When Sam's Club begins offering free Wi-Fi in its stores this November, the retailer hopes shoppers will be more likely to purchase electronics, specifically new Internet-connected television sets.
“It is an intimidating category with lots of complexity,” said Sam's Club Chief Executive Brain Cornell in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “This will allow a member to walk up to a Samsung LCD Internet-enabled TV and see how to find his Facebook page or stream video from Vudu.”
Wi-Fi will also improve customers' in-store Internet access on their smart phones and will allow them to easily find more information about a product and do comparison shopping within the store. Sam's Club isn't concerned about its customers doing price comparisons with its competitors. Consumer electronic analyst Stephen Baker from NPD Group, a market research firm, confirmed Sam's Club has little to worry about in that respect. “[Retailers] know they are not going to lose customers over a few dollars, and many retailers have price-match programs.”
Retail analysts agree Wi-Fi access is especially important in stores like Sam's Club, a place that is known for low prices and not necessarily for its customer service. One of Sam's Club's competitors, Best Buy, is also developing a mobile application for its customers this holiday season. Many other stores are sure to follow suit.