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Jason & Scot Show Episode 310 Sam’s Club VP of E-Com, Sabrina Callahan

Jason & Scot Show Episode 310 Sam’s Club VP of E-Com, Sabrina Callahan

A weekly podcast with the latest e-commerce news and events. Episode 310 is a discussion with Sabrina Callahan, VP of E-Commerce at Sam’s Club, live from E-Tail Boston.

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Sabrina Callahan is the VP of E-Commerce at Sam’s Club. She participated on a panel at E-Tail Boston entitled “Humanizing your brand through effective storytelling”.

After her panel, she sat down with Jason to discuss all things digital commerce at Sam’s Club. This broad ranging discussion included:

  • Mobile’s impact on shopping
  • Challenges and opportunities of membership clubs (and their unique access to data)
  • Role of omni channel
  • Connecting digital marketing channels to digital experience
  • Building a brand for Sam’s Club in the digital era

Don’t forget to like our facebook page, and if you enjoyed this episode please write us a review on itunes.

Episode 310 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on live from e-Tail Boston on Tuesday, August 22, 2023.

Transcript

Jason:
[0:23] Welcome to the Jason and Scot show this episode is being recorded live from e-tail Boston Trade Show on Tuesday August 22nd 20:23 I’m your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and unfortunately Scott wasn’t able to join us so you’re getting twice the Jason for the same great price which if you think about it is double the value.
And while I know it’s disappointing to miss Scott we’re making up for it by having a way better guest I’d like to welcome to the show Sabrina Callahan who’s the VP of e-commerce at Sam’s Club.
Sabrina just completed a panel here at retail and titled humanizing your brand through effective storytelling Sabrina welcome to the show.

Sabrina:
[1:04] Thanks for having me Jason.

Jason:
[1:06] We are so excited and I’m hoping this ends up being a permanent replacement for Scott.

Sabrina:
[1:09] I think I’m up for it I’ve heard him so I think I could do it.

Jason:
[1:12] I feel like in the first five minutes you’re way more interesting and pleasant than he then he he’s kind of a curmudgeon.

Sabrina:
[1:18] I’m not I’m just not even going to say anything but just know that I’m ready.

Jason:
[1:20] Smart so before we get into all the meaty topics I always like to let listeners kind of get to know the background of the guests a little bit so did you work for Sam’s Club straight out of the Cradle how did you come to Sam’s Club.

Sabrina:
[1:34] Surprisingly no not right out of the Cradle.
I’ve been here for the last four and a half years and Jamie rule mark my five year so I’ll get the coveted 5-year badge but kind of backing up all the way to, my background I was born and raised on a small farm in Kansas.

Jason:
[1:53] And in Kansas a small farm is like 100 acres right.

Sabrina:
[1:57] Yeah exactly so I grew up on the farm grew out in the field by somebody dad does all of the crops and my uncle has the dairy so I was out on the tractors driving the semis trying to not get myself.
Killed you know all of the fun things that come along with Farm life and left went to University of Kansas.
Chuck that’s exactly right that’s Rock Chalk.
And then graduated in journalism and then made my way down to Dallas so as much as I love Kansas and small-town farm and and everything I wanted to kind of experience, bigger city and been in Dallas ever since and we love it there so worked at a start-up in the beginning my entire career has been in digital and marketing and brand and social media and everything that goes kind of along with that storytelling and driving digital performance so I was a star but at startup and then I went over to Hilton corporate and was there for about seven years loved it there I think I.

Jason:
[3:00] Are you okay this event is a tan on Hilton property.

Sabrina:
[3:03] I know listen you’re not supposed to say it don’t say it.

Jason:
[3:07] To our loyal Hilton listeners were sorry.

Sabrina:
[3:10] But what if he found out I was staying at the Hilton and walking all the way over.
True loyalty rate my shoes weren’t word up for it today but no I was at Hilton for about seven years I loved it there and really grew up there and they took a they took a lot of.

