Sam's Club to Use Wi-Fi to Push TVs

This holiday season, Sam’s Club is making a big bet on Internet-connected television sets—and hopes that providing free Wi-Fi in its stores will help draw customers to the new technology.

The Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) membership warehouse chain’s more than 500 clubs will be outfitted with Wi-Fi by November. The move is testament to Sam’s Club’s high hopes for Internet TV sets and other Web-enabled devices this holiday shopping season.

By providing Wi-Fi, Sam’s Club says it hopes to help customers better understand such products, which are still relatively new to the market. “This will allow a member to walk up to a Samsung LCD Internet-enabled TV and see how to find his Facebook page or stream video from Vudu,” said Sam’s Club Chief Executive Brian Cornell in an interview. “It is an intimidating category with lots of complexity.”

But Wi-Fi also will allow Sam’s Club shoppers more reliable Internet access on their smartphones in the warehouse, where they can find additional information about what they are buying or check competitors’ prices.

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