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The Seattle newspaper reported that Amazon had just opened a barbershop in London, the latest step to push from online sales to physical stores. At the same time, the move makes it clear that Amazon is collecting more real-world consumer data.
Specifically, the e-commerce giant opened a high-tech hair salon collaborating with a famous British hair stylist. This barbershop will be equipped with tablets with augmented reality technology in each seat so that customers can comfortably choose the hair colors before they do it. The salon also arranged walls printed with beauty products with QR codes for customers to scan and read detailed information and make purchases when needed.
For now, the salon will only be open to Amazon employees and will not be picking up outside visitors for the next few weeks.
Those who are aware of the matter speculate that the hair salon could be a step for Amazon to continue experimenting with and step into the computer vision technology it has used to observe people. Shop in the Amazon Go convenience store chain.
However, Sucharita Kodali analyst at Forrester said the move is a bit “confusing”. The hairstyle is quite personal and is not Amazon’s strong point. Also the hair industry is handcraft and not always welcoming high technology.
An Amazon spokesperson said the company is working with many major salon brands around the world to sell the technology.
Over the past few years, Aazmon has carefully entered physical store retail after spending decades taking over the online business. They built a physical bookstore in Seattle and now have 12 more locations. They also bought Whole Foods in 2017, and added hundreds of retail stores. The company also has many “4-star stores” to sell high-end products on the website.
The company also boosts sales of high-tech groceries. Its convenience store Go will scan customers’ phones upon entering, then use sensors and cameras mounted throughout the store to track buyers and automatically identify which products they choose. Customers will go out without checking in and the app will deduct money for what they buy.
Amazon opened its first Go store in Seattle in late 2016 with an official launch scheduled for March 2017. However, tech troubles delayed opening operations for months, through January 2018.
“They are experimenting and will definitely learn from this. What technology do people use, how do they shop on Amazon, how much does it cost to attract customers to a salon visit?” Sucharita Kodali said.
Amazon claims that customers will not have to log into their Amazon accounts to use the virtual reality feature to try out new hairstyles.
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