Amazon’s Hair Salon is a New Take on Retail Technology Labs

The London-based salon will serve as an experiential space to test AR and "point and learn" technology.

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Need to Know 

  • Amazon is launching its first-ever physical hair salon, Amazon Salon. 
  • The London-based salon will offer hair care services as well as testing AR and point-and-learn technology.
  • Augmented reality is a growing trend in the beauty industry, allowing shoppers to virtually try-on and test beauty products before purchasing.
  • Amazon has worked with AR cosmetics leaders such as L’Oreal in the past to integrate virtual try-on technology.

Analysis

Amazon today announced that it will be taking on yet another industry: hair care. The retail giant is opening its first-ever hair salon, where it will test augmented reality (AR) and “point and learn” technology. 

At the new London-based salon, customers can use AR technology to virtually “try on” different hair colors. The “point and learn” technology allows customers to “point to products on a display shelf in order to learn more through videos and other content that then appears on a display screen.” 

The salon’s mirrors come equipped with augmented reality try-on technology.

Customers can then use their phones to scan the QR code on the screen, which will take them to the product on Amazon’s UK website for checkout. 

Of course, the salon will also provide real-life hair care and styling services. 

“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, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “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.” 

Initially open to Amazon employees only, the salon is designed to be an “experiential venue” where the company can showcase new brands and technology. 

The introduction of Amazon Salon follows the UK launch of Amazon Professional Beauty Store, an online shop that gives stylists and salon owners easy access to Amazon’s wide selection of professional hair and beauty products at wholesale prices.

While this is Amazon’s first physical hair salon, it is not the retail giant’s first foray into tech-first beauty.

Last spring, Amazon Canada partnered with L’Oreal and Modiface to allow customers to virtually try-on color cosmetics while shopping on Amazon. Virtual testing can be done with AR, using a customer selfie, live video, or on a model with a similar skin tone.

Also last year, Amazon expanded its AR offerings with a Room Decorator feature. The new tool uses augmented reality to let shoppers see how furniture and other home decor items would look in their own homes.

The popular search platform Pinterest is also leaning into AR and last year launched its own AR Try On tool, allowing users to try on eyeshadows from major beauty brands Lancome, YSL, Urban Decay, and NYX Cosmetics.

And even Whole Foods is jumping on the AR beauty bandwagon, recently launching its own virtual cosmetics try-on tool. At the Mineral Fusion display at Whole Foods, customers can use their phones to scan a QR code to virtually test Mineral Fusion beauty products. 

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