[3:28] You know bets on me and allowed me to thrive I was there in the e-commerce space really when they launched the pilot of e-commerce, and and got to work with some of the biggest hotels, in the world with them and a lot of great opportunity got to start managing people you know they kept growing me and investing in Me And It ultimately LED I was in the e-commerce space for the majority of the time and then It ultimately LED to driving and leading the social media strategy and Innovation for Hilton so it was across all 15 Brands and at the time.
There was a lot of opportunity to kind of pull it together and say what’s the role of social media, for a for a big company right not just hey we’re going to go post but how do we think about the tech stack how do we think about the member feedback to drive business impact how do we think about, content and how do you think about influencers in the role of influencers in the partnership and understanding the rules of the Ft c– all of the fun things that come along with that and then how do you make sure that, the Brand’s all understand the value of it and lean in the right way so I got to present Hilton’s first Evers social center of excellence and then that led to, a lot of opportunity that opened me up in the social space and I was on maternity leave with my third baby, when Walmart came knocking.

Jason:
[4:50] Wow congratulations on that by the way.

Sabrina:
[4:52] Yeah three babies is a lot especially we’re in August right now and school starting so it’s slightly chaotic around my house but still good so.
No so then Walmart and Sam’s Club came knocking and I didn’t think I would leave Helton but I really had some fantastic conversations during my interview day and a lot one of the last ones with was with mr. Tony Rogers and have you met him before he’s.
Yes so you know you know.

Jason:
[5:26] Put my life in his hands on an airplane before.

Sabrina:
[5:29] Oh yes good luck yeah.
That’s good you’re here to talk about it so that’s good no and so we.
We hit it off and they offered me the job and and four and a half years later it was a big giant move in a bet for me but it was obviously well worth.

Jason:
[5:49] Very cool and you’ve actually had some really interesting responsibilities at Sam’s waiting up to your your turn responsibilities briefly talk about some of the projects you’ve been in.

Sabrina:
[6:00] Absolutely so his pitch if he will at the time was come build a 60 billion dollar brand with me.
Now how can you say no to that so that was a fantastic first start and so coming in really we built the brand together I learned I think about 10 years worth of information from him about Brandon, three short years but we developed the brand so the look and feel the tone of voice the target audience we revamped all of the marketing channels including you know site email everything digitally and then really launched social media right so Facebook Instagram Pinterest, YouTube you name it all the things that have to do with social media including the influencer strategy again and and moderation and care so.
We did some really fun things I think it was a bit of a whirlwind so our first brand campaigns got to do you know the Super Bowl with Kevin Hart all of the the fun things that come along with leading you know a pretty awesome brand.

Jason:
[7:09] That is very cool and for listeners that might not be familiar Tony was the former CMO at Walmart and Sam’s and the next time he calls you I have a feeling free jewelry is going to be part of the offer because he.

Sabrina:
[7:21] Yeah I should make a list of things that I want.

Jason:
[7:26] It should be a long list but be my suggestion that he’s at signature Georgia.
Shout out to tell me I know he listens every week very willingly and so in the current role you are responsible for All Digital at Sam’s Club and is that a thing is digital a fad at Sam’s Club or.

Sabrina:
[7:44] We just a Fab yeah who probably probably gone.
Yeah no big deal yeah is super super fat yeah so I along with two of my peers we lead the e-commerce business and so I’m basically the upper funnel piece, so working really closely on the traffic strategy so what types of traffic re driving in and then how are we actually moving that traffic down the funnel so you can think about that of all of the Cross category, you know Stories the homepage anything that really allows us to show the breadth of what Sam’s club offers so not just the categories and Merchandising but also the membership the Sam’s cash that we offer the Travel and entertainment all of the things that come along with an actual full membership not just retail only.

Jason:
[8:32] Yeah and there’s all kinds of interesting Dynamics to me it seems about marketing em in a membership environment versus a.
Traditional, wide open and retail business so I assume you’re trying to get people in the funnel for membership and at the same time you’re trying to get members in the funnel for individual transactions.

Sabrina:
[8:54] Absolutely right the bigger the base the more sales you can expect so it’s a balancing act right in terms of we need them to be purchasing things but ultimately we need more members and we need them to renew right so at the end of the year would it becomes renewal time we want them to see have seen the value throughout the year that they say oh this is a no-brainer when we’re on the brand side or I was on the brand side a lot of it was we’re trying to build brand Advocates because there’s nothing more powerful than someone saying you’ve got to join Sam’s Club I joined and I love it, so that was the the sole purpose of we’re building Advocates we’re building brand passion we’re getting them excited and every piece that we’re pushing you should be pushing our value prop of the overall membership.

Jason:
[9:35] Awesome so before we dive any deeper in that I need to know what your favorite Members Mark product is.

