Nonstop VR at Techweek's FinTech Event

The tech scene in Chicago is no joke, which is why industry vets and budding entrepreneurs alike flock together each year during Techweek for speaking sessions, demos and parties. This year we were invited to attend as one of a few select companies to demo VR at Chicago Tech Meets FinTech: A Peek Inside Capital One. The event, held at Capital One’s new 50th floor collaboration space, offered robot wars, virtual reality experiences, music, food and drinks, and was a hit with the over 400 attendees.

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Amazon, Whole Foods, and the Future of Brick and Mortar

As the news broke today that Amazon is buying Whole Foods for more than $13 billion, the industry began buzzing about what such a huge acquisition means for retail. The fact is, Whole Foods, while wildly popular, still struggled with the pressures felt by all brick and mortar retailers today—namely, the need to continually innovate and evolve along with the constantly moving landscape. The push for online, local and organic grocery has contributed to the competitive market.

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VR with a View: VRARA Chicago

We knew Chicago was already on the road to becoming a legitimate tech hub when we started InContext back in 2009. But never has it been so obvious just how innovative the city has really become than learning about some amazing startups at the VR/AR Association Chicago chapter launch event that took place yesterday evening.

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Apple Tells Us What We Already Knew: VR is Here to Stay

If it wasn’t pretty obvious already, Apple just made it loud and clear that VR isn’t a passing fad. Virtual reality has always been a PC-users’ game, but that changed this week when Apple announced its new computers will be able to support external graphics hardware – ie. VR and AR technology. The new iMac Pro will actually have VR capabilities built in to the system.

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Why Defining “Shopper” Matters

When we talk about the retail landscape, it’s easy to use the words “shopper” and “consumer” interchangeably. A recent LinkedIn article went in depth on the subject, and it make a lot of sense. Basically it defines a “shopper” as the person in front of the products, making the decisions on what to purchase. The “consumer” is the person actually using the products—whether they’re eating the food, wearing the clothes, or using the pet shampoo to wash the dog. Sometimes these are one in the same, and sometimes they’re not.

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VR: Retail’s Universal Language

Blame it on smartphones, social media, whatever you want—but the fact is, our society as a whole tends to be drawn to the visual. When we don’t know how to do something, we jump online to watch an instructional video. We document our lives on Instagram and we upload more than 400 hours of video content to YouTube every minute. So then why in the retail and CPG industry are so many companies still using documents and PDF slides to convey the impact of a new in-store concept?

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Stop Focusing on “Digital”

We’re a tech company, so it’s only natural that we think quite highly of the impact technology has had on business processes, and we talk about it on the regular. But as new, trending technologies continue to pop up in a slew of different industries, the hype around artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, automation, IoT, Big Data (…and the list goes on) can get overwhelming.

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The Challenge to Innovate

In a recent post from the popular long-form blog Wait But Why, Tim Urban talks about how quickly technology is changing, saying “The amount that changed between 1750 and 2017 might happen again between now and another time when you’re still alive. This is a ridiculous time to be alive—it’s just hard for us to notice because we live life so zoomed in.”

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2 Big Reasons Why Shopper Marketing + VR is a No-Brainer

In today’s world of CPG and retail, much attention is given to shifting store footprints, and how to reimagine the center store for a more personalized customer experience. But a big part of why those customers buy what they buy has to do with shopper marketing. The need for innovative methods of drawing shoppers in and keeping them engaged has become a necessity for brick and mortar locations, and as technology changes the way we shop, technology is also rapidly changing the role of the shopper marketer.

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Virtual, Reality, and Living in the Cloud

Back in the 1980s, the most disruptive technology to hit in-store planning and category management was the introduction of JDA software—and it remains an integral part of the industry to this day. But the difference now is that technology has grown exponentially and changed the way consumers shop. We hear it over and over, but as the ways to discover, research, browse, and buy continue to evolve, so must the ways in which we develop in-store concepts. 

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Our virtual store research experts and 3D technologists think about shoppers. A lot. They think about what people buy, why they buy it and how you can encourage them to buy more of it.

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