ITA Spotlight: InContext Solutions
Monday, August 19, 2019
Posted by: Gary Hotze
InContext Solutions Team
Have you ever wished you could see into the future? For retailers and brands, our software serves as a sort of crystal ball – we develop 3D store and product simulations that allow companies to visualize, test and present new in-store concepts that will engage customers - before they hit the shelves.
1. In 25 words or less, what is InContext Solutions all about?
Our unique platform allows companies to mitigate risk by visualizing and testing store concepts in a virtual space before creating anything in the real world.
2. What problem do you solve and how do you solve it better than the competition
Retailers and brands need to innovate their go-to-market processes if they want to keep up with today’s shoppers. We're driving ideas and innovation with virtual technology that enables teams to ideate, evaluate, and activate at speed, scale, and cost – minus the real-world risk.
We offer a one-of-a-kind enterprise-wide platform used by everyone from insights professionals to marketing teams to the c-suite. We give users access to cloud-based 3D store and product simulations, so they can better understand how shoppers react to in-store concepts and then share those learnings through hyper-realistic images and videos.
3. How did you get started?
InContext started out as the brain child of two of our co-founders, Rich Scamehorn and Tracey Wiedmeyer. With backgrounds in market research and technology, they wanted to figure out how to do virtual store research for large brands and scale it for the web. Initially, InContext mostly served as a consulting firm. After gaining more and more investors and clients, they quickly realized that there was a need for a SaaS platform allowing customers to use the simulation tools and do it themselves. Thus, ShopperMX was born in 2012.
6. Where do you see InContext in two years? Five? Ten?
We’re at an exciting point right now in that we are poised to completely transform the way brands and retailers go to market from here on out. In the long-term we are looking to expand our offerings and industries. Virtual and digital technology will be commonplace for everyday business needs, and we’ll be an integral part of that.
11. What motivates your employees to come to work every day?
We have great employee perks like happy hours, gym memberships, flex time—yet those things are just that: perks. The true driver is that InContext is at the forefront of innovation. We hire smart, creative people who are excited to work on groundbreaking technology and solutions that are revolutionizing the retail industry. It brings about a sense of pride and camaraderie amongst our teams and coworkers.
12. Why does InContext Solutions call Chicago its home?
Our company’s cofounders are both from the Midwest so they had a good support system from the outset. But even more than that, the Chicago area is home to a robust number of CPG and retail brands, and has a large technology presence. InContext intersects those two industries, so Chicago is a natural fit for our company headquarters.
13. What was the ‘aha’ moment when you realized InContext Solutions made it?
Around 2011 we realized that customers wanted a hands-on way to make their own changes to their in-store concepts in virtual, instead of relying on us to create every change for them. That was when we decided to create a SaaS platform that allowed them to take a more DIY approach. Soon after launching ShopperMX™, we had on-boarded many of the top CPG companies and retailers in the space.
15. How does InContext interact with the Chicago community?
InContext takes pride in being an active member of the Chicago and Midwest communities, and has supported and continues to support many local groups, including raising money for the Chicago Tech Academy and implementing a mentorship program there; participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chicago; involvement with Chicago Women Who Code and the Network of Executive Women; partnering with the Western Michigan University Food Marketing Association; leading the VRARA Midwest chapter; and you can also find us frequenting many local South Loop establishments!
17. What makes InContext stand out?
Our company is small but mighty. We offer a unique solution that involves web-based, enterprise-wide virtual simulations, something no one can do like we do it. We’re paving the way for new, innovative go-to-market processes and we’re creating a revolutionary precedent when it comes to retail planning.
20. This one is all you… anything else you want to tell us?
Just that we are super excited for what the future holds for retail technology and our role in creating smarter, forward-looking solutions for the retail landscape.