From book shop to tat bazaar to cloud behemoth to grocer, what's Amazon up to now? Augmented-reality hairstyles
Curl up and dye, anyone?
Though Smaug-like CEO Jeff Bezos is famously a hairless wonder, Amazon is striking out into yet more new territory with a London salon.
So that's book shop cum everything shop cum cloud powerhouse cum grocer cum hair stylist.
Amazon first made its bricks-and-mortar presence known after its purchase of US grocer Whole Foods when it started offering supermarket-esque delivery services under the Amazon Fresh name.
Physical Amazon Go stores followed, where punters could walk in, grab their shopping, and – thanks to ever-watchful cameras and sensors – leave without having to negotiate self-service counters or miserable floor staff. Money for the services rendered then leaves the shopper's account as if by magic.
Amazon Salon, as it is imaginatively called, won't let customers come in and cut their own hair, however. That's being handled by Elena Lavagni, owner of Neville Hair & Beauty, an independent salon based in London.
Not without the help of some cutting-edge (hurr) tech, though. After all, this is the company that shoved the eavesdropping voice assistant Alexa into far too many homes around the world.
"At Amazon Salon, customers will be able to experiment with different virtual hair colours using augmented reality technology, enjoy entertainment on Fire tablets at each styling station and capture their new look in a dedicated creative area," Bezos' behemoth burbled.
So before you decide to go all in with luminous e-girl pink, Amazon will let you know whether you need to re-evaluate your life.
It is also an opportunity for the e-commerce empire to plug its recently launched hairdressing supplies biz, Amazon Professional Beauty, into the back.
The announcement said: "Showcasing a selection of bestselling professional hair care products, the salon 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.co.uk and purchase, with delivery direct to their home."
The two-floor, 1,500sq ft premises will at first only be open to Amazon employees, located, as it is, in trendy Spitalfields a stone's throw away from the company's UK headquarters. Joe or Joanne Public will be able to book appointments in the coming weeks.
However, Amazon Salon looks like a one-off. The company said it had "no current plans" to open up in any additional locations – so don't expect Bezos to ruck up on a royal visit to swipe through a number of a ridiculous bit wigs. ®