Warehouse clubs are retail businesses whose customers are members. Club members pay an annual fee in exchange for paying low retail prices for a wide selection of products. BJ's Wholesale Club, Cost Plus World Markets and Sam's Clubs are among the most popular. Known for their extensive inventories, competitive pricing and customer service, they also have a strong Internet presence.
Covered in this report:
BJ's Wholesale Club—Best Features
- BJ's Wholesale Club lets you check things out before putting money out for a membership. Take advantage of a one-day shopping pass or a 30-day free trial membership to see if it's right for you.
- BJ's members can enjoy travel savings on cruises, air fares and car rentals.
Best for: Individuals, families, businesses and community organizations including youth groups, schools and non-profits.
Cost Plus World Market—Best Features
- Cost Plus World Market is unique, authentic and affordable.
- Cost Plus World Market showcases American and international products.
Best for: Anyone who's looking for something that is "out of this world."
Sam's Club—Best Features
- Sam's Club members receive exclusive offers via e-mail each month that are electronically loaded to their membership card for automatic redemption at checkout.
- Sam's Club members can take advantage of the company's small business loan program.
Best for: Businesses, families and individuals.
BJ's Warehouse Club
BJ's Warehouse Club is one of the leading membership warehouse clubs operating more than 190 clubs in 15 states from Maine to Florida. All businesses as well as anyone over 18 are welcome—and encouraged—to join.
BJ's Wholesale Cluboffers the following features:
- BJ's Warehouse customers save over 30% off supermarket prices.
- BJ's accepts all manufacturers' coupons plus it has its own coupons.
- BJ's Warehouse offers its customers convenient one-stop shopping.
- Over 150 clubs feature BJ's Optical® and over 100 clubs feature BJ's Gas®.
- BJ's offers its customers Beyond-the-Club savings on vacations, new and rental cars, home improvement and more.
- Thousands more products can be found at BJs.com.
- Customers can find a huge assortment of product categories for their home or business.
- BJ’s Fuel Your FundraiserProgram is a free, all-inclusive fundraiser created exclusively for community organizations.
- BJ's Warehouse has its own mail-in Rebate Center.
- Join BJ's Book Club for the latest bestsellers at prices 43% lower than the competition. You'll also find useful summaries, thought-provoking discussion questions and exclusive author interviews.
BJ's customers can choose from three membership options.
- BJ's Inner Circle® is recommended for individuals and businesses. Members enjoy wholesale club prices while saving big on leading name brands from groceries to health and beauty to home goods, vacations, home improvements and more. It's risk-free with BJ’s 100% money-back guarantee. The Household Card is free and BJ’s Members receive a second card for a member of their household member at no extra charge. Cost: $50. Add up to three Supplemental Memberships for $25 each.
- BJ's Business is the membership of choice for businesses of all sizeswho want to save time and money. You'll also discover thousands of leading name brands for work or home to help lower costs without compromising on quality. You can save on travel, car rentals, payment processing and more, too. BJ’s Business Members receive a second card for a household member or coworker at no extra charge. Cost: $50. Add up to eight Supplemental Memberships for $25 each.
- BJ's Rewards® lets you earn 2% back on all your purchases on most in-Club and BJs.com purchases to spend at BJ’s. Cost: Joining as a new Rewards Member is $100*; upgrading is $50 a year and could be less, depending on when your current Membership expires. For example, with three months until expiration, upgrading is just $15; with six months, just $25; and with nine months, just $40, making it easier for your Rewards Membership to pay for itself. Plus, Rewards Members receive added savings in their mailbox: Every month the Member Savings Book arrives with up to 100 coupons.
Here's what customers are saying about BJ's Warehouse.
"Value for money for a big family…sign up for their membership for exclusive offers and coupons."
"Ordered a Samsung 32" TV on Black Friday just after midnight. A number of stores were selling a 32" Samsung for $400. The model at BJ's was two models better for the same price. It was worth the $17 shipping cost not to wait on line at the store. Delivery was very prompt. Set works great."
