York, two more in Chicago and another in San Francisco – with plans to have 3,000 locations in just a few years. Similar concepts that also have opened include Standard Market, powered by artificial-intelligence company Standard Cognition, and a concept powered by the Zippin checkout-free software platform, both in San Francisco.
Sam's Club is the club store division in Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart's U.S. division. Walmart is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer's 2015 list of the top grocers in the United States.