Building our business by tuning in: How listening to our members and customers makes us better

By Rosalind Brewer, President & CEO, Sam's Club

June 05, 2015

Remarks as Prepared for Roz Brewer

Thank you, Andrew! Andrew is here representing our 2014 Club of the Year. Congratulations to you and Club 4820!

Andrew and his teammates are the best of the best of Sam's Club. They're self-starters with a winning mindset who exemplify what it means to be "Happy to Help!" every day.

Now, let's get this started!

Good morning, Walmart! Good morning, Sam's Club!

I'm so proud of the work we're doing to build members' trust and loyalty. From our merchants - to operators - and club associates, we're making our membership card the most valuable card in our members' wallets.

We're working as one team to give members a legendary shopping experience, and the results are promising: We've added 17 new clubs and grown sales to $58 billion dollars in the last year.

Is the business where we want it to be? Not quite yet. We know we have important work to do to accelerate our growth.

Now, how can we step on the gas and make that happen? By putting our members in the driver's seat.

We must put our members and our customers at the center of everything we do. It can mean the difference between them coming back every day, every week - or not at all.

And one of the best ways we can do this is by listening.

Just like you and me, members want their voices heard. And like Sam Walton always did, we must always, always, be talking to our members and our customers. Every day. In the clubs, stores, sidelines at soccer games…at weddings!

There's also plenty of other ways to listen to what's on their minds…through feedback on Facebook, Twitter, email, and even good old fashioned comment cards.

When it comes to telling us what they think, they aren't shy. We receive thousands of comments every week.

And we've taken some of that feedback and made changes our members and customers love, like: increasing organics, adding more checkout lanes at peak shopping times; and you may have heard our recent announcement—which is quite significant—we've decided to strengthen our position on how animals are treated in our supply chain.

That's being member driven!

We also listened when they said they love the thrill of the treasure hunt. That's why we're selling really exciting items like 3D printers, curved TVs, drones and… single diamonds valued at more than $100,000.

That's being member driven! 

Listening drives innovation and enhances membership value

Evolving Click ‘n’ Pull to Club Pick Up

And this year, we're really listening to our small business members.

Sam Walton created Sam's Club over 30 years ago. And today, more than 600,000 members shop our clubs every single week. Who are they? They're the smallest of small businesses - typically less than 10 people employed.

They're your favorite pizza shop or bakery, a day care center. And what did they tell us? They said, we love the idea of Click n Pull, but it can be much, much better.

Click n Pull was our service that let small business owners place orders online or by fax and pick up the next day. It was a great idea for busy business owners who didn't want to be away from their business.

Imagine you own a convenience store, and every week you buy the same soft drinks, the same snacks, the same candy. But the system couldn't remember your previous order. And you needed to wait in line to pay when you got to the club.

That could be little a frustrating. So we listened. And we rebuilt Click n Pull from the ground up.

We made it so the system remembers all your order history. Same order as last week? Just hit one button. And we built a kiosk at the front of every club, so members don't have to wait in line. They just check in, and we bring them their order. And of course, they've already paid online.

And what do they say now? They absolutely love what we now call Club Pickup.

And guess who else noticed? Our savings members—shoppers on the go with little time to spare, like busy moms and dads. They said, "Hey that looks really convenient! I'd love to order my groceries for the week and have them ready for me when I get there!"

That's being member driven!

Small Businesses Services Boost Membership Value 

And our small business members also told us they need help running and growing their businesses. But, they said, "We're so busy, we don't have time. We need help with things like health care and managing our payroll better."

So, we listened. And worked with the best in the industry to give them access to nine new services. 

That's being member driven!

Becoming a Health and Wellness Destination

Our members are also asking for healthier food options while telling us convenience is so important.

So we listened. Now we offer more nutritious "grab-and-go" lunch and dinner meals and we've increased organics 20-percent just this past quarter.

That's being member driven!

Changing the Pharmacy Game with Free/4/10

Health is important to all of us. And we want our members to think of us as their first stop for health and wellness. Because when we get that right, they'll come back again and again. It's one of the top reasons they renew their membership.

Last year, our members helped us become the number one rated pharmacy of any mass market retailer.  

Yet, they told us we could do more. So, we launched "Free/4/10”—a new pharmacy program that gives plus members free and discounted prescriptions for costly diseases like Alzheimer's and diabetes.

And it is a game-changer.

Elaine Webb. She's a member at Club 8243 in Raymore, Missouri.

She was paying $130 cash every month for her prescription. She asked her doctor to prescribe a medication that cost less, but was told it was the only drug in that class. He advised her to shop around for a better price. Then Elaine and her husband went to their local club to renew their membership—and while there, she checked the cost and discovered it was free.

Here's what Elaine said, “"We went to the Member Services Desk and upgraded. Now my $130 medication is free. It's awesome! It's a savings of greater than $1500 a year for me, and that makes a big difference."

That's being member-driven!


Listening makes us better. It's what drives us every day -as associates and as a company.

So, I ask you to listen to our customers and members. Share their ideas. Try something new to delight them. And then together we can all share in our success.

Thank you!