Symphony RetailAI, Addison, Texas, announced a partnership with InContext Solutions, Chicago. This partnership supports Symphony RetailAI’s merchandising initiative and allows retailers to identify, design and test category and store layouts in an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled virtual environment.

“Historically, retailers have found investment in store-layout optimization to be prohibitively expensive,” says Pallab Chatterjee, chief executive officer, Symphony RetailAI. “However, by virtualizing the process of category- and store-planogram design and testing, Symphony RetailAI and InContext Solutions are able to help retailers create agile store layouts that keep pace with rapidly changing market conditions. In addition to saving time and money building new store environments, retailers see instant and measurable impact through improved category growth and customer outcomes, visualized by easy-to-use overlay analytics on performance.”

Now, Symphony RetailAI’s space planning solutions are enhanced through InContext Solutions’ advanced virtual reality (VR) technology—ShopperMX platform—which enables retailers to streamline the space planning process and drive more effective use of physical store real estate.

“Using machine learning to intelligently optimize trade promotion spend and model new layouts with virtual simulation testing presents unprecedented efficiency and confidence for retailers when it comes to incremental resets or significant format redesigns that impact category and store profit,” says David Rich, executive chairman and CEO of InContext Solutions. “We are excited about the opportunity to deliver a unique solution to our combined customer base—a robust planning and optimization solution that enables an end-to-end experience from demand planning to store execution. In doing so, we’re extending the proven value of our solutions and providing a service unavailable elsewhere in the market.”

Through this partnership, optimized planograms developed using Symphony RetailAI Store Planning and Optimization will be integrated with InContext Solutions’ ShopperMX 3D Content & Curation platform to make multi-user VR testing possible. By creating a unified feedback loop between the AI-enabled planning solution and VR testing process, users can refine the planogram before updates are made to physical stores.