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Amazon Salon, London
courtesy Amazon Salon

Hair by Amazon: would you let the tech giant cut your hair?


TextThom Waite

Amazon Salon, a new ‘experiential venue’ in East London, will feature augmented reality mirrors and other new technology

In an ongoing effort to get involved in literally every aspect of our lives, Amazon is launching a hair salon, offering a “full range of hairdressing services”. Predictably named Amazon Salon, the “experiential venue” will also serve as a place to show off new products and technology (think: augmented reality mirrors and virtual magazines to leaf through while you wait).

The permanent salon based in Spitalfields, East London, will initially be tested by Amazon staff, before opening up to the general public “in the coming weeks”. And, while the actual hairdressing will be provided by Neville Hair & Beauty — an independent, London-based salon with IRL hairdressers — Amazon’s tech will add some novel twists.

For example, customers will be able to “try on” a range of hair colours, video game-style, using augmented reality mirrors (if you’re hesitant to follow Billie Eilish’s lead and go platinum blonde, this one might be for you), while tablets will offer entertainment at every “styling station”.

Elsewhere, the salon will trial “new point-and-learn” technology, meaning that when customers point to a particular product on a display shelf, relevant information including brand videos and text will appear on a screen. A link will also be provided to order the product straight to your door (courtesy of Amazon, naturally).

“We want this unique venue to bring us one step closer to customers,” says John Boumphrey, Amazon’s UK Manager. “And it will be a place where we can collaborate with the industry and test new technologies.”

Currently, Amazon has no plans to open any other salon locations. The company is yet to reveal pricing details, or hint at where virtual haircuts could go from here.

In case you missed it, the tech giant also began trialling its first UK-based contactless grocery store last month, in Ealing, West London. Using sensors and AI to track shoppers, Amazon Fresh allows you to browse, pick up items, and leave without scanning them or visiting a till, removing even the slightest need for pesky human interaction.

Speaking of human interaction, Amazon recently came under fire for a series of seemingly-fake Twitter accounts, which popped up amid its ongoing fight against employees seeking to form a union. With stock photo profile pics, suspiciously low follower counts, and blanket anti-union sentiments, the “Amazon workers” have inspired their own category of meme. However, they haven’t dampened the enthusiasm of organisers, who continue to campaign on claims of poor treatment, including insufficient bathroom breaks and overbearing surveillance.

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