Culture

Amazon’s experimental salon in the U.K will use AR beauty tech

The brick-and-mortar store aims to be a proving ground for new products and technology.

Hairdresser with security measures for Covid-19 or coronavirus, hair cut a man in a medicine mask, social distance, cutting hair with a medical mask, eye mask in a beauty salon, new normal 2020
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Amazon is, for some reason, officially opening its own salon, the company announced in a blog post on Tuesday. The venue will offer customers access to AR style-testing tools and "ten thousand salon and space products and supplies'' including personal style equipment like clippers, curlers, hair dryers, straighteners, serums, highlights, dyes, balayage, braiding, and more.

It’s further proof that Amazon is not done dominating life as we know it. Given that salons are typically small businesses, which already face immense strain and heightened uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon’s entry in the domain would seem an ominous move. Thankfully, the company says it is a single experimental venture and there are no plans for more.

What an Amazon salon will look like — Amazon's salon services will be limited to the company's employees only for the time being. The salon will cover two floors and over 1,500 square feet in terms of property, and you will need to be in the United Kingdom in order to visit it. Located on Brushfield Street in Spitalfields, London, the Amazon salon will run under the expertise of stylist Elena Lavagni. The renowned artist owns Neville Hair and Beauty, and will help Amazon employees with style consultations in person. Don’t forget to wear your mask.

The salon comes equipped with the “latest industry technology," Amazon says. Workers can expect style consulting based on augmented reality and point-and-learn software. Amazon's United Kingdom country manager John Boumphrey explained, "We have designed this salon for customers to come and experience some of the best technology, hair care products, and stylists in the industry. We want this unique venue to bring us one step closer to customers, and it will be a place where we can collaborate with the industry and test new technologies."

No such thing as a free lunch — Employees will be treated as customers and so they will have to pay for the salon services, which include virtual hair color tests, access to Fire tablets for entertainment viewing, and the option to order products by scanning QR codes on the salon shelves and have items delivered to their homes. The salon will open up to the public "in the coming weeks," the firm says.

"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," Amazon stated. Long gone are the days when Jeff Bezos' company was merely an online book retailer. From the acquisitions of grocery market Whole Foods and pharmacy company PillPack to running Amazon Web Services, video and music streaming platforms, brick-and-mortar convenience stores like Amazon Go, Bezos' move to permeate salon spaces shouldn't come as a surprise. At all.