Wal-Mart sibling Sam’s Club, a wholesale club chain that sells everything from pistachios to patio furniture at deeply discounted prices, has launched a cut-rate Webbuilding and maintenance service for small business owners.
For $5 a month, a florist or plumber who is already a Sam’s Club Plus member can get connected to customers online, said Cara Kinzey, Sam’s Club vice presidentmembership. A $10 per month fee allows the business owner to process orders as well as provide information via the Internet.
Competitor Costco offers a similar service to Executive members for a $15 a month fee.
Non-Sam’s Club members who want to sign up first have to join as Plus members for $100 a year, Kinzey said. Sam’s Club members without the "Plus" designation need to fork over an extra $70 to upgrade.
But Kinzey said it’s still a real deal for nontech business owners who want an Internet presence. "Finding somebody to build a Web site is costly. This does it in an expert manner," she said.
Vista.com, a private company that supplies Internet business applications to small business clients, designed the program. Jamie Bland, Vista.com executive vice president, said the $5 buys Sam’s Club customers everything they need to get their sites up and running in about five minutes and keep the site secure and virus-free.
"They get their choice of 86 templates, the ability to make changes online, 24-hour customer support, their own domain name, all forms of reporting and security," he said.
The templates are designed to address the needs of just about any type of small business, Bland said. The restaurant version, for example, helps build a dining menu for Internet display. Sam’s Club customers who want to sign up or get more info about the program can go to www.samsclub. com or call (877) 726-7932.