How InContext’s Retail Planning Tools Help Brands Stay Ahead of the Curve

How InContext’s Retail Planning Tools Help Brands Stay Ahead of the Curve

According to a recent Forbes article, between inflation and product choices, 2024 will be one of the most competitive years in retail yet. With increasing competition, shifting market trends, and changing consumer preferences, retail brands must adopt strategic planning approaches to drive growth and success. One key component of this strategy is the use of retail planning tools, which offer invaluable insights and capabilities to help brands make data-driven decisions, optimize operations, and enhance the overall customer experience. In this article, we’ll explore how the retail planning tools at InContext empower brands to stay ahead of the curve, from enhanced assortment planning and data-driven decision making to maximizing sales opportunities and fostering customer loyalty. Whether you’re a global brand or a budding business, the right planning tools can be the difference between thriving in a competitive market and falling behind.

What are retail planning tools?

Retail planning tools are software solutions designed to assist brands and retailers in optimizing various aspects of their operations to achieve strategic objectives. These tools encompass a wide range of functionalities, including:

  • In-store planning
  • Demand planning
  • Inventory management
  • Category management
  • Retail merchandise financial planning
  • Optimizing supply chains
  • Pricing optimization
  • Sales forecasting

Retail planning solutions can leverage advanced algorithms and analytics to analyze historical data, market trends, and customer behavior, enabling brands to make informed decisions about product assortment, budget and pricing strategies, and inventory levels. 

By providing actionable insights and facilitating scenario planning, these tools can empower brands and retailers to anticipate demand, minimize stockouts and overstocks, optimize product mix, and maximize profitability. Additionally, retail planning tools can enable collaboration across departments and stakeholders, ensuring alignment between business goals and operational execution.

But when it comes to running a business, can retail planning tools really make a difference?

If you want to stay competitive, absolutely. The good news is that there are lots of effective ways to win. One of those ways will be to lean into retail technology. InContext’s retail planning tools help brands stay ahead. 

Retail Planning Tools at InContext

So what are the retail planning tools at InContext that will help you stay ahead of the curve? Let’s dive in. 

Virtual Reality

InContext offers cutting-edge VR tools revolutionizing retail planning and execution.


ShopperMX is our enterprise virtual store platform, standing at the forefront of revolutionizing merchandise planning and retail growth strategies. Serving as the backbone for merchandising solutions, ShopperMX empowers retail teams to visualize stores in a digital twin environment, optimizing return on investment (ROI), driving revenue growth, and keeping pace with the ever-evolving marketplace. By harnessing cutting-edge virtual store technology and insights, ShopperMX offers a game-changing solution that enables brands to transform their approach to in-store planning.

Top benefits

Enhanced Shelf Planning: Through the integration of data and advanced virtual store technology, brands and retailers can reimagine their assortment and arrangement planning processes in a risk-free digital twin store.

Diverse Virtual Environments: Gain access to over 80 virtual store environments and a rich cache of digital store twins, 3D products, and SKUs, providing retailers with a comprehensive visualization toolkit.

Risk-Free Testing: ShopperMX empowers retailers to test various assortment strategies and product placements in a virtual space, mitigating risks associated with in-store changes based on best guesses.

Informed Decision-Making: Leverage ShopperMX’s insights and virtual capabilities to make data-driven decisions that enhance profitability and elevate the shopping experience.

Future-Proof Solutions: As virtual reality (VR) evolves, ShopperMX remains at the forefront of assortment planning, offering retailers a sustainable tool for driving growth and success.

Shopper MX is best for brands that are looking to:

  • Enhance the customer experience
  • Maximize sales
  • Prioritize operational efficiency
  • Grow sustainably

Arrangement AI

AI and machine learning are reshaping the retail landscape as we know it, offering businesses unparalleled insights into evolving consumer behavior. And at InContext, we are using it to help retailers get ahead with greater speed than ever before. Our AI tool, Arrangement AI, distinguishes itself in retail analytics by leveraging a vast proprietary customer dataset of over 2 million virtual shopping trips. Unlike other AI solutions, Arrangement AI draws insights from real-world, scenario-based data, accelerating decision-making, minimizing costs, and offering retailers a more efficient and cost-effective means of understanding customer preferences.

Top benefits

Swift Optimization: Arrangement AI empowers retailers to optimize shelf placement rapidly and accurately by simulating and forecasting the sales behavior of any planogram in a virtual environment, saving time and resources associated with manual testing and adjustments.

