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.
Seventeen Nordstrom stores were part of the test that lasted from September 2012 through May, a store spokesperson said.
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.
Geekwire's Todd Bishop says expect more of the same from most big retailers as they learn how to sort and use data that is pretty easy to gather.
"A lot of these traditional stores are trying to learn the lessons and apply some of the techniques of the online world to the physical world,” he said.
Here’s just some of what your shopping could involve in the immediate future:
A Kirkland company called "Visible Brands" is developing tracking systems in shopping carts.
"Placed" of Seattle gathers data by giving shoppers coupons if they opt-in and let their cell phones be tracked..
"Realeyes," based in London, uses sophisticated cameras to measure customer satisfaction in stores and at the register.