News Feature | June 14, 2016

Sam's Club Reveals Plans To Test Delivery Of Office Supplies

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Sam's Club

In the wake of the failed Staples/Office Depot merger, Sam’s looks to leverage niche with delivery.

WalMart Stores Inc. plans to test delivery of office supplies to business customers through its Sam’s Club wholesale unit, The Street reports. Sam’s Club Chief Member Officer Tracey Brown disclosed the delivery plan ahead of the retailer’s shareholders meeting Friday, but divulged no additional details about when or where the pilot would start or whether it would entail a contracts-based approach similar to delivery services offered by office supply retailers Staples and Office Depot. "We will soon be piloting the delivery of office supplies," Tracey Brown, chief member officer of Sam's Club, told TheStreet.

Surveys have found that a significant portion of Sam’s Club members are very small businesses owned by women who often shell out their own personal funds for supplies. It is postulated that entering the office supplies delivery game could help Sam’s Club reinvigorate sales from business members while reinforcing their loyalty by offering convenience. The plan could prove to be quite lucrative, since outgoing Staples CEO Ron Sargent told analysts that "Our strongest momentum was in the mid-market, where sales were up in the mid-single-digits," on a May 18 call. Staples defines a mid-market business customer as one with 10 to 200 employees. Data compiled by The Street also demonstrates that both Staples and Office Depot generated more than $28 billion in sales from their North American office supplies businesses over the past two years.

The failed Staples/Office Depot merger leaves the way open for Sam’s Club to get its foot into the office supply marketplace, competing with Amazon and other rivals who deliver. Sam's Club parent Wal-Mart is also betting on delivery services to drive revenues. Recently, WalMart revealed it is piloting same-day delivery initiatives in partnership with startups Uber, Lyft and Deliv.