""Shipping in 4 to 6 weeks" is deceptive. At the least it should be glossed: "delivery may take four weeks (or whatever) more.""Beware their on-line service. I ordered a new 3-speed fan and received a unit that had been sold previously and returned to them as defective."
"Their return policies are very bad and I will never buy anything from them on-line again."
Read more BJ's reviews at ResellerRatings.com.
Cost Plus World Market opened its first store in San Francisco's famed Fisherman's Wharf. The store rapidly attracted customers who were searching for original and handmade items from around the globe. Everything retailed for cost plus ten percent that's why the name Cost Plus World Market.
Cost Plus World Market offers the following features:
- Cost Plus customers can find out what the top trending products are with a click of their mouse.
- Customers can shop by their favorite categories, such as Bastille Day, Outdoors, Party Essentials, Summer Accessories and the Seascape Collection.
- The Global Food Truck Recipes section lets you click on the food truck icon of your choice and discover a worldly street food recipe you can make at home. China, France, India, Japan, Africa, Peru, the United States, Hawaii and Thailand are among the featured countries.
- Customers can enjoy the British Invasion and stock up on affordable U.K. favorites like tea, hobknobs and marmalade.
- Send one of World Market's many gift baskets or create one of your own.
- Find modern or vintage-style furniture for almost every room in the house, including the bedroom, dining and living rooms, office, even your outdoor patio.
- Cost Plus World Market boasts one of the best selections of reasonably priced, unique gifts and accessories for everyone on your list that features globally-inspired jewelry and scarves, wine tools, gourmet foods and spa accessories.
- Wrap your purchases in eye-catching prints and patterns or gift bags.
- Create your own budget-friendly custom gifts.
There is no charge to become a Cost Plus World Market member. Customers can join in the Rewards Program online by visiting worldmarketexplorer.com and completing a member profile or start your enrollment in the store and complete it online. Enter your member ID every time you shop and you'll be notified when you've received your reward.
World Market Rewards include:
- Get 10% off your next in-store or online purchase when you complete your World Market Explorer® program.
- Gourmet Rewards: Spend $100 in gourmet food and non-alcoholic beverages and you'll get a $10 Reward to use on nearly anything in store or online.
- Birthday Surprise: You'll receive an exclusive Cost Plus World Market coupon in your inbox for your birthday.
- Coffee Rewards: Purchase six 12-oz. or larger bags of World Market Coffee in-store or online and you'll receive a FREE 12-oz. bag of coffee.
- Have exclusive perks, coupons, offers and previews delivered right to your inbox.
Here's what customers are saying about Cost Plus World Market.
"If you're a fan of Home Goods type of stores, Cost Plus World Market is THE SPOT to be. I easily spent 2 hours inside the store poring over every single item. It's a wonderful place to purchase your souvenirs if you are visiting from out of town. World Market is also for those who are culturally inclined. I found a few pieces that were from Africa and India. Definitely some other exotic pieces too."
"I love this place and everything they have inside. All the little knick knacks and food are great. Staff is great too."
"Some of the furniture looked like good values, but I was shopping for a birthday gift. Nothing had any real charm. Lots of baskets and containers, but nothing special."
Read more Cost Plus World Market reviews at Yelp.
Founded in 1983 and named after Walmart founder Sam Walton, Sam's Club is an American chain of membership-only retail warehouse clubs owned and operated by Walmart Stores, Inc. The first store was in Midwest City, Oklahoma. As of 2012, the Sam's Club chain serves 47 million members in the United States and Puerto Rico and is the 8th largest U.S. retailer. Here customers can find quality, name brand products at affordable prices
Sam's Clubis known for the following features:
- Sam's Club customers can check out Buying Guides for the products they buy including automotive products and tires, electronics, grocery, home and baby items, jewelry and furniture, sports and fitness equipment and restaurant and food services.
