Going to the salon to for a new hair color or cut can be quite the luxurious experience. From getting your scalp massaged in the wash sink and zoning out while the stylist puts foils in for highlights to gossiping about the latest pop news, salon trips bring a certain level of escapism from the real world.
One retailer that's looking to bump up that high-end salon experience is Saks Fifth Avenue. The posh department store, in partnership with the Warren-Tricomi hair salon chain's Joel Warren, is introducing a new salon concept for its brick-and-mortar locations — with a twist. In addition to the usual salon services, including hair care and manicures, customers will now be able to try on products like lipsticks from the salon's inventory via virtual reality (VR) technology. Upon finding the right shade of gloss or other beauty product, salon employees can instantly ring up the order through an iPad.
"This is the salon of the future by combining stores like Apple, Sephora and a high-end salon and spa," said Warren, hairstylist and Warren-Tricomi co-founder. "As soon as guests walk in, they will literally enter a virtual reality. Screens will be set up right at the entrance, which will allow clients the ability to virtually try on lipsticks and other cosmetics, then purchase products or add-on services on the spot."
In addition to the augmented reality (AR) experience, this new salon concept will include hair care, skin care, beauty services, a medical spa and retail. These ten 3,000-square-foot to 5,000-square-foot spaces will be rolling out over the next few years with the initial concept salon launching at Saks' Huntington, New York, store this fall.
The style aesthetic for these salons have been described as "20th-century retro meets modern classical glamour," including concierges with iPads replacing the traditional front desk check-in spots to provide for customer demand.
With this new AR salon, and with places like Sephora installing interactive iPads, it appears the beauty industry is moving forward full-force with tech integrations to help enhance the in-store customer experience.