Sabrina:
[9:39] Oh okay it’s really hard to just pick one so I think I’m actually gonna pick two.
One of them because one of them is very seasonally relevant and one of them something we do all year long so the seasonally relevant one I’m going to say.
There’s so many things I would say probably the members Mark beach towels and or pool towels I’ve had some of the same ones.
For since I started working there they are thick their giant and big and they have a fantastic value to Market and we just keep I keep adding every year this year they didn’t kid towels to with awesome designs on them so I’m a big fan of mild that’s you know anything about you’re advocating for something I advocate for a lot of things there and not because I work there but because I genuinely like them and then the other one that I love that I try to get everyone to do is we have these Members Mark southern style chicken bites.
And you just pop them in the airfryer and sad sad to say is good and bad it’s sad to say I give my kids then like once a week but they’re addicting some always like well they’re just for the kids and then I end up eating them all for dinner to they’re just really good.

Jason:
[10:43] I’m well familiar with all those phenomenons and I’m going through an airfryer phase right.

Sabrina:
[10:48] Few are so easy.

Jason:
[10:49] I’m I gotcha yeah it seems and I thought you were going to go with salty snacks I mean that’s the easy answer and then you curveball Benny with the beach towels which as a parent I have learned you need way more beach towel.

Sabrina:
[11:03] It’s important we’ve got a pool and we always have kids coming over and using all the beach towels so it feels like it becomes a full-time job and then you can’t find them all and I don’t want to go spend a ton of money to replace them, and so we either have them on hand or they’re not that expensive to go by Exo.

Jason:
[11:19] Now I don’t know if you checked with the home this week but your pool has probably evaporated it is hot in Dallas.

Sabrina:
[11:23] Oh my gosh it is hot I think it was like 109 on Sunday.

Jason:
[11:28] Yeah good call to come to Boston.

Sabrina:
[11:29] Yeah yeah I walked around this morning it was so nice you Dallas is brutal yeah I did you ever see the thing that went viral with the guy who he was pointing out the temperatures and then he showed McKenney and it was like a hundred thousand degrees he’s like everyone in McKinney’s dead.
That’s how it really feels.

Jason:
[11:46] It does and pro tip is someone that does a lot of business travel we probably don’t want to mention to our family that it’s more comfortable here than it is at home.

Sabrina:
[11:55] I already texted them like sorry.

Jason:
[11:58] Just saying be careful so I have a new and it’s so Members Mark is a of course the famous owned brand for Sam’s Club.
And I won’t put you on the spot with any proprietary information but it’s a on its own a very large brand I think Walmart in the past has disclosed that it’s over a 10 billion dollar a year brand so so remarkable the Walmart, there’s a number of own Brands but of course the one most associated with Walmart in my mind is great value, and so I’m now in a murdered with a new Great Value product that’s only available in Canada.

Sabrina:
[12:32] And it’ll only available in Canada what is it.

Jason:
[12:34] And I just imported two cases of them to my home in Chicago Great Value ketchup flavored potato chips.

Sabrina:
[12:43] Oh my gosh things are off we got two cases.

Jason:
[12:48] Do not recommend you you try them but here’s the thing there was you guys just had your earnings call congratulations it was a very very successful quarter.
And Doug mcmillon to see ya.
I don’t know if he did it on purpose or on accident but in the investor car he talked about a trip to Canada where they made him try catch, potato chips and he kind of said it’s the only Walmart owned brand products that he doesn’t want so now my thing is I show up at every meeting.
With a bag of these potato chips.

Sabrina:
[13:22] I don’t see him in here.

Jason:
[13:24] I did not I didn’t think about bringing him to Boston and you have to like it’s a pain too.

Sabrina:
[13:28] Okay packing with potato chips in an airplane.

Jason:
[13:32] Chick early well.

Sabrina:
[13:33] Get interesting yeah well now I’m intrigued yeah so I’m gonna have to drive it.

Jason:
[13:37] Procure some.

Sabrina:
[13:37] Yeah I can’t wait to try them yeah.

Jason:
[13:40] Come away if Doug comes for a visit just saying.

Sabrina:
[13:42] Yeah perfect you don’t as much as I’d like to be picking my kids will probably even like two.

Jason:
[13:46] Oh my God my son my son would definitely the more like something’s unappealing to my palate the more likely.

