The format is simple: Members pay a fee to shop. In return, they get access to low-priced goods and services in a warehouse setting.
With over 65 million paying members, Costco controls the lion's share of the market. But Walmart-owned Sam's Club is tweaking the formula, betting that investments in robotics and technology can help it better engage with budget-conscious shoppers and take on its competitors.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon called Sam's Club an "innovation engine for the company" during an August 2021 earnings call.
So how do warehouse clubs like Sam's get members to pay to shop? And what impact will new technology have on the future of the retail chain and its rivalry with Costco?