Hair by Amazon? Tech giant to open hi-tech salon in London


Amazon has announced a surprise move into the world of hairdressing with the opening of a hi-tech hair salon in London that boasts special mirrors able to show customers how they would look with a different hair colour before they take the plunge.

With its promise to showcase the latest in cutting edge technology, the Amazon Salon in Spitalfields, east London, could consign hair dye swatch books to the dustbin of history with its augmented reality mirrors. As well as experimenting with virtual looks, clients will be able to pass time scrolling through magazines loaded on tablets placed at each “styling station”.

Amazon is leaving the haircuts and highlights to the professionals with the salon manned by Neville Hair & Beauty, an independent salon based in the capital. The permanent salon will initially be road-tested by Amazon staff ahead of opening up to the public for appointments “in the coming weeks”.

Customers can peruse beauty products on screen.
Customers can peruse beauty products on screen. Photograph: Amazon Salon

A price list has yet to be released but Amazon Salon will offer a “full range of hairdressing services” including highlights, treatments and braids, it said. The salon is being billed by Amazon as an “experiential venue” to show off new products and technology and, as yet anyway, there are no current plans for any others.

The move comes after the e-commerce giant launched a professional beauty section on its website, selling 10,000 products ranging from clippers to curlers and hair dryers, aimed at the small businesses which have only recently been allowed to reopen as lockdown restrictions are eased.

Amazon Salon comes hot on the heels of the online retailer’s first contactless grocery store. The Amazon Fresh store which opened last month in Ealing, west London, can be used by anyone with an Amazon account and with the app on their phone. Customers must scan in a code on their phone to gain entry.

Sensors on the shelves detect when an item has been removed while cameras and other technology backed by artificial intelligence monitor individuals’ movement around the store and the goods chosen. The bill is automatically charged to a shopper’s Amazon account when they leave the store.

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John Boumphrey, Amazon’s UK manager, said the hair salon had been designed so that customers could experience the “best technology, haircare products and stylists in the industry”.

“It will be a place where we can collaborate with the industry and test new technologies,” he said.

The salon will also try out new “point-and-learn” tech for salons, whereby customers pointing simply at a product on a display shelf can view information, such as brand videos, played on an accompanying display screen. Shoppers will also be able to buy shampoos and styling aids for home delivery by scanning a barcode with their phone.



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