Software company InContext Solutions, which specialises in 3D simulation software and virtual reality solutions for retail, has expanded its core offering into apparel and footwear.

The firm's ShopperMX solution includes customised offerings for both apparel and footwear retailers and brands, enabling companies to digitise sampling, visual merchandising, and store communications to help reduce the costs of prototyping, enhance the customer experience, and improve operational compliance.

They can build and navigate virtual showrooms and/or scale brick and mortar stores in 3D by desktop or virtual reality headset – with visual merchants able to make real-time changes to micro and macro space including fixtures, product arrangement, assortment, and styling.

It is also possible to garner near-real-time feedback on store merchandising and experience from shoppers during planning; as well as deploy store-specific merchandising instruction down to managers through a mobile or web-based application.

Due to the complexities in sourcing and production, the apparel and footwear industries have been historically slow to adopt new technology and have instead relied on business processes rooted in tradition, resulting in high travel and shipping costs, merchandising execution challenges, and outdated shopping experiences, the Chicago-based company says.

"Through discussions with major manufacturers and retailers in footwear and apparel, it became clear that there was a significant opportunity for technology to disrupt the sourcing, merchandising, and operations process," says David Rich, CEO of InContext Solutions.

"It is imperative for retailers to adapt at a faster pace, reinventing their shopping experience to stay relevant to today's consumer and create a reason to visit their stores. ShopperMX not only helps retailers streamline their store planning process, but it also creates an experimental platform for forward-thinking retailers to iterate the store experience."

On average, InContext Solutions claims to have been able to help brands reduce the cost of sampling by 65%, increase the speed to market by 40%, and improve store audit compliance by 32%.  

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