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.
Visits by loyal Stop & Shop customers decline 75% during strike [Katie Johnston/The Boston Globe]
(via Super Punch)