LVMH inks game-changing tech deal with Google Cloud
LVMH announced on Wednesday that it has entered a strategic partnership with Google Cloud to “accelerate innovation and develop new cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) solutions”.
The ultimate aim for the luxury giant from this game-changing deal is to “create new, personalised customer experiences that foster long-term growth” for its portfolio of high-end labels.
The company said the link-up combines both companies’ “creativity, assets, technological capabilities, thirst for innovation and recognised positions in their respective markets”.
Technology is increasingly being embraced by a luxury sector that was once unwilling to engage with it and was focused more heavily on providing the ultimate luxury service via physical stores and events.
But more than a year of pandemic-linked restrictions, coming on top of years of tech growing in importance anyway, have seen the big luxe names pivoting to a new approach.
Only this week we heard about Chanel’s success with its app that boosted customer engagement during pandemic store closures, while Burberry has just released news of its latest online gaming link-up.
But this LVMH news is the biggest story to break in this area for some time.
While this is part of a general trend for technology to replace what might have once been done by people, LVMH added that it wants the partnership to “assist Maisons’ human talent”. It should do this by providing new AI and machine learning (ML) tech that can “improve business operations by enhancing demand forecasting and inventory optimisation”. And it “will elevate customer experiences through personalisation — while meeting LVMH’s strictest privacy and security requirements”.
The company said that AI “will increasingly touch every part of the value chain at LVMH, from product development to supply chain, to the interfaces with employees, partners, and customers”.
And in a further sign of its aim for the tech to support the people rather than the other way round, it will also get Google Cloud’s support in “enhancing its culture of innovation, including the creation of dedicated, inclusive upskilling and certification programs for Maisons’ teams”.
The two partners will “explore co-innovation opportunities and launch a Data and AI Academy in Paris to accelerate their expertise and innovation in these fields”.
At a very practical level, LVMH will use Google Cloud to modernise components of its IT infrastructure, “fostering the agility, security, cost efficiency and performance at scale required to support its business ambitions”.
The French group’s MD Toni Belloni described the partnership as “new, unprecedented and significant” and said it reflects the firm’s “high ambitions in this area”.
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