Nordstrom Stops Tracking Customers’ Smart Phones

Nordstrom is ending a pilot program that tracked its shoppers' smart phones.

Nordstrom is ending a pilot program that tracked its shoppers’ smart phones.

Upscale fashion retailer Nordstrom is discontinuing the collection of information from its customers’ smart phones.

We’ve previously reported about the technology being used at a Portland, Oregon store as part of a pilot program in 20 stores nationwide.

The system, which had been in place since September of 2012, used an array of sensors placed throughout the stores that would track wi-fi signals coming from smart phones as they tried connecting to their network. Nordstrom stated the data was used to gauge foot traffic within different store departments throughout the day.

According to spokesperson Tara Darrow, Nordstrom stopped using the system the day after a story was aired on a local CBS station in Ft. Worth Texas. Many customers contacted the company with questions and feedback after seeing the story, according to Darrow.

“We’d been testing Euclid since September and have said all along this was a test for us. We had been discussing what made sense in terms of concluding the test; after 8 months we’d felt like we had learned a lot and determined that it was the right time to end it,” said Darrow in an email.

Nordstrom stresses the purpose of the tracking system was never to obtain customers’ personal information, however many seemed upset when they learned their personal phones were being used to collect data without their knowledge or permission.

“They’ve lost me with this. They can track my purchases while I’m in the store but don’t track me or my phone,” customer David Lautz wrote on Facebook.

Image by Nordstrom

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