Alexa, book me a hair appointment: London gets high-tech Amazon salon

The salon will have augmented reality hair consults, point-and-learn technology and Fire tablets for customer use.

Woman getting a haircut at the Amazon salon

Image: Amazon

Amazon has set its sights on yet another vertical market: hair salons, but with a twist. The online retail giant is opening a two-story, 1,500-square-foot salon in London that will give customers the ability to experiment with different hair colors with augmented reality technology.

Customers will also be able to use Amazon Salon's built-in Fire tablets for entertainment.

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The salon will also test new point-and-learn technology, where customers can simply point at the product they are interested in on a display shelf and the relevant information, including brand videos and educational content, will appear on a display screen, the company said in a news release.

Customers can scan the relevant QR code on the shelf to order the products from—where else—the product detail page on Amazon.co.uk, with delivery direct to their home.

The salon will be staffed by hairdressers from independent London salon Neville Hair & Beauty.

At first, the salon will be open to Amazon employees only and then open to bookings for the general public in the coming weeks. "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," the company said.

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"We have designed this salon for customers to come and experience some of the best technology, hair care products and stylists in the industry," said John Boumphrey, U.K. country manager, Amazon, in a statement. "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."

Hair color at Amazon salon

Customers can try on new hair colors at the Amazon Salon.

Image: Amazon

The salon will follow COVID-19 safety protocols, will adhere to limited capacity and clients will have their temperatures checked when they arrive. Free face masks and hand sanitizer will be available. The salon will use separation screens to divide styling stations, customers will be also required to wear face coverings, and equipment will be sanitized after use.

The salon is Amazon's latest bricks-and-mortar initiative and is geared at consumers who are ready for some pampering and changing up their pandemic looks.

Woman getting her hair done and looking at Amazon Fire tablet.

Customers can use an Amazon Fire tablet while getting their hair done at the Amazon Salon.

Image: Amazon

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It comes on the heels of the launch of the Amazon Professional Beauty Store on Amazon.co.uk. This new store gives hair and beauty businesses access to Amazon's more than 10,000 salon and spa products and supplies, from straighteners and clippers through to curlers and hair dryers, Amazon said.

The store offers professionals benefits such as wholesale pricing and invoicing, no minimum order requirement and delivery.

The news follows the launch of three Amazon Fresh shops in London, as the retailer looks to capture a portion of consumer spend on groceries.

Amazon Fresh customers scan a smartphone app when entering, and their purchases are automatically detected by cameras in the shop and billed to their Amazon accounts as they leave. The company reportedly plans to launch at least 28 more Amazon Fresh stores including in Long Beach, California; Woodland Park and Paramus, New Jersey; and Seattle and Bellevue, Washington.

Meanwhile, Amazon has also expanded its palm-scanning payment system to a Whole Foods supermarket in Seattle.

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By Esther Shein

Esther Shein is a longtime freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in several online and print publications. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of Datamation, a managing editor at BYTE, and a senior writer at eWeek (formerly PC Week)...