The Alexa service point allows visitors to request information also about scheduled events, thereby providing access to real-time customer care service from home, even via smartphone. Credit: Savills

Alexa Responds at Romaest

A Rome-based shopping center has become the first in Italy to install Amazon's cloud-based voice service.

Romaest in Rome is, by its own account, the first retail destination in the country to use Amazon’s Alexa technology. The shopping center, which consists of 98,000 sq m of GLA and 210 stores, is managed by Savills. The aim of the project, which maximizes the use of artificial intelligence (AI), is to facilitate and consolidate the mall’s daily relationship with its customers through the additional features offered by Amazon’s intelligent assistant.

“As the nature of the visits made by our customers and visitors has significantly changed over time, the need to have access to shopping centers and other retail destinations, even while at home, has continuously increased,” stated Yashar Deljoye Sabeti, Head of Marketing at Savills. He added: “Not only through the use of common devices, such as smartphones and tablets, but also with new interactive media, such as voice assistants, an area in which Alexa is the current market leader. Romaest’s approach to Alexa goes beyond the existing website and social media channels and elevates the mall’s customer care to a new level of sophistication and technological innovation.”

Credit: Savills

“Alexa, are there any gluten-free restaurants?”

The Alexa service point not only allows customers to request information about internal sales points, timetables, and services that are active within the mall, but about scheduled events as well, thereby providing access to real-time customer care service from home, even via smartphone. The smart device can answer questions that are most frequently asked by users: “Alexa, what child-friendly services are there?” or “Alexa, what are the opening hours?”; it can also answer more specific questions, such as, “Alexa, are there any gluten-free restaurants?”. The number of questions is certain to grow thanks to a digital environment that is constantly updated and integrated with other customer care channels, from the InfoPoint and social messages to the Romaest WhatsApp channel and the website.

The project was carried out in cooperation with Sowhat agency, which is specialized in digital communication for shopping centers and retail, with a focus on development and support with regard to social media, new media marketing, and digital advertising. “The evolution of natural language processing systems, together with the sudden spread of Alexa and Google Home devices in millions of homes, represents a real revolution that is shaping new communication and interaction scenarios. Natural language has an expressive and, above all, immediate impact, which can be increasingly used in daily communications,” commented Giordano Dolfi, founder of Sowhat.

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