Hospitality and Retail Management students will have the opportunity to use the ShopperMX 3D simulation software this year.
Texas Tech University's College of Human Sciences announced today (Sept. 23) that InContext Solutions will provide ShopperMX™-related software to the college's Department of Hospitality and Retail Management for the 2019-20 academic year.
InContext Solutions, the world's leading supplier of 3D retail-simulation software, is working with Deborah C. Fowler, associate chairperson and professor in the department, to provide an in-kind gift of $600,000 worth of software that will allow students to succeed in the job market as retail continues its generational transformation.
"We are very honored to be part of the Retail Category Management curriculum," said Tracey Wiedmeyer, co-founder and chief technology officer of InContext Solutions. "It means students will be able to enter the job market ready to hit the ground running, armed with state-of-the-art merchandising best practices. The ShopperMX™ University Certification will signal they are ready to transform retail well into the future, and we are proud to support this alongside the Texas Tech hospitality and retail management department."
Fowler's students will become certified in ShopperMX™, InContext Solutions' 3D merchandising platform. They will be able to design, test and implement a range of merchandising strategies and techniques. Donated virtual reality (VR) headsets and real-world industry examples will inspire immersive collaboration in the classroom, allowing students to understand how merchandising strategies affect end consumers. The certification program will ensure the next generation of category managers and retail merchandisers have the necessary skills to prepare them for roles as leaders in the retail industry.
Last year, Fowler attended the JDA ICON Conference in Grapevine, an important event for leaders in manufacturing, wholesale distribution, transportation and logistics, retail and services industries. There, she sat in on a presentation by Mark Hardy, president of InContext Solutions, and Kent Ruesink, senior director for product management group JDA Software Group Inc., on the collaboration of JDA and InContext Solutions.
"I knew I wanted my students to have the opportunity to learn more about InContext Solutions and Shopper MX™," Fowler said. "At Texas Tech, we want our students to have the best background possible and to have the most up-to-date curriculum. Having taught JDA Space Planning and Floor Planning for 20 years and seeing the evolution of retail software, I was stunned to see where we are now. The addition of this content to our curriculum will truly prepare our students for the future."
JDA is a longtime supporter of the Retail Management program. Robert Paul Jones, chairperson for hospitality and retail management, said Hardy was quick to jump on board, helping the program to add InContext Solutions' ShopperMX™ into JDA curriculum.
"Technology and analytics are driving the retail industry today," Jones said. "Our goal at Texas Tech is to have our students prepared not to simply enter that world, but to excel in it. We can only achieve that goal with the help and support of our outstanding industry partners such as InContext Solutions. Being able to provide VR training for our students gives them visibility into the future of retail and sets them apart in the marketplace. We are truly grateful to have industry leaders like Mark Hardy and InContext willing to help us educate tomorrow's leaders."