Costco is the largest membership warehouse club in the United States (revenue) and operates approximately 560 locations. Sam’s Club, owned by Wal-Mart, is the second-largest membership-only warehouse store in the United States. Sam’s club does operate approximately 600 locations, slightly more than Costco.
When it comes to comparing check-ins, which chains leads the way? Let’s find out how check-ins for Costco and Sam’s Club compare.
Total Check-Ins: The number of check-ins that each brand has received across all its venues.
Sam’s Club: 77,274
Costco clearly leads Sam’s Club when it comes to total check-ins. Costco has more check-ins than nearly any other type of retailers, while Sam’s Club has less than 1/10 the check-ins. Is Costco’s customer-base really 10x more active on location-based check-in services than Sam’s Club?
Total People: The total number of people that have checked-in. Unique people will be fewer than total check-ins, as people may check-in more than once at a location.
Sam’s Club: 30,585
Costco again has 10x more people that have checked-in than Sam’s Club. Costco certainly does not have 10x as many customers as Sam’s Club. Why are Costco’s customers checking-in, while Sam’s Club members are not?
Looking at check-ins per user will provide some context around just how popular these venues are. By dividing Total Check-ins by Total People, we can learn about each brand’s customer loyalty. (Higher is better.)
Sam’s Club: 2.52
Even while having 10x more check-ins than Sam’s Club, Costco still has a higher check-in frequency per guest. This means that Costco customers are visiting more often than Sam’s Club members. Combine a higher per-guest check-in rate, along with more people visiting, leads to Costco having 10x more check-ins.
Using detailed check-in analysis, we can also compare each brand’s customer and determine the overlap in their customer bases.
Sam’s Club: 5.9%
Typically, membership stores like Sam’s Club and Costco require a yearly payment from members to join their clubs. One would think this “membership fee” should create stickiness with customers, meaning that customers won’t want to pay to be members of two clubs.
Despite this membership fee, nearly 6% of Sam’s Club customers have also visited Costco, while only 3% of Costco customers have also checked-in at Sam’s Club. One explanation? Perhaps Costco’s inventory is significantly different or better than Sam’s Club, leading to more people having both Sam’s Club and Costco Memberships.
Finally, let’s take a look at average Social Influence, which is an indicator of how influential a brand’s customers are in the social web. (Max score is 10.)
Sam’s Club: 2.0
Surprisingly, customers that check-in at both stores have the same social influence. One would think that because of Costco’s high level of check-ins, its customers would be more influential. This, however, is not the case.
Check-Ins by Day
PlacePunch also analyzes check-in traffic, enabling brands to understand when customers check-in.
Both Sam’s Club and Costco have nearly identical traffic patterns, with both stores seeing gradual traffic increases throughout the week, with Saturday being their peak day. Either store could differentiate itself by offering incentives to customers to visit for quick pit-stops during the week. (Bread, milk, laundry soap.) Perhaps offering these items at the front of the stores would be a way to lure in families that need to quickly purchase these essentials during the week.
Costco is absolutely crushing it with its check-in traffic. Its customers have shared their check-ins with millions of other people, helping Costco increase its brand awareness and attract new customers. Sam’s Club must implement new programs that help it to drive new check-in volume before Costco becomes defined as the “innovative” leader in the space.