Nordstrom keeps eye on Web visitors’ habits

Early in January, managers learned that most of the people visiting their Internet store were looking for sweaters, regardless of whether they bought one.

Once they knew what shoppers were looking for, they moved quickly to display sweaters more prominently on their Web site.

They also found out which Web sites their customers visited before coming to That information gave them new ideas for placing advertising

They know their online customers a little better after subscribing to digiMine, a Kirkland-based data-mining company that sorts through oceans of information collected on a c

lient’s Web site, and figures out what it all means.

“We want to create a better shopping experience for our customer,” said Shasha Richardson, a spokeswoman for

DigiMine sorts through data collected by clients, then sends the information back in easy-to-understand report to help the clients determine what visitors do on their Web site.

Many Internet retailers use a variety tools to track visitors to and from their sites. But collecting and deciphering data and putting them to practical use is sometimes daunting.

DigiMine was found by three former Microsoft employees, Usama Fayyad, Bassel Ojjeh and Nick Besbeas.

Simply put, DigiMine uses software nicknames “the data slurper” to grab information gathered by, say, The slurper deciphers the information, translates it into reports, graphs and charts, and has it ready for managers by the next morning.

DigiMine can tell clients, like, how many people visited its site, how many were first-time visitors, the Web site they came from, what they looked at and for how long and what they bought.

The information Nordstrom receives from digiMine is faceless and nameless – no one is identified.

But such tracking, even in its most anonymous form, has been criticized by some privacy watchdog groups who say Internet users should be told when their movements are tracked.

In’s privacy policy, which is easy to find on its Web site, the company spells out clearly the information digiMine collects, stressing that it is for Nordstrom’s use only.

A subscription to digiMine’s service costs about $10,000 a month, depending on the volume of information.

But digiMine’s Besbeas says it saves companies the expense of licensing software, buying hardware and hiring more staff members to sort through the data.

“We can help our clients understand their customers’ behavior and develop content for that,” Besbeas said. “It’s all about making things easier.”

THE LATEST FROM FOG: London Fog will unveil its fall 2001 collection at the Magic International Trade Show trade show in Las Vegas next week.

For men, the outerwear maker eliminated unnecessary features and fabric for sleek function. The women’s collection is rich with Old World details, including fur trim and paisley linings.

London Fog is based in Seattle.

SALES UP LAST MONTH – ELSEWHERE: Despite widespread discussion of a slowing economy and possible recession, same-store sales for January rose 2.0 percent nationally over the same period last year, according to data compiled by TeleCheck. The Southwest region led the nation in spending, climbing 3.1 percent.

The West was up 1.3 percent, despite the fact that sales in Washington declined 1.8 percent. Sales in Seattle fell 2.1 percent.

The TeleCheck Retail Index is based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of checks written by consumers.

By: Kathy Mulady



Leave a Reply