Sabrina:
[13:53] I’m a to be fair I’ve seen my kids dip potato chips in ketchup.

Jason:
[13:56] Yeah of course.

Sabrina:
[13:57] So it seems to actually make a little bit of sense yeah.

Jason:
[14:01] Um so zooming into Sam’s a little bit like obviously in this last decade one of the huge changes is this whole mobile, um and I imagine it’s fundamentally changed how people shop, the you know you hear a lot of stats about even how much people are using mobile in the store in the club so like I’m somewhat curious I don’t think please don’t be offended, don’t think of Club as the earliest adopter of digital not saying specifically but all club like.
Hilton was impacted by digital before Club was right and Circuit City was probably impacted by a digital a little before.

Sabrina:
[14:44] Sir.

Jason:
[14:45] Of our club was so that being said like, is like how has the Advent of mobile changed how you think about marketing and customer experience at Sam’s today.

Sabrina:
[14:55] I mean it’s extremely important so you’re absolutely right at Sam’s Club when we look at that the performance and understand where people are headed that’s where we focus our time and energy Ray where do they want to be where they going how do we get ahead of it and provide a good experience which requires us to know where they’re spending their time and we’ve seen a pretty significant shift.
Into Mobile and app experience specifically and so what we’ve what we’ve done is try to get a better understanding of what’s the data and the behavior that they’re taking within the app so let’s just focus on specifically app right because there’s desktop there’s mobile web and then there’s a and if you think about it there’s trial barriers to downloading an app on your phone right you don’t just immediately say yes I’m going to put the app on my phone so there has to be a reason and a journey to move them from mobile web into actually you know committing and putting the app on their phone.

[15:51] So I think there’s different ways to say well what’s a trigger to get them to download but we know one of those giant triggers is this can I go I so everyone loves scan ago if you’ve done it you know and and you have to download the app and actually.
You know use it in the club to be able to make the purchase through scan and go what’s interesting that you might not know is if you hope if you’ve got scan and go and overall digital and you’re looking at it the numbers are pretty strong if you take out scan ago and you just look at online digital penetration only about a third of our members or shopping online so so to me I’m like well hang on a minute they have the app on their phone so we broke through a massive barrier already of loyalty they’re purchasing with us but they don’t see the value of shopping online.

[16:41] Unless they are shopping on the app in the club so the opportunity becomes massive I got two thirds of our own member base for good acquisition and new members coming in if I just even start with our member base how can I give them a reason to see the value of pulling up the phone and building a relationship through digital when they’re not in our clubs and I think that’s what we’ve been trying to focus on and get to so really then it becomes the traffic drivers.

[17:07] Right so how are they coming and how do we get them to ultimately make that decision to move from Google to the app or to mobile web to add to cart and ultimately ultimately make that conversion and we’re really taking a lot of time and focus around the data so for instance they come in on the homepage did they come in on a category shelf page that has a bunch of items did they come in on a specific product page did they come in because they wanted to check their Sam’s cash total what drove them in how much time are they spending did they bounce or did they stay did they look at things what was their scroll rate did they spend a lot of time we really focus on what it is they’re doing what types of things are finding worth adding to their carts and then we start figuring out okay how can we drive bigger baskets your category penetration or introduce new member benefits like we were talking about earlier rate so if I’ve seen that you know Jason’s come in and he comes every five weeks and he buys the same 15 things to stock up as house well how do I show him the amount of Sam’s cash he’s earned.

[18:15] In between that five to six weeks to get in to come in and then give them things to potentially you know get them excited to purchase through digital using that hands cash or whatever it is that that you can create those triggers using the data so ultimately focus on on driving more app frequency and.

[18:33] Also say as we continue to see the shift to mobile and to app I think members are at the center of everything we do so remember obsessed and as we see what’s working and not working with what’s working we can lean in, great okay they love it keep doing it if it’s not working we know about it so every week we start off the week of one of the members saying what do they not like about us last week right so we look at not only the MPS but we look specifically at the word for word feedback so through member surveys the customer call center the social media I mean we’re all pulling it up looking at the Facebook groups and looking at the comments and saying hey we could have done better here and so as you think about that and you put that lens of app and digital this is working this is not working how do we think about our roadmap and our prioritization to provide a better experience to remove, the things that are giving them reasons to not want to shop online with us and pick the big ones and and start to move the needle which ultimately is part of the reason we saw an 18% complex you too.

