Last month, Walmart announced the closing of 63 Sam’s Club stores. Below I reveal how our location intelligence platform, Polaris, was used to understand Walmart’s decision to close these specific stores.
First, I analyzed two datasets:
(a) Visitation Volume for the 63 closing stores vs. the remaining stores: I was quickly able to see in the past 6 months, 18% more shoppers visited the remaining open stores vs. the 63 that are closing.
(b) Visitation Frequency for the 63 closing stores vs. the remaining stores: I was quickly able to see in the past 6 months, 41.5% of the closing stores’ shoppers visited more than once vs. 49.3% for the stores that remain open (+18.7%).
It comes as no surprise that the closing stores see less shoppers and shoppers that visit less often at that. But what else can we understand about these stores using Polaris insights?
Next I looked at Day of Week trends: The 63 stores that are closing see more visits during weekdays, while the stores that will remain open see more visits during the weekend. Are weekend sales stronger than weekday sales? Intuitively, it makes sense since many working people save their shopping errands for the weekend.
Next, I reviewed the Demographics of the shoppers visiting each store set. Overall, the remaining open stores over-index for female shoppers, families with kids, and hispanic audiences.
Interestingly enough, I also noticed that immediately following the store closing announcement, there was a significant spike in visitors to Sam’s Clubs nationwide. When looking just at the visitation trends for the first store closing on January 26th (the 3900 Grants Mill Rd, Irondale, AL location), I saw the same spike in visitation.
Why is this the case? Could this be related to clearance prices or shoppers simply stocking up before their local Sam’s Club closes?
Diving deeper, I looked at visitation trends for a nearby Sam’s Club that will remain open (the 3053 John Hawkins Pkwy, Hoover, AL location). While this store is just 20 minutes away from the closing location, the difference in demographic data is considerable:
3900 Grants Mill Rd, Irondale, AL store (closed) vs. the 3053 John Hawkins Pkwy, Hoover store (open)
We see that the store closing in Irondale is servicing older shoppers and over-indexes for males. In contrast, the store in Hoover, which will remain open, significantly over-indexes for females
(62% vs. 46% for the closing store). Naturally, one would presume that younger female shoppers are more valuable for Sam’s Club and the brands it carries.
Polaris enables us to generate powerful insights that can be leveraged by retailers and brands to understand both their own as well as their competitors’ shopper bases. From just this analysis, we were able to identify some of the key characteristics of successful vs. underperforming store locations, as well as generate valuable insights around visitation trends and demographics for Sam’s Clubs across the country.
It also raises important questions not only about the efficacy of a company’s marketing efforts, but also its operations. Perhaps the brands carried at Sam’s Club are geared towards females. If so, this data would suggest that marketing efforts towards females are successful. Likewise, if female foot traffic is a stronger indicator of successful stores, then we can have a better understanding of why Walmart decided to close the location that over-indexes for males over the location that over-indexes for females within the same geographical area.
The polaris&me blog is an area where Ubimo team members and our clients can share insights and use cases demonstrating the power of Polaris.