Nordstrom tracking customer movement via smartphones’ WiFi sniffing

May 9, 2013 – 5:06 AM

“You’ve spent quite some time in the lingerie department, but you haven’t even peeked at our display of Bose® ‘OE2′ Audio Headphones, which were $149.95 but are now ONLY $134.96! Can we talk?”

OK, so that’s not exactly what Nordstrom says it’s planning to do with the information it gleans from tracking customers’ movements throughout their stores.

But it certainly could market that aggressively, now that the department store – purveyor of apparel, shoes, jewelry, and the like – has implemented technology to track how much time you spend in specific departments within 17 stores in the US.

Tara Darrow, a company spokeswoman, told CBS DFW that sensors in the stores are collecting information from customers’ smartphones as those phones automatically scan for WiFi service.

Darrow said that the sensors monitor which departments you visit and for how long, but the sensors don’t actually follow your phone from department to department, and they don’t identify personal information tied to a phone’s owner.


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