BJ’s Wholesale Club has launched contactless curbside pickup service at all of its 219 stores nationwide, beefing up its fulfillment options to serve its over 6 million paid members.
The club retailer said during its recent earnings call that it has acquired and retained approximately 18 months-worth of members in just the past six months, a acquisition pace that would have it gain three years of membership growth in just one transformative year if the pace continues.
“Not only our new members joining at elevated levels, they skew younger and are more digitally engaged,” explained president and CEO Lee Delaney.
BJ’s is adding incremental marketing to support member outreach and is focusing on ensuring members, especially new ones, remain engaged. The retailer will “lean aggressively into membership investments” throughout the balance of 2020.
“We are closely monitoring their behavior and utilizing a targeted, personalized approach to keep them engaged in shopping,” said Delaney.
Comparable club sales, excluding gasoline sales, increased by 24.2% in BJ’s second quarter of 2020, including digitally-enabled sales that skyrocketed more than 300%.
About three quarters of the Q2 growth in digitally-enabled sales was driven by same-day delivery and buy-online-pickup-in-club (BOPIC). As BJ’s picks up digitally-engaged members, the retailer launched contactless curbside pickup in all of its clubs earlier this month, after a brief test, and plans to add fresh items to the service by the end of its third quarter.
“The initial response from members has been encouraging,” said Delaney. “We will move aggressively to add infrastructure in our clubs to handle these rapidly growing offerings knowing that our economics are advantaged versus our competitive set.’
BJ’s operates a limited skew warehouse environment with significantly higher average tickets. BOPIC sales tend to skew towards higher ticket items and same-day delivery sales have the same margins as traditional sales in BJ’s clubs.
To help it scale its digital business, the retailer appointed Monica Schwartz as SVP, chief digital officer, on August 3rd. Schwartz was VP, Online Merchandising at Home Depot where she was responsible for leading the company’s online merchandising and category experience across desktop, mobile web and the app.
“I believe that we have turned the corner from merely reacting to the pandemic, to proactively transforming our business to enable a much brighter future for the company,” said Delaney. “We have a radically different company than we had just six short months ago. In many areas of the company, we are now years ahead of our – of how we thought our transformation would evolve and we are actively looking for ways to increase the pace of progress.”