The company closed 63 stores last month and laid off almost 10,000 workers after what it called a review of profitability.
Sam's Club's move is aimed at spurring an uptick in memberships (currently about 47 million) at a time such fees represent the bulk of its in operating profits.
Hoping to better compete with arch-rival Costco Wholesale (cost) and Amazon.com, Sam's Club said on Wednesday that it's now offering free shipping for many items to its premium members as part of a restructuring to its membership programs.More news: IEA: US could lead non-OPEC oil production in 2018
During January, Sam's Club announced abruptly that it was closing 63 clubs, as its stores are called, which equals nearly 10% of its overall count, transforming some into centers for distribution to better support its e-commerce push. Meanwhile, Amazon offers free two-shipping to Prime members.
Sam's Club executives said in a call with reporters that it was still too early to say how numerous thousands of workers who had been displaced by store closings would find new jobs at the company.
Cars slowly drive by this closed Sam's Club in Sacramento, Calif.More news: Eurozone GDP Logs Strong Growth In Q4
The new terms in the membership contrast with Walmart, its sister chain, which offers a $35 minimum for two-day free shipping without a membership being required.
The retailer, which now relies on Walmart's supply chain network to make online order deliveries, recently said it will open its own first e-commerce fulfillment center in Memphis, Tennessee, and expects to ship its first package in the spring.
The changes are part of a broader strategy that Sam's Club executives said involved closing underperforming stores and focusing on core customers - typically a family making $125,000 a year that lives in the suburbs and may own a small business.More news: Qatar committed to supporting Iraq reconstruction: FM
It is also considering other regions, like Texas, Central Florida, Southern California, the Chicago area, the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, for new e-commerce warehouses.