Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced it will launch its first hair salon in London’s Spitalfields in the coming weeks.
Amazon Salon will offer customers technology to trial virtual hair colours, entertainment via Fire tablets at each styling station and take pictures of their new look in “a dedicated creative area”.
Haircare and styling services will be provided by Elena Lavagni, owner of Neville Hair & Beauty, an independent salon based in the city.
The site 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.
To order the products, customers can scan the relevant QR code on the shelf to visit the product detail page on Amazon’s website and purchase, with delivery direct to their home.
The tech giant stressed this is “an experiential venue” and there are no current plans to open more.
It is currently available to Amazon employees and will be extending services to the public soon.
“Spitalfields hairdressers have had a tough enough time of it over the lockdown without having to deal with the competition of the biggest company in the world o their doorstep. It’s shocking that this has been allowed,” Jasmine Birtles, director at self-help money site MoneyMagpie.
“The initiative doesn’t feel better to me by doing it through an independent salon. It’s all part of its retail land-grab, like buying Whole Foods in order to take over groceries on the high street. The inequality of financial backing, customer reach and access to new technologies is still there. I believe in progress but I am more for choice and particularly for supporting small business and competition.”
Shares in Amazon were flat at US$3,367 in premarket trading.