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Amazon Disrupting Hair Industry in the UK

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On 20th April, Amazon announced the opening of its new Hair Salon. The underlying technology of the new venture is augmented reality, where consumer can “Point & Learn” about the products on the shelf and then order it via Amazon website.

The first of its kind salon is opened at Brushfield Street in London’s Spitalfields, occupying 1500 sq. ft. (139 square meter). Explaining this new innovation Amazon mentioned:

Customers will be able to try out new hair colors virtually and capture their new look in a dedicated creative area

Customers can point the product on shelf and learn about it through videos and other related content to know more about the product. As well as, the AR technology will also allow customers to virtually try-on new hair color before making a buying decision. Thereafter, to order the product, consumer needs to scan a QR code from their phone which will take them directly to Amazon.co.uk to add the product in cart or check out.

Amazon has already embark into convenience, retail and grocery stores, disrupting it through technological initiatives such as; cashierless checkout, smart grocery carts and biometric systems. Similarly, the e-commerce billionaire, doesn’t seem to be interested in opening hair salons instead it is much focussed on building a new tech solutions for existing hair salon to implement. As in the case of current project, the company has collaborated with Elena Lavagni of Neville Hair & Beauty Salon, to help with this project, instead of hiring a new staff to run it long-term.

Currently, the project is in experimental stage, which gives an opportunity to explore customer interaction and experience while making buying decisions in terms of hair products. However, Amazon doesn’t clarifies; what kind data will be collected and how it will be used? Given the notorious history of Amazon being involved in selling biometric facial recognition services to law enforcement agencies in US, as well as facing lawsuit for data privacy. So it’s important for the customer to be fully informed about their level of involvement with this project.

Currently, the hair saloon will be initially open for employees only before offering bookings to general public.

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