Data-Driven Decision-Making: With Arrangement AI, brands can make informed decisions based on real-time insights and experimentation with different sales scenarios, enabling them to fine-tune product placements and strategies to maximize sales and profitability.

Accelerated Innovation Cycle: By leveraging Arrangement AI to experiment with various product arrangement strategies and sales scenarios, brands can accelerate their innovation cycle, bringing new products to market faster and staying ahead of evolving market dynamics and consumer preferences.

Enhanced Agility: Arrangement AI offers retailers and brands the agility to promptly fine-tune recommendations or validate existing strategies without the need for extensive customer feedback, allowing them to respond quickly to changing market conditions and consumer behavior.

Improved Performance and Alignment: With Arrangement AI, brands can ensure that their product placement strategies are aligned with market trends and consumer preferences, ultimately driving improved performance, customer satisfaction, and long-term success.

Best for brands that are looking to:

  • Adapt quickly
  • Prioritize performance
  • Accelerate innovation

Augmented Reality

InContext’s innovative AR solutions offer powerful tools to enhance in-store visualization and optimize planogram testing.


Our augmented reality (AR) field enablement tool, SMX GO, redefines the way retail execution teams visualize displays, signage, and planograms on-site. By seamlessly integrating AR technology with InContext’s industry-leading 3D product assets, SMX GO empowers teams to fast track the sell-in process and collaborate effectively within the store environment by overlaying digital products against the physical store shelf.

With SMX GO, you can gain confidence in your in-store displays, captivating customers with immersive presentations while empowering field reps to uphold quality standards and streamline operations through seamless collaboration.

Top Benefits

Enhanced Visualization: SMX GO provides retail and brands teams with advanced visualization capabilities, allowing them to see virtual representations of planograms and displays directly within the physical store environment, ensuring they fit and look right within the space.

On-Site Planogram Validation: Innovative AR visualization enables retailers to validate planograms on-site, streamlining the process and eliminating the need for time-consuming manual checks or virtual studies.

Speed and Efficiency: By leveraging SMX GO, retailers can assess the effectiveness of different strategies, such as fixture placement and promotional displays, with speed and efficiency, leading to faster decision-making and implementation.

Improved Store Performance: SMX GO drives sales and enhances overall store performance. Retailers achieve their annual sales goals by using the app to increase the number of displays sold in their large-format channels.

Growth Opportunities: By harnessing the power of AR technology, SMX GO enables retailers to unlock new growth opportunities and deliver exceptional shopping experiences to their customers, ultimately driving business growth and success.

Best for brands that are looking to:

  • Optimize fitment and display placement
  • Enhance visual merchandising
  • Streamline on-site planogram validation
  • Drive growth opportunities quickly

The Top Ways Our Retail Planning Tools Help Brands Stay Ahead of the Curve

So now you know what our retail planning tools do but it’s just as important to understand how they actually help brands stay ahead of the curve. 

Let’s take a look at some of the top ways we can help. 

Secure the best spot on the shelf

Our suite of retail planning tools empowers brands to stay ahead of the curve by facilitating optimized assortment planning. Take ShopperMX, for instance. This innovative virtual store platform enables brands to visualize their retail concepts in a digital twin of the store, allowing for meticulous planning and optimization. By leveraging ShopperMX’s advanced analytics capabilities, brands can analyze market trends, consumer preferences, and historical sales data to inform their assortment decisions. For example, a leading health food brand may utilize ShopperMX to assess the performance of different product categories and identify emerging trends in consumers. With insights gleaned from ShopperMX’s comprehensive shopper insights capabilities, the brand can strategically plan their product assortment to feature the latest and most in-demand products, ensuring they secure the best spot on the shelf and stay ahead of competitors.

Help your brand stand out

Our retail planning tools empower brands to stand out by offering sophisticated features for testing and optimizing strategic space planning. With Shopper MX, brands can meticulously allocate physical retail space to various product categories or promotional displays, ensuring an optimal store layout that creates a customer-centric experience. By conducting virtual simulations and A/B testing different spatial arrangements, brands can refine their visual merchandising strategies to perfection. This meticulous approach not only enhances the overall shopping experience but also drives foot traffic and maximizes sales per square foot. For example, a brand like Kellogg’s can use these tools to optimize the placement of their cereals within a supermarket, ensuring they capture maximum customer attention and drive sales in a competitive retail environment.

