FROM 10-POUND PICKLE JARS TO PREMIUM QUALITY
No longer solely the domain of super-sized packs of TP and competitive prices on new sets of tires, Sam’s Club was now home to premium items like Jenn-Air grills, Judith Ripka jewelry, restaurant-quality steaks, seafood and produce. But while the warehouse giant had moved on, consumer perceptions had some catching up to do.
Even before prospecting for new members, job one was ensuring current members were getting the most value out of their annual “cover charge.” Research showed that the most satisfied and loyal members were those who shopped the club’s fresh food section – an area that continued to expand impressively. A surprisingly large percentage, however, still rarely ventured there; the vast square footage and lack of time led to a shopping “route” that circumvented it. In-club detours and catalog features would not be enough to change hard-wired habits and deeply etched perceptions of giant pickle jars. Sam’s would have to earn credibility for quality, and prove to its discerning members that a world-class food purveyor was just an aisle away.
Launch partnered with the Sam’s Club marketing team to strategically reposition the brand as a premium fresh food expert. A fresh facelift led to Taste of Sam’s seasonal sampling events, Simply Delicious Meals monthly publication series and popular microsite, as well as three original hard-bound cookbooks given as premiums to members. A documentary-style video series with behind-the-scenes stories of specially sourced fresh foods like sockeye salmon from Alaska and artisan fromage from France was featured in-club and online.
Like the club, the results were big and beautiful: an 8-to-1 ROI and nearly $100 million in incremental sales.