PARIS – Bambuser, a startup specializing in live shopping, won the annual LVMH MoÃ«t Hennessy Louis Vuitton innovation award for 2021, signaling that the chain is booming.
The luxury group took the stage at Vivatech for its fifth annual awards ceremony – continuing the tradition after last year’s event was moved online due to pandemic lockdowns.
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Among the changes to the show’s format, the master of ceremonies, with an actress reprising the role, accompanied by cello music live from the stage. It began with a brief monologue about the personal trials and tribulations of startup life – and when things take a new turn when âOne day LVMH steps in.
LVMH has intervened, in more than one way, in the reconfiguration of its jury process by adding a layer of internal executives to form a selection committee at the head of the different award categories. Group officials said the change was intended to ensure that winning startups are aligned with LVMH’s priorities, and that jury members would then act as internal mentors for the finalists.
The members of the selection committee, as well as Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH and Toni Belloni, CEO of the group, nominated the winner.
The first steps in the selection process involve a vote of some 300 employees, venture capitalists and members of the press, who list their top 10 picks – so the pool of 850 applicants was reduced to 28.
The leaders presiding over each category, including Group Environment Director HÃ©lÃ¨ne Valade and Onmichannel Chief Director Michael David, took to the stage, stepping forward to announce the finalists – the winners of each category.
These include Data & Data, a startup that analyzes transaction volumes to help luxury companies refine their marketing; Each One, which links refugees and migrants with work papers to multinational companies; game publisher Aglet who has sneaker fans competing for limited edition virtual sneakers from top labels, and reusable packaging specialist Hipli and Galy, who grow cotton from cells in bioreactors.
âBefore the pandemic we always said that the more time we spend online the more premium the in-person experiences become, it definitely is, I think we’re all set to get back together again,â remarked Ian Rogers, the former of the group. chief digital officer who has chaired the ceremony in the past, but has since grown into a startup himself – in the cryptocurrency realm.
In a brief pre-recorded speech projected on a screen, Arnault apologized for not being there in person and pledged to come next year. Scribbling on a piece of paper, he slipped it into a blue envelope and pushed it towards the camera, saying “here’s the winner”.
But shortly after the awards ceremony ended, the executive appeared in real life to walk through the group’s sprawling booth at Vivatech. Accompanied by his son Alexandre Arnault, the luxury titan made several stops, checking the Nona Source fabric resale platform, Hublot’s digital warranty certificate system, Dior’s virtual fitting application – which sticks on a visor on the image of a person on the screen – and a connected watch at Tag Heuer and packaging at Hipli. He also spoke with Bambuser’s sales manager, Sophie Abrahamsson, who offered him a demonstration before they posed for a photo together.
Bambuser is helping retailers buy live video, a trend that started in China around 2018, according to Abrahamsson. The startup is touting the channel as being useful for building communities, allowing retailers to host shows with staff or outside experts, while consumers can interact with comments and likes. Retailers can also use the medium to generate transactions through discounts, promo codes and exclusive offers.
When asked what excites him most about this year’s edition, Arnault was enthusiastic: âThe winner is great. “
“See you Monday,” someone shouted as he started to walk away from the cabin. Arnault paused.
“Monday is the big day for La Samaritaine,” he replied, walking through the maze of the fair, his entourage on his heels.
LVMH is inaugurating its La Samaritaine complex next week, the culmination of a â¬ 750 million renovation project that lasted more than a decade.
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