Jason:
[19:37] That’s amazing and I do I want to double click on the data but before I do I just want to stay in the app thing for one more SEC because I couldn’t agree more, people way underestimate the difficulty of getting customers just to download the stupid app.
And in many cases I have a lot of clients that like don’t have quite the, Market awareness of Sam’s and they’ll ask about building an app in before I let any of my clients build an app I take them to an Apple store and we sit down and Apple Store and.
Talking thing you’ll notice about half the people in an Apple Store are men and women that are my age or older and they’re in line at the Genius Bar because they do not know their iTunes password.
And guess what you can’t do if you don’t know your iTunes password and download an app.
And so there is just this this huge barrier and the.
For normal retailers the mortality of apps is huge two people download it only use it once like the abandonment rates are super depressing so for a lot of people like you go like.
Explicitly focusing on app downloads is often a mistake.
Um I don’t actually see Sam’s heavily promoting the act of downloading the app what I see you guys promoting are the.
Benefits and the problems that are solved with the app is that I’m assuming that’s an intentional decision.

Sabrina:
[21:00] 100% right because I think if you go into the club which I think is again, the true power and value of a true end-to-end Omni retailer right and and that’s our challenge always is when you go into the club you feel the club, right the the first experience coming in like you’re like this is awesome and where do I start right and it’s a full brand experience and you feel the I feel you see you touch you experience the items.
And digital you don’t necessarily have the ability to do that so the challenge becomes how do you bring your brand to life, through digital and you have to know those touch points and I would say.
You’re exactly right is is it’s really hard to do say go download our app it’s another thing to say hey do you want to get out the door quicker.

Jason:
[21:47] Get this line.

Sabrina:
[21:48] And I would tell you I would say 10 out of 10 people are like yeah they’re not going to say no I’d like to stay in touch in line the waste my time no they want out and it’s actually really yeah.

Jason:
[21:57] Desert home with the with their their their significant other.

Sabrina:
[22:01] That’s very true like listen okay we’ll say nine out of ten, 10th person’s a sad sad person but either way the the opportunity becomes okay we’ll give them a reason valuable enough for their time and attention that it’s worth downloading that app on their phone I think what’s been interesting to is navigating the conversations rate because when you see the value of app and you see the growth and app me like yes app app and everything is focused on app you tend to forget the actual member journey to get to the app right so they may have started on desktop, when you know they were sitting at work and me and they were trying to figure out where to start for dinner that night that desktop Behavior may have said okay actually I was looking at something at work today and now I’m pull it up on my phone and they went through mobile web and then ultimately they shop with us a couple times and now all of a sudden oh I didn’t realize they had an app that app would be easier right so there’s a journey and you can’t forget everyone else that that is experiencing it before they made the decision to put that app on their phone and so you it’s hard to prioritize and forget about about everyone else you have to understand there’s a journey in between.

Jason:
[23:08] No I couldn’t agree more in before I go on I do want to just one shout out to scan and go because it’s amongst my favorite digital experiences because unfortunate truth of many digital experiences is, they’re awesome and members our customers love them but they often are problematic for us as retailers IE often, it’s taking something that the customer used to do and shifting it to something we have to do right so you think about online grocery, the customer used to get the bananas now we’re getting the bananas right if those are home delivery the customer used to drive those home now we’re driving those home scan and go is one of those rare things where it both increases customer satisfaction or NPS score, and the member is doing something that we used to have to do for them so I feel like that just amazing, on the data side like obviously one reason a lot of people like to get people in the digital echo system and using the app is because you do get all that wonderful data that, describe activating that’s one of the areas where I feel like clubs have an unfair advantage because of the membership structure right like most of my retail clients they talked about this capture rate and what they mean is what percentage of my customers do I have any idea what they bought.

[24:25] Right right because a lot of people buy with cash or they shop anonymously or, they pre-shop digital and then they you know paid on a different credit card and there’s this whole, you know family amalgamation all these complications which is why if you walk out of this room right now there’s 47 CD P vendors all trying to help retailers, solve this data Quagmire and I’m not saying it’s not still hard at membership-based retailers but you do kind of have an unfair built-in Advantage like you pretty much know.
What and how much each members fans and on what.

