A new trend from Japan, but will it work for Hair and Beauty Salons?

Japan has always been one of the first to adopt technological innovations and welcome the evolution of everyday habits. And now a piece of news in the Japanese cosmetics market has caught our attention: “The First Language-Free Digital Store has opened in Tokyo”.

What does it mean exactly? Should we and how can we begin preparing for this revolution?

First off, it is billed as a new technological achievement that is advancing frontiers in the communication of merchandising. A Lush concept store was unveiled in in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, being described as the world’s first language-free store. It was not by chance that the first language-free digital store was presented in Japan, where any other language but the local one is hardly understood (including English). The store is described as using icons and videos to help clients navigate the products without words. The immersive space can therefore be enjoyed by local and international visitors alike, who will delight in the vast range of new products on offer. An in-app with camera function allows customers to recognise products and access product info. The store also boasts several digital devices designed to create a complete shopping experience, including interactive walls, app-controlled lighting, and giant shower jellies that play sounds when wobbled. Even when the store closes, customers can still “visit” the products through the window display open non-stop after hours.

The system can easily be adapted to many other kinds of product sales and services. We can imagine that the world of beauty salons could be redesigned with applications that can propose customized solutions for each client. Does that mean that the people working in beauty salon will lose one of their main added values… the ability to interact with clients, interpret their needs and propose proper solutions? Not necessarily: a language free app can probably help out when the language barrier exists, but the presence and the suggestion of a professional stylist (for example) will never be out of fashion.   Let’s embrace technology for the enhancements it can offer to all professions, but never let it take over or rule out human interaction and the inestimable value of a wonderful experience.