Nordstrom Now Using Your Smartphone To Track Your Shopping Behavior

A sign posted about the wifi tracking system at a Nordstrom in Dallas. (via CBS 11)

A sign posted about the wifi tracking system at a Nordstrom in Dallas. (via CBS 11)

Earlier this year we told you about the many hi-tech ways in which retailers are tracking customers’ movements and purchases. Now high-end department store Nordstrom admits that it’s using a smartphone tracking system to keep an eye on shoppers’ behavior.

According to CBS 11 in Dallas, Nordstrom is now using a system in 17 of its stores around the country that uses a smartphone’s Media Access Control address (which is broadcast whenever your phone attempts to connect to a wifi network) to isolate a shopper as he or she moves about the store.

The system monitors where shoppers go in the store and how long they stay in each area. The intention, says Nordstrom, isn’t simply to track a single customer’s behavior, but to aggregate all that data to improve foot traffic and optimize staffing decisions.

“For example, if many customers are entering and leaving a store within 5 minutes, that might indicate that there is not enough staff on the floor or that lines at the register are too long,” explains a rep for Euclid, the company that operates the system for Nordstrom. “A retailer can use this insight to adjust staffing levels or keep more registers open.”

A sign at the NorthPark store in Dallas alerts customers’ to the system:

We are always looking for ways to improve our customers’ shopping experience. Nordstrom is using Euclid to gather publicly-broadcasted information your Smartphone or other Wi-Fi enabled device sends out when it’s attempting to connect to a Wi-Fi network in and around this store.
Euclid provides Nordstrom with anonymous, aggregate reports that give us a better sense of customer foot traffic. We do not gather such things as your name, email address, phone number, your device’s browsing activity or text, email or voice messages.

To not participate, turn off your device’s Wi-Fi function or power off your device.

It also provides a link to a web page for a page on that allows users to read the company’s privacy policy and opt-out if possible.

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