Besides the fact that you can find almost anything on the site, one of the best parts about shopping on Amazon is that you don't have to leave your house to do it. Just log into your computer or open the app on your phone, and the shopping world is your oyster.
Amazon's rise has been great for consumers, but it has not been particularly kind for brick and mortar stores. Shopping malls have been trying to adapt to the new landscape, and all over the country, we have seen businesses that were once seemingly on every street corner closing up or, if not that, shrinking their overall footprint.
One segment that seems to have been able to survive the online onslaught is big box stores, yet even they cannot afford to sit back and wait for folks to come to them.
For instance, Sam's Club, which has nearly 600 stores in 44 U.S. states as well as stores in a handful of other countries, has updated its offerings to try and entice the online shopping crowd.
Ready to compete with Amazon?
A membership-based store, Sam's Club is popular because you can purchase a good many things in bulk. You walk in, grab a cart or three, and leave with a car full of goodies.
That has worked well for a while now, they are attempting to try and woo more online shoppers by offering a membership plan known as "Sam's Club Plus," which by all accounts is aimed at competing with Amazon, and specifically the Amazon Prime subscription service. The question is, does it?
Let's take a look at Sam's Club Plus
An Amazon membership is free, but the benefits of Prime will cost $99 per year. You are welcome to pay for it a month-to-month basis, in which case it will cost $13 per month. Sam's Club Plus, on the other hand, is $100 for one year. A regular Sam's Club membership costs $45.
The great equalizer when it comes to online shopping, shipping costs are very much an important part of the process. The item itself could be super cheap, but if it costs a ton to get it to you, it may not be worth it. That is not going to be the case with either service.
Both Amazon Prime and Sam's Club Plus offer free shipping, though as previously noted, the latter will not ship everything for free. Perhaps more important, delivery for Sam's Club Plus will come via standard ground shipping, whereas Amazon offers two-day shipping for many things, and same or one-day delivery for some, depending on how much you spend.
Amazon Prime membership also grants you access to Amazon Music as well as Prime Video, along with free shipping from Woot.com and a credit when you buy $50 in Amazon Gift Cards. You can also get a Prime Rewards Visa Card that gives you 5 percent cash back when shopping on Amazon.com or Whole Foods, with 2 percent back on gas, drugstore purchases and restaurants and 1 percent back on everything else.
With Sam's Club Plus, along with a membership to their stores you also get $10 back for every $500 spent on qualifying purchases (up to $500 back per year), early shopping hours, free select prescriptions and $50 off your first pair of glasses. That's all in addition to what the standard membership offers, which grants you instant savings, member prices at the gas pump and a Sam's Club Mastercard.
Is there a winner?
If you are trying to decide between one of the two options, it really comes down to what exactly you are looking for. Amazon still has the edge for people who do most of their business online, with a larger store to shop in, better shipping and other online-only benefits.
Not on Amazon's level, Sam's Club Plus is not bad for online shopping, but where it has the advantage is in the fact that you get a membership to the stores. If you live near one or like the idea of walking into a store, you can look around and leave with something in-hand.
Want to know a secret?
The good news is if you don't have either and are trying to decide, Amazon offers a 30-day trial of Prime while Sam's Club will give you a 100 percent refund on your membership fee if you are not satisfied.
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