Sam’s Club asks suppliers to buy into new data platform from Nielsen

by Kim Souza ( 2,837 views 

Sam’s Club suppliers received an email Saturday (March 2) outlining the retailer’s new partnership with Nielsen and cloud-based analytics firm 1010data to create a Member Analysis, Data Reporting & Insights Domain (MADRID) aimed at expediting valuable sales insights. MADRID will help suppliers and buyers better monitor product performance within Sam’s Club, the memo said.

“Sam’s Club is on a mission to simplify our work,” Ashley Buchanan, chief merchandising officer at Sam’s Club, said in the email obtained by Talk Business & Politics. “With this in mind, we have partnered with Nielsen and 1010data, a Nielsen connected partner, to offer a new, cloud-based collaboration program that will take time and confusion out of the process of doing business together.”

The new platform will replace Sam’s Club Decision Support Services (DSS) reporting in Retail Link. Sam’s Club said management feels confident MADRID delivers a much better experience because it’s intuitive, fast and easy to use. One important factor at play is MADRID provides suppliers and buyers a consistent, shared view of Sam’s Club inventory and sales data.

Buchanan said MADRID will go live in late April and Sam’s Club will begin the migration to the platform in May. He noted Retail Link and Global Replenishment System (GRS) will remain essential tools for the company and only access to Sam’s Club DDS is changing. The move brings Sam’s Club into alignment with how other retailers of similar size share data, he said in the memo.

Suppliers relying on advanced consumer insights and robust reporting will have access to tiered MADRID subscriptions through Nielsen. That will come at an extra cost for suppliers. F the first time, though, Sam’s Club buyers and suppliers can have access to Sam’s Club first-party data such as sales and inventory alongside Nielsen market share data, as well as average price information and other ancillary data such as weather impacts.

Buchanan said Sam’s Club understands not all suppliers are alike, and some may not choose to subscribe to MADRID. He reiterated subscribing will be the best way for suppliers to get the detailed item performance data they need to manage and grow their business.

Suppliers were given a link to the Nielsen MADRID website to explore more about the program. Nielsen notes on the site the new MADRID platform will provide standardized metrics and key performance indicators that will give buyers a single version of the truth in terms of sales performance.

Sam’s Club will use the information to evaluate supplier performance across categories and the standardization of data is also a new feature of the supplier scorecard.

MADRID reports will also enable suppliers and their buyers to better understand the drivers of sales performance, returns, damages and shrink metrics at a granular level, all which weigh on profitability.

Nielsen said suppliers can subscribe to demand planning metrics, and also subscribe to member and category level data giving them a more complete look at their business. Nielsen said the platform is intuitive, but also offers simplified processes. MADRID reports can be run in minutes before a buyer meets with a supplier, and the report will contain the most accurate read on the business at that particular time.

At first glance, suppliers see the news as an added expense to their Sam’s Club business, but if the data is truly insightful in helping them get a better read on their online and in-club sales, it might be worth trying.

Lack of visibility into online sales is an ongoing complaint from Walmart and Sam’s Club suppliers who can’t always accurately plan inventory. The lack of clarity also makes knowing how and where to market the product more complicated.

Reaction to the email was discussed on social media Saturday, mostly with more questions about how the program will work. For now, the initiative only involves suppliers of Sam’s Club and does not impact Walmart suppliers.

Danny McCause of Rew Marketing shared the following post: “How awesome is another application to learn and having to pay to obtain information we need to take care of our accounts with Sam’s!”