Sam’s Club Gains Ground in Pet Category

Jacqueline Barba
Associate Editor, Path to Purchase Institute
Jacqueline Barba profile picture

Walmart-owned Sam’s Club has been expanding its pet product assortment, most recently launching The Pioneer Woman dog treat line exclusively at the warehouse club and its parent company.

A collaboration between Nestle-Purina and writer/TV personality Ree Drummond, the new line takes the name from Drummond’s popular “The Pioneer Woman” blog. Rolled out in April, it spans nine flavors in three different categories: crunchy, meaty and chews.

"At Purina we strive to provide best-in-class pet nutrition, and we're excited to explore a new frontier of dog treats with the American-favorite Pioneer Woman brand," said Ryan Gass, senior brand manager of Purina Treats, in a press release announcing the launch. (Walmart also stocks a wider variety of exclusive Pioneer Woman items including kitchenware, textiles and prepared meals.)

At Sam’s Club, Pioneer Woman dog treats are merchandised in the pet aisle on a pallet. On, the products get more of a spotlight with a home page carousel ad and display ads within the site directing shoppers to an e-commerce shop corralling four dog treat SKUs.

Sam’s Club in the past few months also has introduced other pet brands and products to its assortment, including Blue Buffalo Co. pet food, which also rolled out to Walmart for the first time. (See Update below.)

On, Blue Buffalo is elevated with carousel ads, display ads and top-of-page ads, all of which communicate that the brand is “new at Sam’s Club.” The ads also include a “Shop Now” call-to-action linking to a dedicated Blue Buffalo page within the site.

Consumables such as paper goods, baby care and pet supplies were among the strongest categories at Sam’s Club during the last fiscal quarter, which ended April 30. And according to a study conducted by Consumers' – which is published by the Center for the Study of Services, an independent, nonprofit consumer organization – Walmart and membership warehouse clubs, Sam’s Club and channel rival BJ’s Wholesale Club, consistently offer the lowest prices on pet supplies.. Sam’s Club’s prices were 22% lower than the all-store average, while BJ’s were 18% lower, Walmart's were 12% lower and PetSmart's were about 2% lower.

In related news, BJ’s recently revamped its Berkley Jensen pet private label. In stores, signage communicates the brand has a new look and “improved premium holistic nutrition,” while some SKUs tout a “bigger size” and “better value.” In addition, the retailer added new products to its pet food lineup, including a Berkley Jensen “grain free salmon & sweet potato premium holistic nutrition” SKU.

NOTE: For more on Sam's Club, visit Path to Purchase Institute members have access to more than 1,500 images and 200 articles of marketing and merchandising activity at Sam's Club, along with a full Retailer Profile outlining the chain’s operations and strategies.