Nordstrom tracked smartphones for shopper habits

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by KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on July 15, 2013 at 7:56 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 16 at 5:44 AM

Nordstrom says it recently ended a program in which it tracked the in-store movements of its customers via Wi-Fi signals from their smartphones, and it's not the only one.

Seventeen Nordstrom stores were part of the test which lasted from September 2012 through May, said a store spokesperson.

Seattle-based Nordstrom says it did not obtain any information about individuals, but was getting a general sense of shopping habits, such as how long customers stayed in certain sections of the store. If one section was particularly busy, the store might put more salespeople there.

The New York Times reports other retailers are testing similar technology, a move that could help them change store layouts or offer customized coupons.

Much of the same information Nordstrom gathered is already obtained by online shopping sites. But, the idea that a store may be physically tracking customer movements has caused some to question whether that crosses a line.
 

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