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Brief Published: 6 May 2021

Amazon Launches New Omnichannel Brand Spaces

Amazon's AR Salon

Continuing its mission to create the benchmark in seamless shopping, Amazon’s new forays into physical space – an AR beauty salon in London and a checkout-free supermarket in Connecticut – harness cutting edge tech in pursuit of omnichannel excellence.   

The AR-Enabled Phygital Salon: The Amazon Salon is a temporary takeover of the East London branch of London chain Neville Hair & Beauty. It features AR mirrors enabling visitors to preview different hair colours and a combination of gestural tech and QR code-laden shelves and displays that reveal product information. Simply pointing a finger at an item reveals reviews and product videos on a nearby screen. When such info is activated, a QR code also surfaces on the closest display screen; consumers simply scan it with a smartphone to buy the product (on Amazon).

Staffed by Neville hairdressers, it’s currently only accessible to Amazon employees, but will open to the public in late May. Fully experimental, Amazon has no current plans for roll-out, but it notably follows the launch of the brand’s Alexa-equipped beauty salon we reported on in 2019.

Grab-&-Go Tech in Full-Size Supermarkets: Five years on from the first Amazon Go supermarket, which replaced traditional checkouts with advanced visual recognition and tracking technologies connected to a smartphone app, a new 34,000 sq ft Amazon supermarket (three times larger than any previous iterations) is reported to be arriving in Connecticut soon.

After scanning their smartphones at entry gates, shoppers are tracked by AI-powered cameras and shelf sensors (Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology) then charged for what they take. The entrance check-in authorises access to the credit card linked to the customer’s Amazon account. 

Shoppers will trade a lot for convenience – a 2021 survey by global shopping mall chain Westfield found that 49% of millennials would share their DNA for a better shopping experience (see The Brief for more). 

See also Supercharging the Supermarket, Biometric Brandscapes and Retail: Embracing Onboarding.