Mall of America Gets an IBM Watson-powered Bot For Holiday Shopping

Mall Of America Officials Brief Media On Increased Security After Mall Mentioned In Terrorist Video
BLOOMINGTON, MN - FEBRUARY 23: Shoppers walk through Mall of America during a media tour of its security systems on February 23, 2015 in Bloomington, Minnesota. In a newly released video, Somali militant group al-Shabaab called for terror attacks at a number of sites, including Mall of America, the largest shopping mall in the United States. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher — Getty Images

IBM today announced the launch of a pilot program to deploy its artificial intelligence inside Mall of America.

Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. covers 5.6 million square feet, making it the largest retail space in the U.S. The Experiential List Formulator (E.L.F.) can now help guests manage their options by suggesting ways to spend time at the mall’s more than 500 stores and theme parks.

“E.L.F. may ask guests how much time they have to spend at Mall of America or what types of things they like to do, in order to deliver customized shopping suggestions,” an IBM spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email.

Shoppers can speak to E.L.F. on Facebook Messenger or online at

IBM Watson Group also announced today the start of a pilot program for an SMS-based concierge bot, named At Your Service, for Fashion Island mall in Newport Beach, Calif. Shoppers who message (949) 734-7364 will receive natural language information about where to buy all the items on their list.

Both bots call upon Watson’s Conversation and AlchemyLanguage APIs.

“Shoppers can search by typing brand names or items, such as ‘Tom Ford’ or ‘sunglasses’, and receive tailored responses to find the stores, facilities, items, and deals they’re seeking,” said Satisfi CEO Don White in a blog post today.

Satisfi made E.L.F. and At Your Service in conjunction with IBM Watson. This is the two companies’ third collaboration to create conversational concierges this year. In July, IBM Watson and Satisfi launched Macy’s On Call, a location-based pilot program to assist customers with chat at select U.S. Macy’s stores.

For more about Watson, watch:

Similar things are afoot in other large stores — last week Nordstrom and Sam’s Club launched personal shopper bots for the holiday season.

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