Sam’s Club Hong Kong direct mail service faces temporary suspension for food and beverage orders

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25th June 2024 – (Hong Kong) Sam’s Club, the highly sought-after warehouse supermarket among Hong Kong residents, has encountered a setback in its Hong Kong direct mail service. Since its launch on the 7th of this month, the service promised same-day ordering and next-day delivery, attracting a significant number of Hong Kong fans who eagerly placed their orders through the app. This surge in demand has led to a decline in business for local Sam’s Club personal shoppers, causing them great distress and concern for their future.

However, after just two weeks of operation, Sam’s Club’s direct mail service in Hong Kong has hit a roadblock. Yesterday, on the 24th, some Hong Kong fans attempting to place orders through the official Sam’s Club app discovered that all food and beverage products were unavailable for purchase, marked as “in-store only.” This unexpected development has sparked discussions and speculations within various Sam’s Club personal shopper groups. Some Hong Kong residents claim to have contacted Sam’s Club customer service, only to be informed that the unavailability is due to insufficient stock. However, many believe that there may be underlying issues related to customs clearance causing this disruption.

Seeking clarity, local media reached out to Sam’s Club customer service today as a Sam’s Club member and inquired about the inability to order dry food products through the mobile app for direct delivery to Hong Kong. The response received indicated that this was due to “current adjustments in customs policies regarding product management” and that the issue is currently being actively addressed.

Sam’s Club’s Hong Kong direct mail service has never included fresh and refrigerated food products for direct delivery, and as such, these items are designated as “in-store only” and cannot be added to the cart. However, dry food products and ambient beverages, which are highly sought after by Hong Kong residents, have traditionally been available for ordering through the service. Nevertheless, our reporter discovered today, on the 24th, that the Sam’s Club mobile app presented an anomaly. All food and beverage items, including popular categories such as “snacks,” “fine wines and beverages,” and “grains and dry goods,” previously available for direct delivery to Hong Kong, were now marked as “in-store only.” In other words, they could not be ordered for delivery. However, there are no restrictions on other household items, appliances, and beauty products available for purchase.

Upon further inquiry made this afternoon as a Sam’s Club member through the official mobile app, local media received a response from customer service stating that the unavailability of dry food products was due to “current adjustments in customs policies regarding product management” and that “if a product is available for purchase and can be added to the cart for Hong Kong direct mail order within the app, it means it can be selected for purchase.” This even includes ordinary snacks such as potato chips, which are currently unavailable. However, the customer service representative was unable to provide a definite timeline for when the situation would normalize, implying an uncertain resolution timeframe.

Many numerous discussions have taken place within various Sam’s Club personal shopper groups, with some individuals sharing their experience of contacting customer service and receiving information about insufficient stock as the cause. However, this situation is unprecedented, and many speculate that it may be related to customs clearance issues. The introduction of Sam’s Club’s direct mail service in Hong Kong had significantly impacted local personal shoppers who now fear a potential loss of business. As a result, many have expressed their intention to revert back to relying on personal shoppers for their procurement needs.

Sam’s Club’s cross-border direct mail service in Hong Kong was launched on 7th June, highlighting five key features: official direct mail service, next-day delivery, support for home delivery or self-pickup, local payment methods, and dedicated Cantonese customer service. The delivery coverage extends throughout Hong Kong, with a daily cutoff time at 1 pm for the fastest next-day delivery. Remote island areas are also eligible for delivery, albeit with a one-day delay. The initial charge for the first kilogram is HK$30, followed by HK$4.5 per additional kilogram. With a delivery fee of approximately HK$70 for a 10-kilogram order, customers can place their orders conveniently through the official mobile app.