Business Featured

Amazon – Amaz-off? | The Industry reacts to Amazon’s move into the Hairdressing Industry

April 23, 2021

With the surprise announcement this week that Amazon is making a move into the hairdressing industry with the opening of a hi-tech salon in London – Amazon’s UK Country Manager, John Boumphrey announced that it would have “the best technology, haircare products and stylists in the industry.”

Is a claim like this what salon owners and hairdressers want to hear after a year of lockdowns and now facing a tough road ahead to recovery, where every penny into their business counts?

We have asked a cross-section of the industry for their reaction to this news …


Amazon - Amaz-off? | The Industry reacts to Amazon's move into the Hairdressing Industry

Sean Dawson, Adam Reed London

“Although I am very supportive of any new salon or concept opening I have to say that personally I feel extremely let down that so called ‘professional’ partners have aligned and endorsed this venture which is truly another nail in salon industry’s coffin.

Retail sales are the only way we can reduce payroll costs which is a salon’s biggest overhead and to give this access to an online company that has offered our industry nothing is truly shameful.

I applaud Amazon who have been extremely open in saying that the ‘salon model’ is not where their focus lies but just access to the professional product market is and has always been their intention.

I just wish this same transparency was adapted by those that have secretly collaborated with this retail giant during what has been the most devastating period in our industry’s history with the COVID lockdown.

Our beloved industry has always been exploited by ‘outsiders’ who prey on our generosity, talent and our lack of value in ourselves but for me, this feels like the ultimate deception and this isn’t by an outsider, so finding this out through a news story a day before it opened broke my ‘hair heart’ even more.

It’s shameful, selfish and sums up the current culture of greed over loyalty and integrity and I hope I speak for every hairdresser out there.”

Anne Veck & Keith Mellon, Anne Veck Salons

“The tech innovations are inevitable and probably welcome because they will be what clients want. However, we are worried about the entry of Amazon into our industry. We’ve seen what they did in their early days to local bookshops. Their business practices and policies have been criticised as unethical and they have been criticised for being anti-competitive. They appear to aim to be a monopoly in every industry they enter. They face serious criticism of their treatment of both workers and customers, with concerns frequently raised about the unavailability of products on Amazon websites and the alleged appalling conditions experienced by employees in their warehouses. Their retail offer will undercut everyone else’s prices, both online and in salon. Personally we try very hard never to shop on Amazon, preferring to support local businesses. We fully understand how convenient Amazon is but for us, this is not great news!”

Clive Collins, Director, hob salons

“I believe Amazon have opened this salon as a one-off to enable them to sell the big four professional brands worldwide as without a high street salon they have not been able to be stockists and this now gives them the opportunity.  They are the giants of the online retail market.”

Debbie Digby, CEO Passion4hair

“This past year has created a reset in ALL aspects and our industry is no exception. Is it a surprise that Amazon have moved into the professional hair space? After all, haircare is a £1.7b opportunity. It is important to understand Amazon are not interested in hair services, they want to sell retail. So – be like Amazon, use the power of genuine recommendation that comes from a high level of care and professionalism. Your client believes and trusts you and wants salon professional hair. Post lockdown consumers want to support their local, independent businesses and one of the things we have experienced during this time is that the hairdresser is highly valued. This is an inspirational moment to take stock and ask, ‘What independent businesses should I be partnering with? What changes do I need to make as a salon of the future? How can I leverage this opportunity?’ Someone is going to survive the challenges our industry is facing, it should be you. “

Robert Masciave, Metropolis Salon

“I understand that the reaction is to reject it but we must ask why we feel that way.   It is because we feel vulnerable, the bottom line is not rejecting it but to understand why they want to do it and how they are going to do it.   There may be some things we can learn from it.   The important words are not Amazon are ‘opening a salon’ it is that Amazon are ‘opening a hi-tech salon.’   We are not going to have robots because we are not there yet, but they will be using technology and that is my point.  They will use what they have already available, and we need to learn from it.   They want to learn about clients behaviour coupled with how we carry out our services.  They will definitely develop a software – a point of sale a bit like Phorest or Shortcuts as they will want client information but think about it – they already have our client information on their software anyway through Amazon.   If they create a new software that will allow us to take appointments online and pay by amazon accounts so there is literally no exchange no credit card – you will see that this will definitely work for the client and seem really attractive.    We may not want to be part of it, but we may be forced to join it.  They want to be the market leaders in marketing, without clients there is no business but if they can help us attract the clients we want that is powerful and it will be the good route.  The argument will be that they are assisting us – and we will be referred – this is just the beginning, don’t put your head in the sand – try and understand what they are trying to do. Out of all this the question arises – how are we going to stay relevant within the salon?”