Mark, Silvia, Thomas and Sarah: some of the many friendly faces in our cities and towns who are happy to lend a helping hand. Here are some more hints, this time about their appearance: they are sunshine yellow, compact, shiny and receive your Amazon orders whilst you are busy doing other things. Once you know about them, you can make friends with them one by one. “They are the Amazon Lockers”, laughs Marianna Pietrafesa, a 33-year-old Senior Marketing Manager who works for Amazon Locker and Pickup Point, “Amazon’s self-service collection points are found in strategic locations in cities and towns all over Italy, from supermarkets to banks to petrol stations.”
“The biggest challenge for anyone who shops online is being around when your order is delivered. You aren’t always at home and whilst your neighbours can receive a parcel on your behalf, they might also be out. Amazon Lockers are the answer.”
“Me and my team went a bit wild when it came to naming the lockers: Jupiter, Uranus, Morpheus, Cupid, Felix, Glaucus. When we had run out of human names, we looked to the planets and Gods for inspiration. One of the lockers in Modena is called Tiziana, after my sister who lives there.”
A marketing specialist in a team of engineers
Marianna, a woman with a steely determination and kind nature who grew up in Potenza in southern Italy, has been working for Amazon since March 2016. During her first interview, the problem was explained to her in detail: it would be up to Marianna, who already had a degree in Economics and Marketing and experience working for various multinational companies, to find a solution. She accepted the challenge, packed her bags and moved to Luxembourg. “During my first month, I had complete creative freedom. There was no one telling me what to do. That’s how it works at Amazon: it’s up to you to find your place and choose which path you want to take.
How? Just by doing what you need to do. An approach that is certainly outside the norm”.
You never stop being surprised: “At the beginning I was stunned by how easy it is to put your ideas into practice.” Projects never grind to a halt: “If someone has a good idea, you start working on it. No questions asked. Another challenge was that, with the exception of the project manager, I was working with a team of engineers, all of them male: I was the only woman and the only person with a degree in economics and marketing. As far as they were concerned, I might as well have come from another planet, and I felt exactly the same way. At the beginning, we spoke two different languages, but by showing each other respect and being curious about each others’ work, we learned to understand each other. This helped me to become more pragmatic and proactive, which were skills I didn’t know I had.” Marianna, who is “both tough and kind” in her own words, is now the European Senior Marketing Manager for Amazon Locker and Pickup Point. “As a child, I dreamed of being a manager”, she tells us. But her parents still don’t understand exactly what she does.
“Given that I spend hours on the phone, my mother thinks I am some sort of customer service representative.”
An innovative system with no limits
“I suppose I am a customer service representative in a sense: amongst other things, I help clients to discover Amazon Lockers and have a better user experience. The team’s aim is to resolve any issues they have”, she says, smiling. The biggest problem for anyone who shops online is being around when their orders are delivered. You aren’t always at home and whilst your neighbours can receive a parcel on your behalf, they might be out themselves. “Our solution is the Amazon locker, a self-service collection point with lockers that you can only open using your personal code. It is an innovative system that gives you the option to collect packages however and whenever you want.”
The process is simple: when you are completing your order, you select the ‘Locker’ option as the delivery address and choose the most convenient location. The courier leaves your package in the chosen locker. You then receive a notification email with the collection instructions and your personal code. “You have three days to collect your order, during your lunch break or at 10pm after a session in the gym.” If you haven’t collected it at the end of the three days, your order is returned to Amazon and you automatically receive a full refund. “It fits in with the frenetic rhythm of our modern lives.”
Marianna’s team helps to improve the Amazon Locker experience for customers all over the world, often using their comments and requests as springboards. “Lots of people told us that they were unable to reach the lockers at the very top of the rack”, says Marianna. “They included clients with disabilities, older people or vertically challenged people like me”, she says, smiling. “This is why we decided to let customers choose a locker at the bottom of the rack by clicking on an icon before completing their order. Problem solved!” Amazon Lockers arrived in Italy in 2016 and are located in both small and large cities and towns. They have been a great success: “today, there are 300 lockers around the country.”
A New Life in Luxembourg
Three hundred friends who can make your life easier and more enjoyable. Just like the life Marianna leads in Luxembourg: “I have travelled a lot for my studies and work: Rome, Rotterdam, Milan, Sidney, Tunisia, Boston and Parma are just some of the places in which I have worked. Luxembourg is probably my favourite city: I love it! I’ve made lots of friends, I have a job that allows me to explore my creative side and I also met my partner here. There’s just one downside: I miss the beautiful blue skies of Italy so much!” That, unfortunately, is one thing that doesn’t fit in an Amazon locker.