Amazon opens first hair salon to test new tech

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As of last week, people in England have been able to get their hair cut again. And now, if they happen to be Amazon employees, they can get the House of Bezos to do it for them.

Amazon announced its first hair salon on Tuesday. It’s in Spitalfields, a trendy part of East London. Although it’s initially only for the firm’s workers—hundreds of whom work at Amazon’s nearby British headquarters—it will open to the general public in the coming weeks.

Naturally, given the timing, there will be COVID mitigation measures such as screens separating each styling station, plus temperature checks.

“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,” said Amazon’s U.K. country manager, John Boumphrey, in a statement.

What technologies, you ask? Amazon doesn’t have any breakthroughs in the hair-dryer-tech realm to show off, but it does have Fire tablets at each station, together with augmented-reality technology that will allow patrons to check out virtual hair colors before asking for the real deal. Customers will also be able to order items displayed on the salon’s shelves by scanning their QR codes.

Amazon will also use the 1,500-square-foot facility to test what it calls 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.”

That’s tech that could plausibly prove useful in other brick-and-mortar settings, such as Whole Foods or Amazon Fresh grocery stores, of which there are three in London.

But the Amazon Salon, which will be staffed by stylists from the posh Neville Hair & Beauty salon in Knightsbridge, is also intended to highlight the recent U.K. launch of Amazon’s Professional Beauty Store—a service for stylists that offers wholesale pricing.

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