Last-mile luxury partner Toshi has won the annual LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Innovation Award, proving that the personal touch remains paramount to luxury retail, even as companies enter the metaverse.
The London-based startup received a double crown during the VivaTech conference event, taking not only the top prize, but also the operations and manufacturing award. The company specializes in luxury shopping and home delivery services. Berluti, Christian Dior Couture and Rimowa are among the LVMH brands that have already integrated the system into their online offerings. Toshi also works with Chanel, Erdem and Zimmermann.
Already available in London and New York, LVMH support will go towards launching in new markets, including Los Angeles, later in the year.
The service shows that customers still want a personal touch, but the event was organized by LVMH’s virtual ambassador, Livi. The grey-eyed avatar dressed in LVMH’s Patou and Fred brands. Still, the interactive presentation had a few glitches that brought laughs and proved that we still live in the real world.
LVMH President Bernard Arnault began the ceremony by interacting with the AI-animated host in a virtual apartment. He appeared on screen and thanked the 950 startups that applied to the challenge and “wanted to join the group to accelerate our progress.” He noted that 48 percent of companies were founded or co-founded by women.
Arnault joked with Livi that he is not his own boss. He is the client, he said, calling him “someone who inspires me, who challenges me every day and pushes the group to create appeal.”
“At LVMH, innovation is our lifeblood. It is what allows us to continually increase the convenience of our maison’s products and services,” he added.
After a presentation of the initial award winners and some ups and downs—”Let’s erase that from our memories,” the human MC joked—and an explosion of confetti, Arnault presented Toshi with the award for innovation.
Toshi founder Sojin Lee, formerly head of purchasing at Net-a-porter, told WWD that the personal touch is what was missing from the online shopping experience, which was subpar when delivered in a ubiquitous brown box. . “Basically, it’s delivering, which really doesn’t make any sense, considering luxury brands are all about engagement,” he said, adding, “We’re really going to define the last mile of luxury by elevating the whole experience.” .
Lee emphasized that the luxury experience must be elevated and encompassing. “Because if you don’t, no matter how much you’ve invested in the store, the website, the ad campaign, the shows, once the delivery comes that disconnect starts to happen, then you start having to spend money to get back to it. attract consumers. So you really want the last mile to reflect the first mile. It has to be flawless.”
Customers also have the option to try on multiple sizes and ship returns immediately, replicating an in-store experience, thus reducing returns, reverse logistics and ultimately markdowns and disposal.
In the other categories, MarqVision won the award for data and artificial intelligence. The company protects brand IP by detecting counterfeits to remove them from online sales.
In the 3D, virtual experience and Metaverse category, the Bitski NFT management system took home the award. It offers NFT storage and embedding services for websites, applications or games.
Gamino, which offers training to its employees to raise awareness among its clients with disabilities, took home the award for employee experience and corporate social responsibility.
In the media and brand awareness space, SeenThis, a streaming technology and video viewing service, won.
The ShowCase video presentation and packaging service, which offers hardware and software to enable remote shopping, won the omnichannel and retail award. Chaumet, Louis Vuitton and Tag Heuer are already using the technology.
In the sustainability sector, We Turn was the winner. The French start-up transforms unsold products and textiles into recycled yarns and fabrics. Christian Dior is one of the brands that has turned their old threads into new threads for the latest collection.
Jury members included LVMH Group Omnichannel Director Michael David, Human Resources and Talent Management Director Sandra Rimbot, Global Brand Director Mathilde Delhoume, Environmental Development Director Helene Valade, IT and technology, Franck Le Moal, and the director of operations, Mohamed Marfouk.
Winners will receive mentorship and join LVMH’s Maison des Startups business accelerator program at Station F in Paris. The winners will consult with the group’s 20 maisons to refine their technology.
In brief comments to reporters after the presentation, Arnault addressed the rise in interest rates, saying he remains optimistic. “The global economy is at a tipping point with inflation continuing to be so strong,” he said, adding that the Fed’s move should slow spending “without creating a recession.”
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