Amazon’s latest bricks-and-mortar experiment is, unexpectedly, a hair salon. The company is opening its Amazon Salon in London’s East End Spitalfields area, where it says it will trial “the latest industry technology.” This includes an augmented reality app that lets customers see what different hair styles and colors look like on them before they decide on a change.
Unlike the company’s cashierless Go grocery stores (which expanded to London last month), Amazon Salon does not seem to be a beachhead for an industry invasion. “This will be an experiential venue where we showcase new products and technology, and there are no current plans to open any other Amazon Salon locations,” said the company in a blog post.
Instead, it looks more like a modest marketing stunt meant to signal the company’s ambitions in the fashion and beauty sectors generally. These have been sectors where Amazon has struggled to make in-roads against specialist stores. The arrival of the Amazon Salon in London follows the company’s launch of its Amazon Professional Beauty Store in the UK, an online storefront that sells wholesale spa and salon products to businesses.
Amazon Salon will occupy more than 1,500 square feet of space across two floors at a location in Brushfield Street. As well as playing around with AR haircut apps (and getting an actual haircut), visitors will be able to test new “point-and-learn” technology” which allows them to “simply point at the product they are interested in on a display shelf” to bring up more information and purchasing options on a nearby display. That includes QR codes to buy specific items. It sounds pretty underwhelming.
Anyone wanting to get an Amazon-brand trim will have to wait, though. The Amazon Salon will initially only be open to Amazon employees with the hoi polloi allowed entry some time “in the coming weeks.” When you go, be sure to ask for the Jeff Bezos “slaphead special.” We hear it’s very efficient.