Northeastern grocery chain Stop & Shop has been goosing its profits at its workers' expense, increasing their healthcare costs, reducing company pension contributions, and reducing holiday and Sunday overtime pay; the United Food & Commercial Workers, who organize the Stop & Shop employees called for a strike nearly two weeks ago, and since then, 31,000 workers from 240 stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island have been off the job.
A surveillance capitalism company called Skyhook -- which conducts involuntary covert surveillance of huge numbers of Americans by tracking their mobile devices, allowing the company to build complex dossiers of the public's movements over time -- has released a report detailing the drop in foot traffic from people who are "loyal customers" of Stop & Shop (Skyhook describes the data it analyzed as "anonymized").
Skyhook found that the number of visits from "loyal customers" declined by 75% after the strike began, while foot traffic overall dropped by 50%. It found that these "loyal customers" switched to buying their groceries at rivals Hannafords (up 300%), Market Basket (up 115%), Trader Joe's (up 75%), Shaws and Star Market (up 50%).
The Boston Globe quotes unspecified "analysts" who say that once grocery customers switch to a rival, about 60% of them will never return.
For its Stop & Shop analysis, Skyhook identified 840 customers in the strike-affected region who visit the grocery chain at least once a week, using location data from the 100 million mobile devices it has access to through software running in apps on those phones. This data, authorized by users, leaves “bread crumb trails” showing where people have been, Bairstow said.
Skyhook also has a database of venue locations, including grocery stores, and can track how often people visit.
What Impact Has the Stop & Shop Strike Had on Other New England Grocery Stores? [Skyhook]
Visits by loyal Stop & Shop customers decline 75% during strike [Katie Johnston/The Boston Globe]
(via Super Punch)
In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my Globe and Mail column, Why do people believe the Earth is flat?, which connects the rise of conspiratorial thinking to the rise in actual conspiracies, in which increasingly concentrated industries are able to come up with collective lobbying positions that result in everything from crashing 737s to […]
One of the more extravagant claims made by tech companies is that they can detect emotions by analyzing photos of our faces with machine learning systems. The premise is sometimes dressed up in claims about "micro-expressions" that are below the threshold of human detection, though some vendors have made billions getting security agencies to let […]
Every now and again, a company will come up with a product "innovation" that seems to deprive people of their free will, driving great masses of internet users to look for Pokemon, or tend virtual farms, or buy now with one-click, or flock to Upworthy-style "You won't believe what happened next" stories, or be stampeded […]
Get ready for the stream of your dreams, binge-watchers. There’s a contest afoot, and at stake is a lifetime subscription to Netflix. All you have to do is sign up, and you’re entered to win this ultimate Netflix plan. When does it expire? Only when you do. And hey, just in case you need something […]
There’s overwhelming support for clean energy, and the planet is giving us more reasons to invest in renewable power sources with every passing year. Even in the most inhospitable areas, wind and solar can provide a good chunk of our power, if not all of it. So why aren’t we all taking advantage of it? […]
Hey, we love Netflix and Hulu, but let’s face it: The whole setup doesn’t exactly encourage active viewing. For all the binge-watching we’ve done, it’s tough to expand our horizons or learn anything new – except for how many episodes of “The Office” it takes to make us fall asleep. It was only a matter […]