Bentonville, Ark. - Sam's Club is rolling out a new in-store demonstration and sales program for the consumer electronics, wellness, and food and beverages categories.
According to Sam's Club president/CEO Brian Cornell, the chain has tapped Shopper Events, a third-party marketing company, to develop an enhanced "Tastes and Tips" sampling program that will include integrated demo stations, signage, and trained, uniformed staffers who will also sell the products they demo.
"Our demos can be a competitive advantage, and we want to take this member experience to the next level," Cornell told store associates in a notice.
The program replaces about 10,000 in-store sampling personnel, or nearly 10 percent of the chain's workforce.
Sam's Club claimed it's less a cost-cutting move than an effort to improve its product-sampling program. Shopper Events already manages the "Bright Ideas" in-store demos for Walmart, Cornell said, and the terminated employees, most of whom were part-time workers, will be able to reapply for an equal number of new positions with the marketing firm.
Sam's Club is also cutting about 1,200 new business membership reps, the company said, and earlier this month announced plans to close 10 underperforming stores.