Amazon Salon hints at the e-commerce giant’s B2B ambitions

This story was initially printed in Modern Retail, our sibling publication.Amazon is opening a hair salon — however it factors to loftier ambitions.
In London, Amazon will quickly debut a bodily hair salon, known as Amazon Salon. A longtime salon proprietor named Elena Lavagni, together with a crew of newly employed stylists, will handle the haircare aspect of the enterprise. At first, solely Amazon staff will be capable of make appointments, however Amazon stated that it’s going to open to the public “in the coming weeks.”

In its assertion, the firm famous that this was, for now, merely an experimental one-off — “there are not any present plans to open every other Amazon Salon places.” Inside the retailer, everybody who reveals as much as the Amazon Salon, in the meantime, will get an Amazon Fire Tablet, the place they will watch reveals on Prime Video or purchase extra merchandise on-line. “Every a part of the expertise is layered in with some transaction that’s going to assist Amazon,” stated Michelle Kwon, managing companion at e-commerce consulting agency Kwontified. The retailer additionally integrates AR know-how, in order that prospects can see potential haircuts or hair colours on a display earlier than committing to them.
Few individuals most likely affiliate Amazon with the salon enterprise — however the firm has been making constant magnificence inroads. Over the previous few years, Amazon has quietly constructed out a profitable business-to-business platform for haircare companies in addition to particular person hair stylists and different professionals — and that, probably, will grow to be the main beneficiary of Amazon Salon. With that, the launch of a bodily salon appears a lot much less about capturing the income from chopping and coloring hair, and way more about constructing Amazon’s credibility as a provider {of professional} magnificence merchandise and sweetness know-how.
“I might say hair is the start line,” stated Kwon.
This isn’t Amazon’s first haircare foray. In 2019, the firm got here out with a product known as the Amazon Professional Beauty Store, which brings wholesale reductions to stylists trying to purchase hair and pores and skin merchandise to promote to their prospects.
That wholesale enterprise appears core to this newest salon endeavor. Although shoppers can present up and get their hair performed, the Amazon Salon can be very carefully tied to e-commerce. For close by stylists that need to purchase merchandise from the Amazon Professional Beauty Store, the Amazon Salon is basically a achievement hub — Amazon famous that it might provide fast deliveries, and no minimal order necessities, to stylists in the space who need to purchase wholesale merchandise.
To Kwon, the launch is a sign that Amazon thinks B-to-B can grow to be a significant section — and it needs to start out in the magnificence area. “B-to-B on Amazon as a complete will not be as huge as one would possibly suppose,” she stated. She famous that, proper now, most of Amazon’s B-to-B choices come via a program known as Amazon Business, which supplies corporations bulk reductions on merchandise. But she stated, “A number of companies don’t even flip it on, and proceed working as in the event that they’re a buyer.”
“I believe the sort of launch is basically Amazon saying we’re severe about B-to-B, we’re severe about increasing the B-to-B and wholesale a part of our transactions develop,” she stated. Kwon famous that, regardless of monitoring Amazon’s B-to-B magnificence efforts for years, “that is my first time saying, okay, they’re getting severe now. They need to ensure that this section of their enterprise is valued and rising.”  
Stephanie Wissink, an fairness analyst at Jefferies, wrote in a report this week that the new Amazon Salon seemed to be an extension of Amazon’s B-to-B push. She wrote that the Professional Beauty Store has stored sustained curiosity since its launch, and “the firm continues to provides manufacturers” throughout a number of segments inside the salon area. Across the salon business, product gross sales which can be bundled with companies make up 20% of total income, making salons a probably profitable marketplace for Amazon to seize.
Bigger enterprise ambitions
The extent to which Amazon sees its salon as a possible advertising and marketing outlet for different options — like its B-to-B aspect in the magnificence area — versus the extent to which Amazon is excited about offering haircare particularly stays an open query.
Kwon stated that Amazon is aware of that providing a service — like haircare — is the manner to usher in individuals. “I believe Amazon is aware of that to be able to get individuals right into a bodily area, there must be a useful purpose — on this case, minimize your hair, get your hair performed,” she stated. But she stated it wasn’t clear but whether or not Amazon would appeal to quite a lot of one-off, curious prospects, or whether or not the Amazon Salon would work effectively sufficient that it turns into a routine go to for a big swath of locals.
Kwon added that Amazon’s idea shops have, in the previous, diverse on this sense: whereas she stated Amazon Go is a well-liked, fast lunch vacation spot for workplace employees, Amazon 4-Star Store “has grow to be a vacationer attraction in Seattle.” Amazon, she stated, appears to take a wait-and-see method with these idea shops. “I don’t suppose Amazon had a grand plan after they began it out,” she stated of Amazon Go.
Leon Alexander, president of the salon consulting agency Eurisko, noticed greater ambitions. He recalled a quote Amazon gave when it first launched a bodily bookstore. “They stated we’re simply doing a one-off take a look at,” he advised Modern Retail. Now, Amazon has over a dozen Amazon Books places. He stated he sees salons in the identical vein. “For what purpose would you do a take a look at salon?” and nothing extra, he stated. “If they get this proper, which I believe they most likely will, will probably be a game-changer for the business.”
He speculated that, if the Amazon Salon good points traction in Europe, Amazon may probably launch its personal private-label salon model, in addition to develop its bodily footprint. “I believe what they’ll do for instance, in the States is that they’ll open in New York, Seattle, Chicago, these sorts of key areas,” he stated.

Recommended For You

About the Author: Jessica