- Early bird shoppers will enjoy Sam's Club's 7 a.m. opening Monday-Saturday.
- Sam's Club stores offer free health screenings for blood pressure, body mass index, PSA for men (Prostate-Specific Antigen), TSH for women (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), vision, Amsler Grid (Macular Degeneration), total cholesterol, glucose, A1C (for known diabetics), dental tabs and take-home DNA swab and self-breast exam kits.
- Sam's Club members can take advantage of complimentary hearing tests plus the latest technology hearing aids and accessories. On average members can save an average of 33 percent over traditional retailers.
- Members can speak to a tech expert 24/7 to get help with their electronics. English and Spanish-speaking agents are available. Sam's Club also offers troubleshooting support, warranty details and assistance, in-home service and accessory replacement ordering.
- Sam's Club members can use their membership card as a credit card. You can earn up to 2% cash back with no annual fee and zero fraud liability.
- Sam's Club members can take advantage of more than $3,700 in instant savings offers.
- Open a Sam's Club Photo Account and put your favorite pictures on decorative pieces, create photo books and convert your VHS tapes or 8mm film to DVD and Blue Ray.
Sam's Club members can select from three plans.
- Sam's Savings gives you access to great values on quality brand items. On average, members can save up to 30 % on their purchases. This option also offers special savings from top suppliers that are higher than the club's members-only prices. Offers are electronically loaded to your membership card for automatic redemption at checkout. Your Instant Savings Book is mailed to your home periodically throughout the year. With this plan you'll receive cash back—up to 1%—on any purchase made with your Sam's Club Discover card; get $40 off the purchase of two pairs of regularly priced Rx eyeglasses (not using vision plan/insurance benefits); take advantage of Click 'n' Pull and order online by 5 p.m. and pickup your merchandise any time the following day; and have access to an expanded online inventory. Cost: $45.
- Sam's Business has all of the benefits of the Sam's Savings plan. In addition, members receive an extra year of coverage with the purchase of a service or warranty plan; save 40% on many generic and 8% on name-brand prescriptions (when not using prescription drug coverage); and receive $40 off a pair of regularly-priced prescription glasses when you buy a one-year supply of contact lenses (not using vision plan/insurance benefits). Cost: $45. Up to eight add-on memberships are available. These members receive all the same benefits including a complimentary household card for the same fee.
- Sam's Plus gives has all of the benefits of the Sam's Savings and Business plans except members receive up to 2% cash back on Sam's Club Discover card purchases. Cost: $100. Up to 16 add-on memberships are available.
Here's what customers are saying about Sam's Club.
"I love the Sam's [Club] in Chesterfield. It is clean and always has what I am looking for. My family loves the roasted chicken and I buy all our fresh meats there. Fruit is always high quality and always good wine prices."
"Sam's Club is the ultimate place to buy electronics. They have great deals and honor returns without any hassle. I just bought my digital camcorder from there. Very happy with it."
"Amazing lack of service. I called about product order that never arrived. Was told I would get call back. Never did. Found out after calling again that there is no record I ever called."
"Sam's Club wants you to think they have the lowest price, however, my experience is that they often do not."
Read more Sam's Club reviews at ResellerRatings.com.
Where the Deals Are
BJ's Warehouse customers can take advantage of BJ’s in-Club coupon savings in addition to using all manufacturers’ coupons. You also can download coupon codes for more instant savings and reductions on products and services.
Cost Plus World Market customers can receive special deals, steals, previews and simply by entering their e-mail address. You also can view the latest weekly store ad online. Don't forget to download coupon codes for free shipping, discounts, bulk order specials and online deals.
Sam's Club members can sign up for e-mail updates to enjoy even greater savings. You also can register for "Auction Alerts" that allow you to bid on brand new products that are still in their original packaging. Sam's Club coupon codes are available for instant savings and a wide range of discounts on products and services.