Amazon introduced this morning it’s opening Amazon Salon, the retailer’s first hair salon and a spot the place Amazon goals to check new applied sciences with most of the people. The salon will occupy over 1,500 sq. ft on Brushfield Road in London’s Spitalfields, the place Amazon says it’ll initially be trialing using augmented actuality (AR) and “point-and-learn” expertise — the latter being a system that permit prospects to level to merchandise on a show shelf as a way to be taught extra via movies and different content material that then seems on a show display.
To then order the merchandise, the purchasers will scan the QR code on the shelf, which takes them to the Amazon.co.uk procuring web page for the merchandise the place they’ll add it to their cart and take a look at.
The salon’s AR expertise, in the meantime, shall be used to permit prospects to experiment by nearly making an attempt on completely different hair colours earlier than making a dedication to a brand new shade.
Amazon has already entered the comfort retailer market, grocery enterprise and different bodily retail, the place it’s innovating with new applied sciences like cashierless checkout, sensible grocery carts, and biometric programs. But it surely’s not clear that Amazon truly has ambitions to be within the salon enterprise itself. As a substitute, it appears the salon will largely function a testing floor for brand new applied sciences that Amazon will seemingly need to promote to different retail purchasers sooner or later, or maybe implement in its personal shops. And within the case of AR, Amazon could need to collect information on prospects’ experiences it could actually use by itself procuring web site, too.
Hinting that its targets will not be concerning the salon enterprise itself, Amazon at present describes the salon as an “experiential venue the place we showcase new merchandise and expertise,” and notes that it has no different plans to open extra salons presently.
The corporate has additionally recruited an present salon proprietor, Elena Lavagni of Neville Hair & Magnificence Salon, to assist with this mission, as an alternative of hiring a brand new workers to run it long-term. Lavagni and her staff have beforehand supplied hairdressing companies for different occasions, like Paris Trend Week and the Cannes Movie Competition.
Amazon has not detailed what kind of information it’ll acquire from prospects who use the salon, however it’s clearly there to find out about how new retail applied sciences would work in a real-world atmosphere. However the truth that Amazon is capturing buyer pictures for its hair coloration digital try-on ought to elevate questions on what it plans to do with the information it collects from the brand new salon. Will it solely be used to be taught concerning the particular expertise being examined, or will or not it’s put to different makes use of, too?
As many recall, Amazon has a sophisticated historical past with its use of applied sciences like facial recognition and biometrics, having bought biometric facial recognition companies to regulation enforcement within the U.S., whereas its facial recognition expertise was the topic of an information privateness lawsuit. And its Ring digital camera firm continues to work in partnership with police. Clients needs to be instructed in the event that they’re collaborating in an Amazon analysis mission, not simply having enjoyable with new tech merchandise.
Like different Amazon bodily shops, the salon will first be open to Amazon workers solely earlier than providing bookings to the broader public within the weeks to return.