Sabrina:
[25:00] And I know they’re out there I might just stay in this room and close the door.
No but there’s a reason why they’re booming right because it’s a it’s a lot of work to figure out I would say yes coming into the membership space I was, very excited and shocked by how much data we really truly had every time you know member makes a purchase we see it so it allows you to kind of.
Really understand what it is that’s driving their trips how often they’re coming where they’re shopping what are they buying you can also start to understand their typical journey and behavior, so I’ll give you two examples of the way we’re kind of leveraging data I know I already talked about app but let me kind of put it into real life for a second.

[25:46] One of those is and I’m talking specifically to like end-to-end experience so one of those I’ll start with on, specific promotion or sales or event right what gets exciting is you can put this money into Market you can understand where they’re coming in so first of all to drive the traffic and you’re looking at a year-over-year confer a marketing campaign okay great so the traffic was there and hit the pages you needed it to hit well now you can say okay what they do next right and you can start to say all right did they move from that page to the next page and so you can see the analytics team has done fantastic jobs not only of having the data but making the data.

[26:30] Readable digestible and actionable is a completely separate, right so there’s a lot of work that happens behind the scenes of late great I’m looking at a table of a massive amount of data but what am I supposed to do with this to make a business decision and what they can do is they can take that and they can build it out for me across the funnel so they’ll say okay traffic was up well and then it moved to the next page to it so it actually moved from let’s say the home page or landing page we built to the Shelf page with all of the categories and then it moved from that category page to the product page and you can see all the product pages that were tagged with in that event in that campaign, then you can and it has your year-over-year growth of each so you can see the continued strength in growth throughout the funnel and then it moved to check out and ultimately her to cart and ultimately to check out and so you can see okay but you can also see when it’s off right what happened okay so something’s off you can say oh well that’s because X percent of our items ran out of inventory in the first two hours because maybe we didn’t estimate, demand properly right and so now all of a sudden okay we’ll stop marketing that so go back up to your upper funnel and stop talking about those because you’re making some angry members because they’re falling off here and not because there’s not strength in the funnel, it’s because it’s not actually available when they tried to go add it to their car so we got them all the way to the PDP and then something breaks.
Right so it makes it makes it really easy to be able to do that in a way that allows us to actually pinpoint the issue.

Jason:
[27:57] Side note that used to be way harder to do in the store circular let’s hard to erase the printing when you run out of.

Sabrina:
[28:04] Yeah it’s not it’s not exactly it’s not exactly possible okay so and then other than the the funnel I think the other thing is understanding kind of their behavior on the pages, so if you think about let’s just take the types of traffic coming in where they going and is it working raise so if they’re coming in through paid marketing or if they’re coming in through CRM or they’re coming in through SEO where are they going and is it actually doing its job, right and then once it lands how to use the data up to optimize the right message you’re putting in front of them at the right time so, not only just on personalization right so let’s take our home page you have, frequently ordered items you have no inspired by a recent views things like that but you also think about well where is it they’re clicking on that page the most and how do you take that that, that knowledge and that data and say okay here are the things we need to be putting in front of them based on that traffic driver that came in so we can connect the message, and make sure that we’re taking advantage of that quality traffic so that we can actually move them down that funnel.

Jason:
[29:08] Yeah that’s amazing and hearing those two examples it makes me think and hope that we both have kids in school hopefully they become data analysts because.
Seems like there’s an ever-increasing problem with processing all this data I heard a rumor that Walmart has like seven petrol bytes of data and I don’t actually know what a petrol B is, but my seven-year-old tells me it’s a big number.

Sabrina:
[29:33] I don’t know what that is either but I’m not doubting it.
And you’re absolutely right like I think it becomes a if you have so much data right at your hands how do you make sense of it how do you organize it and again make it actionable because otherwise it’s just a bunch of days that you’re just sitting on and you’re not actually doing anything with it to improve the experience, Sokka.

Jason:
[29:53] Compounding that data problem even longer we have the whole omni-channel, right and you know we used to talk about what percentage of our sales were digital and you know try to get that digital percentage up but increasingly, every customer using digital tools somewhere on the path to purchase and very often they’re using physical stuff so how do you guys think about that at Sam’s eye.
That seems like it makes that whole analytics problem even more.