Use data to make the right decisions

If there’s one thing we know at InContext, it’s that data matters. And not just any data, the right kind of data. We help brands revolutionize their strategic decisions by offering robust data analytics capabilities. Our virtual shopper insights enable brands to harness the power of data to drive informed decision-making processes. By meticulously analyzing sales performance, customer feedback, and market trends, brands can gain valuable insights into their operations and consumer behavior. With this knowledge, brands can identify untapped growth opportunities, improve category management,  refine their marketing strategies, and pivot swiftly to align with evolving consumer preferences. This data-driven approach creates a roadmap to success and  enables brands to stay agile in a competitive market landscape, ensuring they remain ahead of the curve and maintain a strong foothold in their respective industries. 

Execute in record time

SMX GO, our augmented reality (AR) field enablement tool, revolutionizes the retail landscape by providing brands with a powerful tool to execute and validate store planning strategies in record time. For instance, imagine a brand within a grocery store retailer using AR to optimize an in-store display. With advanced visualization capabilities, they can overlay virtual representations of planograms and store layouts directly within the physical environment, enhancing their ability to quickly captivate customers with immersive presentations. This enables field reps to uphold quality standards and streamline operations through seamless collaboration. SMX GO offers real-time feedback on the implementation of various strategies, such as fixture placement and signage configurations, allowing for quick adjustments to optimize sales performance. By validating planograms on-site and eliminating time-consuming manual checks, retailers can ensure speed and efficiency in decision-making and implementation. 

Make collaboration count

When it comes to retail success, it’s all about sharing the right information with the right people. Our retail planning tools serve as a catalyst for fostering collaboration and communication among cross-functional teams engaged in various aspects of retail operations, spanning merchandising, marketing, sales, and finance. These tools provide a centralized platform where teams can seamlessly collaborate, share insights, and coordinate activities, streamlining workflows and enhancing overall efficiency. By consolidating data and workflows into a unified interface, retail planning tools ensure alignment across departments, breaking down silos and promoting a culture of teamwork and synergy. Team members can access real-time information, collaborate on projects, and track progress collectively, facilitating smoother coordination and decision-making processes.

Never lose sight of performance

The battle for customer attention isn’t over once your products hit the shelf. Our retail planning tools enable brands to engage in continuous performance monitoring by offering insights into key performance metrics and KPIs, including replenishment, markdowns, and allocation. This functionality empowers brands to track progress against predefined goals and objectives seamlessly, ensuring transparency and accountability across the organization. With the ability to monitor performance metrics such as replenishment rates and markdown effectiveness, brands can swiftly identify improvement areas and promptly address operational inefficiencies, ultimately bolstering the bottom line. By staying proactive in optimizing performance across replenishment, markdowns, and allocation, brands can mitigate risks, capitalize on emerging opportunities, and maintain a competitive edge in a dynamic market environment.

Following trends can work, but have you ever been the trend setter? Our retail planning tools help brands to anticipate and respond to changing customer needs and preferences effectively. With Arrangement AI, leveraging advanced analytics and data-driven insights, brands can analyze shopper data to gain a deep understanding of their target audience’s preferences, behaviors, and purchasing patterns. With this valuable information at their fingertips, brands can tailor their marketing campaigns, promotions, and product offerings to resonate with their target audiences. By delivering personalized experiences and relevant content, brands can enhance customer engagement, foster loyalty, and drive repeat business.

Retail planning tools also enable brands to adapt quickly to emerging trends and market shifts, allowing them to stay agile and responsive to changing customer demands. By continuously monitoring shopper insights and market trends, brands can make informed decisions that meet the evolving needs of their customers, ultimately driving long-term success and competitive advantage in the retail industry.

Get Ahead of the Curve With InContext

At InContext, our suite of retail planning tools offers brands a comprehensive solution to navigate the ever-evolving nature of the retail industry. From securing prime shelf space through optimized retail assortment planning to fostering responsive customer engagement, our tools empower brands to stay ahead of the curve in a competitive market environment. By harnessing the power of data-driven decision-making, enhanced collaboration, continuous performance monitoring, and strategic space planning, brands can streamline their retail operations, drive business growth, and deliver exceptional shopping experiences to their customers. With InContext’s retail planning tools, brands can unlock new opportunities for innovation, adaptability, and success.

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