updated 01:45 pm EDT, Tue August 10, 2010
Sam's Club to bring free Wi-Fi to 500 stores
Walmart's sub-brand Sam's Club today said it will offer shoppers free Wi-Fi in its stores this holiday season. Wi-Fi will be in about 500 stores by November, and the chain primarily hopes this will let shoppers experience the Wi-Fi connection on the Samsung Internet-connected TV sets it carries. Users will be encouraged to access Facebook or stream videos from Vudu.
At the same time, shoppers can use Wi-Fi on their smartphones to look up products, compare prices or read reviews. The Wi-Fi network at Sam's Club stores will be provided by AT&T. Sam's Club also plans to launch a mobile app for the popular platforms that will let shoppers scan products at home and create shopping lists as well as accessing discounts that can be processed at check-out.
Similar Wi-Fi hotspots are available at Apple stores and increasingly Best Buy, along with TigerDirect, and have been credited with boosting sales at those outlets. Apple has most commonly been touted for this decision as it both attracts customers to the store and gives them an opportunity to try computers in actual conditions with Internet access. Many retailers still often have either no access or impose heavy restrictions.