Sabrina:
[30:18] Of those it does but it’s good right like you don’t want them necessarily only shopping in the cupboard only shopping online you want them to think about it and we try to put ourselves, through this Member First mindset.
Approach right so what is it that’s driving that that needs data that purchase intent so are they just looking for inspiration right they’re building their patio where there’s getting ready for tailgating so they need a full solution or you know is it they just needed their paper towels or their bananas or their bottled water and on top of that you think about what what’s the most convenient way for them to shop at the moment maybe they’re on their way home from work and Sam’s Club is right there five minutes from their house will they can.

[31:00] Hop in because they know that they had a list of they can’t remember what was on their list and they’re already here so they’re just going to do it maybe while they’re in there they don’t want to deal with the line so we give them another convenient option of scan ago okay well maybe they head home and then all of a sudden that night after Sam’s Club is closed they realize they forgot all of the Lunchables for school tomorrow, bummer yeah been there multiple times and also big bummer or you’re out of milk and you know your kids are going to cry because they have cereal every morning and now you’ve got an issue or whatever it is and I think based on whatever situation there and we want to make it convenient for them to be able to choose Sam’s Club so you’ve given them the two options in the club will now you’ve got multiple options from an online purchase perspective you’ve got curbside so I’m going to put in my curbside order and I’m going to be able to go get it in the morning when it’s ready and it’ll be ready just in time or you’re going to go you know put in a same-day delivery the next morning and you know you’re going to get it really quickly or you can order on you no shipping and get it there in 23 days and you can wait a little bit because you can get free shipping as a plus member so you kind of see the opportunities for us to build around you you remember us have told us was most important to you and what you need so you know what the quality you want a great value you want it conveniently we know that about you so how do we think about all of the different scenarios you might be in and make it as easy as possible for you to choose Sam’s.

Jason:
[32:26] Yeah and I’m assuming those successes and near-misses come up a lot and all that qualitative data on your.

Sabrina:
[32:34] They tell us yes they tell us they’re like you know know but also a lot of times yes it worked.

Jason:
[32:39] Yeah I worked with a retard once they said there’s two outcomes successes and learnings.

Sabrina:
[32:43] That’s exactly right that’s exactly right.

Jason:
[32:46] If that were true I would be a lot smarter than I am so.

Sabrina:
[32:48] So yeah it’s a it’s interesting because you see you know from one member of might have been a great experience and the same exact experience didn’t work for the next member and it’s because it’s like well how do we put how do we let them know of all the options that they actually have to shop with us and let them choose the right Journey for them so a lot of it also is an opportunity around awareness right so do they know we have a curbside we just launched delivery not that long ago right so do they even know we have same day delivery I think you then get to the point of in the funnel again is this a conversion issue or is it just an adoption issue or is this an actual awareness issue, right so being able to kind of pinpoint where those opportunities are and the funnel I think is just just as equally important.

Jason:
[33:31] You know at the beginning of the show you mentioned that earlier in your exams career one of the projects you worked on was the actual Sam’s brand which a would be terrifying to me because it’s I mean.
Is always Gary but then when the blank brand quite literally is the name of an American icon is kind of more.

Sabrina:
[33:51] Little bit little intimidating.

Jason:
[33:53] You don’t want to screw that one up but when I think of, the sort of original Sam’s brand right it was a lot about the store experience right and we’ve just spent 45 minutes talking about, all the cool new paths to Sam’s and a lot of them are digital like do you guys have to think about.
What the Sam’s Club brand even means to members today in a different way than maybe you you were able to five years ago or ten years ago.

Sabrina:
[34:23] A hundred percent and I think you know we have continued to evolve with the members to to be able to say hey these are the most important things for them so let’s continue to evolve the brand I would say yeah like starting out in the beginning it was really clear and again we used the member feedback to say like if we look at our brand passion index well here are the things that they’re talking about and it’s not driving a ton of volume and they don’t really like it or they’re rather neutral okay well when they are talking what are they talking about right both negative and positive and when you’ve got the – address it and when you’ve got the positive lean in right and the way you can lean in is on digital, so they not only from all of the marketing channels whether we know we talked about earlier marketing the social media all of those things but it’s also on digital in the experience so if you know they like something how do you make it easy for them and bring the brand to life and tell the story so it’s not just about again items are merchandising but it’s the full membership experience and the ability to say hey like welcome to the club, right I think when we we’ve identified some of those opportunities when we think about their full Journey so the first year is extremely important to us they become a member.

