Luxury Delivery Start-up Toshi Takes Home LVMH Innovation Prize - WWD

Summary

Last-mile luxury partner Toshi has won LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s annual innovation prize, demonstrating that the personal touch is still paramount to luxury retail even as companies enter the metaverse.

The London-based start-up was given a double crown during the VivaTech conference event, taking not only the top prize but the operations and manufacturing prize as well. The company specializes in bringing luxury shopping and delivery services into the home. 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.

Last-mile luxury partner Toshi has won LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s annual innovation prize, demonstrating that the personal touch is still paramount to luxury retail even as companies enter the metaverse.

The London-based start-up was given a double crown during the VivaTech conference event, taking not only the top prize but the operations and manufacturing prize as well. The company specializes in bringing luxury shopping and delivery services into the home. 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, the LVMH support will go to launching in new markets, including Los Angles, by the end of the year.

The service demonstrates that customers still want a personal touch, but the event was hosted by LVMH’s virtual ambassador, Livi. The gray-eyed avatar was outfitted in LVMH brands Patou and Fred. Still, the interactive presentation had a few technical glitches that elicited laughter and proved that we are still living in the real world.

LVMH chair Bernard Arnault started the ceremony by interacting with the AI-animated host in a virtual apartment. He appeared on screen and thanked the 950 start-ups that applied to the challenge and “wanted to join the group to speed up our progress.” He noted that 48 percent of the companies were founded or cofounded by women.

Arnault joked with Livi that he is not his own boss. It’s the customer, he said, calling them “someone who inspires me, who challenges me every day and pushes the group to create desirability.”

“At LVMH, innovation is our lifeblood. It’s what allows us to continually increase the desirability of our maison’s products and services,” he added.

After a presentation of the initial prize winners and a few fits and starts — “Let’s erase that from our memories,” joked the human MC — and an explosion of confetti, Arnault presented the innovation prize to Toshi.

Toshi founder Sojin Lee, former chief buyer at Net-a-porter, told WWD the personal touch is what was missing from the online shopping experience, which was subpar when delivered in a ubiquitous brown box. “It’s being basically handed off, which doesn’t really make any sense, considering luxury brands are all about engagement,” she said, adding: “We’re going to really define luxury last mile by elevating the entire experience.”

Lee emphasized that the luxury experience needs to be elevated and all-encompassing. “Because if you don’t, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve invested in the store, the website, the ad campaign, the runway shows, once it gets to delivery, that disconnect starts to happen, then you start to have to spend money reengaging consumers. So you really want that last mile to reflect the first mile. It needs to be seamless.”

Customers also have the option to try on multiple sizes and send returns back immediately, replicating an in-store experience, thus reducing returns, reverse logistics and ultimately discounting and disposal.

In the other categories, MarqVision won the data and artificial intelligence prize. The company protects brand IP by detecting counterfeits to remove them from online sales.

In the 3D, virtual experience and Metaverse category, NFT management system Bitski took the prize. It offers NFT storage and embedding services for websites, apps or games.

Gamino, which offers employee training to raise awareness of customers with disabilities, took the employee experience and corporate social responsibility prize.

In the media and brand awareness space, SeenThis, a video display and streaming technology service won.

Video presentation and packaging service The ShowCase, which offers hardware and software to enable remote shopping, won the omnichannel and retail prize. 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 goods and textiles into recycled yarn and fabric. Christian Dior is among the brands that have turned their old threads into new yarns for the last collection.

Jurors included LVMH Group chief onmichannel officer Michael David, talent management and human resources director Sandra Rimbot, global brand officer Mathilde Delhoume, environment development director Helene Valade, IT and technology director Franck Le Moal, and operations director Mohamed Marfouk.

Winners will receive mentoring, as well as join LVMH’s Maison des Startups business acceleration program at Paris’ Station F. The winners consult with the group’s 20 maisons to perfect their tech.

In brief remarks to journalists after the presentation, Arnault addressed rising interest rates, stating that he remains optimistic. “The global economy is at a turning point with inflation continuing so strongly,” he said, adding that the Federal Reserve’s move should slow down spending “without creating a recession.”

FOR MORE ON LVMH FROM WWD.COM, SEE:

LVMH Luxury Ventures Invests in Lab-grown Diamond Maker Lusix

Harlem’s Fashion Row Partners With LVMH to Support Diverse Fashion Talent

Bernard Arnault Can Keep Running LVMH Until He’s 80

Luxury Delivery Start-up Toshi Takes Home LVMH Innovation Prize - WWD
Photo Credit: WWD

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