Why did Amazon open a hair salon?
Amazon.com has opened a hair salon in its latest bricks-and-mortar experiment. The London location promises to allow the online giant to test new technologies, expand its B2B business with haircare professionals and potentially explore the haircutting opportunity.
Called Amazon Salon, the two-story, 1,500-square-foot location offers entertainment streaming on Amazon Fire tablets at each styling station as well as augmented reality hair consultations that lets individuals imagine a hair color before the dye is made up.
Amazon is testing a “point and learn” technology that allows customers to point at an item on a shelf and display product information on a screen mounted behind. The customer can then scan a QR code to order an item for home delivery.
Amazon Salon could be a showroom for technology bound for other salons. Just Walk Out technology was piloted at Amazon’s own Go convenience stores before being licensed to others.
The pilot is also expected to support the company’s B2B ambitions. Amazon’s Professional Beauty Store, which offers wholesale discounts to hair stylists, launched in 2019 in the U.S. and just expanded to the U.K.
In its statement, Amazon said the store gives hair and beauty businesses “convenient access” to more than ten thousand salon and spa products and supplies. Professionals are promised wholesale pricing and invoicing, no minimum order value and fast delivery.
John Boumphrey, UK country manager, Amazon, said, “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.”
Amazon Salon is described by the company as “an experiential venue” and no other locations are currently planned.
However, Amazon already operates Amazon Home Services, a marketplace for on-demand contractors, and some believe they may explore hair care services.
“My immediate knee-jerk reaction is that the professional services aspect is kind of a necessary evil for them, and that they’re doing this to establish some credibility and a foothold” in the professional beauty space, Jason Goldberg, chief commerce strategy officer at Publicis Groupe and RetailWire BrainTrust panelist, told The Wall Street Journal. “But Amazon has surprised us before, and I certainly wouldn’t take it to the bank that they don’t have aspirations to make money on this.”
- Introducing Amazon Salon – Amazon.com
- Amazon Does Haircuts Now – The Wall Street Journal
- Amazon Salon hints at the e-commerce giant’s B2B ambitions – Glossy
- Alexa, should I get bangs? Amazon is opening a hair salon in London – CNN
- Amazon is opening a hair salon in London to trial new technology – The Verge
- Amazon is opening a London hair salon to test AR and other retail technologies – TechCrunch
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think is behind the opening of Amazon Salon? Where do you see the opportunity for Amazon to support the salon and professional beauty space?