During Paris innovation show Viva Tech, LVMH revealed the winners of its sixth annual Innovation Award for retail focused technology start-ups. The ceremony was co-hosted by Livi, the Group’s avatar innovation ambassador. LVMH showcased the award winners, finalists, start-ups from previous editions plus innovative solutions, activations and world premiers from its own Maisons at an onsite pavilion space within the show ground.
The award’s overall winner was last mile luxury delivery service Toshi. The London-based start up founded in 2017 by Net-a-Porter alum Sojin Lee, offers an elite store-to-door delivery and returns service targeted at luxury brands. Current clients in London and New York include LVMH brands Berluti, Celine, Dior and Rimowa.
Toshi will launch in New York with Tiffany’s over the next couple of weeks. The numbers speak for themselves: a 40% increase in average order value, 30% increase in revenue and 30% reduction in returns. The service runs via Toshi’s proprietary technology which can be integrated with all major e-commerce platforms via a plug-in so I spoke to Toshi CTO Edwin Wills at Viva Tech to find out more.
Read on for the five most interesting technology focused projects from LVMH Maisons on show at Viva Tech.
How does Toshi work with brands?
Edwin Wills: There are two layers of standard deliveries. The store team can activate us to extend their reach beyond the store doors or at e-commerce level we can be activated at point of checkout. We provide a basic drop-off service in half hour time slots on a chosen date and can layer on different options on at the door to help to elevate the services a brand can offer.
What are the different service options you can provide?
EW: We offer a wait and try service and if you want to return the item you can hand it straight back. It’s seamless from both customer and store perspective as it goes back on the shelves as soon as possible. We can also bring additional sizes and offer items on consignment if a brand has a particular relationship with a customer. If they keep the item we can take payment at the door via the sales team. At the request of the store we can include a security 4-digit code which has to be repeated to us before we can complete the delivery.
What makes you stand out from the competition?
EW: We differentiate ourselves in that we have a luxury attitude rather than just a regular logistics attitude. Our assistants arrive dressed all in black with no logos or branding. They come primarily from a retail or luxury background so customer service is first and foremost in their training.
We are carbon neutral. In London we use a fleet of electric vehicles. In New York the EV structure is not yet in place as there are not enough charging points so we have to use fuel but have a carbon offset program in place until the structure matures.
Why should a luxury brand choose to work with you rather than execute the process themselves?
EW: The benefit is that we have we can work at multi-brand level. With logistics your margins are all in density. As a single brand even if you’ve got good volumes like a Louis Vuitton, you might have good density but still not enough to make it worthwhile.
LMVH Pavilion Top 5 Innovations
Tag Heuer: NFT Timepieces
Following the diamond pendant version of his own CryptoPunk created by Tiffany EVP Alexandre Arnault (and potentially also for a selection of other CryptoPunk owners. TBC.) comes another way to express proof of NFT ownership: Tag Heuer’s Connected Calibre E4 watch. Users can securely connect to various crypto wallets and select the NFTs — Bored Apes, CryptoPunks, World of Women et al) they want to display via a rolling NFT gallery on its face. Another clever utility which hasn’t received as much traction as it deserves is the avatar-led 7-minute workout feature of the watch’s built-in sports app.
Why it matters: For many, NFTs represent the gateway to the emerging Web 3.0 universe — which needs to be widely adopted if we are to reap the benefits. But being anchored in a physical world, non-Web 3.0 natives, still in the majority, aren’t ready for purely digital assets and need a connection to something tangible in order to feel their value.
Loewe: Virtual Shoefitter
The AR technology featured in Loewe’s sneaker try-on app is powered by neural networks and sophisticated 3D geometry algorithms, smoothly tracking the user as they rotate their feet and walk. The app is currently available to preview the brand’s ON sneaker collection ahead of its launch instore.
Why it matters: While there’s no shortage of virtual fit apps in the sneaker space, those of many competitors slip up when the user moves their feet as there is a time-lapse in the tracking. Loewe’s execution is flawless.
Bulgari: World’s Thinnest Watch And Metaverse In Progress
World premier reveal of Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Ultra – world’s thinnest mechanical watch at 1.8 mm thick — took place at Viva Tech. The QR code engraved on the ratchet wheel accesses a corresponding NFT artwork which serves as a proof of provenance. Only 10 of the watches will be created. Also on display was a teaser of Bulgari’s new Metaverse concept — a Web 3.0 shopping experience will sit amidst a futuristic reimagining of the landmarks of Rome where the brand was conceived.
Why it matters: Aside from its impressive technology, the Finissimo’s ‘Utility’ NFT component guarantees the authenticity of the physical item via the Aura blockchain. Aura being the blockchain consortium co-founded by LVMH, Prada Group, Cartier and OTB Group to help fight against counterfeiting and to promote transparency throughout a luxury product’s life cycle.
Fendi: Immersive crafting experience
Fendi’s ongoing Hand in Hand project celebrates local Italian craftsmanship through 20 limited-edition Fendi Baguette bags, hand crafted by a diverse group of artisans representing the different regions of Italy. At Viva Tech, the brand introduced a digital element. Visitors could could try their hand at bag weaving, operating virtual batons on a screen via touchless 3D-aware sensors.
Why it matters: It’s a way of showing how, rather than replacing it, technology and innovation can, literally, work hand in hand with craftsmanship to keep traditional skills and techniques alive and introduce them to a new audience.
Guerlain: The Reaverse
Guerlain Beauty’s Reaverse NFT project launched earlier this year with 1828 Cryptobee NFTs. Proceeds from the sale will help support the rewilding of the 69 acre Millière Valley conservation area in France. Each Cryptobee is unique and is linked to a specific parcel of land via its geographic coordinates. They were minted on the sustainable and energy efficient Proof of Stake blockchain, Tezos. The newest phase of the ongoing project — additional airdrops for current cryptobee holders — was announced at Viva Tech.
Why it matters: Just as sustainable production processes are important in the physical world, the same is true where Web 3.0 and NFTs are concerned. Plus it’s good to see a Web 3.0 project with tangible real world benefits. The project will continue to generate revenue as a feature of the NFT economy means that a percentage of the profit from each secondary market transaction reverts to the creator.