[35:31] If they didn’t join in the club how do you make them feel like they’re part of the club if they didn’t come to a membership desk and say Hey I want to be part of this you might have gotten them through something a non-digital, well we also know that that first 90 days is extremely important and how do you get in front of them and say okay this is awesome welcome to the club and you should be shopping with us digital did you know our Omni proposition did you know the value and convenience that we provide and the team looks at those ways I think one of the things we did was build.

[36:03] A digital membership booklet that’s like okay we don’t really talk about anywhere all of the things that the membership has to offer any more digitally we usually relied on the Associates at the membership desk to do that for us as they’re like hey now welcome to the club here’s everything you have well when you join digitally you’re kind of Flying Blind right so okay I’m here now what do I do right what do I even get and if they don’t want to spend a ton of time looking around and or it’s not easy for them to find it then how do you introduce the journey that says welcome, look at all this stuff that you now have access to as a member of our club and and really kind of bring that brand to life and feel it even if you can’t have your foot in the club so there’s opportunities like that where we look for for bringing it to life and I think there’s probably many more to go but we use the data and the members to say hey this feels like a gap let’s figure out how to address it.

Jason:
[36:55] I’m in is that the big filter because I.
Follow-up question is going to be what are the things that we could expect to see evolve over the next five years and you know we’re at a trade show where there’s a bunch of vendors that each have a interesting widget that.
They want to sell and you every one of them you could imagine use case where that would be really cool and I imagine for someone in your shoes one of the challenges is which of these three hundred things is actually.
Going to add the most value to to our members lives right and.

Sabrina:
[37:27] You’re a hundred percent right and which way is the right path and I would say when I talk about Sam’s something that I love is that it feels like we run, like an 84 billion dollar startup, and it truly feels that way and one of the reasons it feels that way is because of how quickly we test and learn and you know we work really closely with product and Tech and Engineering with a problem what’s the problem we’re trying to solve for the number that’s what everything starts with right so again back to the member Obsession hey they’re saying this is an issue and I think if we could solve it for them it could be really impactful so we give that problem to the product Tech and Engineering teams and they come back with like I think this could be it let’s go test, we don’t know it might crash and burn but we think this could be a potential path and they do a lot of customer surveys research to say, feels like it’s down the right path and could solve for this problem and then they go out and they if it does well great let’s try to scale a little bit more maybe move it across some of the platforms and see if it works across desktop mobile web and app maybe IOS and Android different behaviors right and then once they say oh okay no this is actually going to work and they’re telling us they really like it we run, and I think that’s the way we’ve done we’ve always done it is what the members tell us their problems in their pain points it’s our job to go solve them for them and then run as quickly as possible and let them tell us whether we figured it out or not.

Jason:
[38:49] That sounds like a totally sound approach and I know I can’t put my thumb on the scale but I hope one of those problems ends up being that I never have to run out of Lunchables again.

Sabrina:
[38:59] Yeah me too that could be really nice.

Jason:
[39:02] Significant quality of life.

Sabrina:
[39:04] My kids would appreciate it.

Jason:
[39:05] Exactly and sadly Sabrina that is going to be a great place to end it because it’s happened again we’ve used up all our allotted time there are 45 CDP vendors waiting outside this podcasting studio and I’ve promised them all the time.

Sabrina:
[39:15] So excited yeah I’ll thank you I appreciate it yeah nice of you.

Jason:
[39:21] But it’s been a real Joy chatting with you and we appreciate you sharing a peek inside the covers with all our listeners I hope you’ll come back.

Sabrina:
[39:29] Thank you guys for having me this has been awesome and I’ve Loved listening to your podcast you guys are extremely entertaining and I’m excited and honored that you guys had me here today.

Jason:
[39:38] Scot and I both agree that one of us is funny we just don’t agree on.

Sabrina:
[39:41] It’s clearly you because I’m replacing him so it’s obvious who it is but we won’t tell him he’ll have to just hear it let he’ll have to listen to the his own podcast so he decided not to come to ya.

Jason:
[39:51] Yeah he definitely does not listen to the show he’s like the one person in e-commerce that doesn’t listen.

Sabrina:
[39:54] Perfect yeah oh great.

Jason:
[39:58] It’s been great thanks again and until next time happy commercing!