Amazon's decision to open a hair salon in Central London is an indication that the online behemoth is now 'testing the waters for a more holistic offer', a leading industry analyst has said.
Chris Elliott, head of market insights at Edge by Ascential was commenting after Amazon announced that it was launching a 1,500 square foot hair salon on Brushfield Street in London’s Spitalfields.
Set over two floors, and featuring styling services by Elena Lavagni, owner of Neville Hair & Beauty, Amazon Salon promises augmented reality (AR) hair consultations and point-and-learn technology, among other services, Amazon said.
"Amazon's new salon in London is the latest example of its ambition to expand into other retail categories and channels," Elliott said.
"Whilst it has established itself as a leading online marketplace, the retail heavyweight is now testing the waters for a more holistic offer, demonstrated also by its foray into physical grocery via its new UK Amazon Fresh stores."
According to Elliott, Amazon's approach to offering streamlined experiences driven by customer-focused technology means that it could son become a "major challenger" in the health and beauty sphere.
"What's particularly interesting here is the strong moves Amazon is making into services industries, like in the US where Amazon is training drivers to install appliances. If they succeed, this could have a significant impact on many established players," he said.
Amazon Salon is initially open to Amazon employees only, but will open to bookings from the general public in the coming weeks. There are no plans to open any additional Amazon Salon outlets.
Commenting on the venture, John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager, Amazon, said, “We have designed this salon for customers to come and experience some of the best technology, hair care products and stylists in the industry.
“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.”
Separately, Amazon recently announced the introduction of biometric payment solutions at its Whole Foods stores.