One of the biggest frustrations facing every micro market operator is theft. While my company worked hard at trying to monitor and control theft in our Venue Fresh Markets, trying to catch a micro market thief was both time-consuming and costly. Panoptyc is changing all that with its video monitoring technology and support programs.
I totally agree with the sentiments of leading industry consultant Steve Closser of Translucent. “I wish Panoptyc had been around when I was a micro market operator,” he said.
Mac was busy in college
Mac Bolak is the founder and CEO of Panoptyc. In college, Bolak started a company that edited basketball games using artificial intelligence (AI). “I worked for basketball teams to help the coaches prepare for upcoming games. There would be a ton of footage to watch and classify what happened. Like - this guy scored, this guy got a rebound, this guy got an assist - so we built software that recognized all of that,” he explained. Once out of college, Bolak took what he learned from that company and applied it to micro markets.
“If we can recognize somebody stealing a basketball, we can recognize someone stealing a candy bar,” said Bolak.
Looking for red flags
Panoptyc provides a video security system for micro market operators that uses AI to identify anomalies in customer behavior –red flags that are indicative of possible product theft. While Bolak does not want to give too much info away to potential thieves, he did offer some examples of red flags that are picked up by the Panoptyc system.
- When someone walks through the micro market without buying anything.
- When someone walks into the market, picks up a product and does not make a purchase.
- A wide variety of “funny business” that happens near the kiosk.
Providing the evidence
Most importantly, once the anomalies are identified, Panoptyc provides analysis of the video and a report for the operator to understand exactly what is happening at the location. Panoptyc offers different tiers of support depending on the operator’s needs.
An affordable solution
Is the technology affordable? According to Steve and Patty Closser, the program is not expensive, especially when an operator considers what they are getting when they choose Panoptyc. “It really offers so much, including a flexible program that allows you to come in and out of their various monitoring programs as the operator sees fit. There is some major flexibility,” said Patty Closser.
“Operators are short staffed when it comes to servicing their markets,” she added. “Who has the time or the staff that can be assigned to review camera footage for theft?”
Bolak said he is focused on making Panoptyc products affordable for all operators. “From a price point perspective, you're looking at anywhere from about $40 a month to $150 a month. There's a premium package that you're only going to want to put in really high theft locations, but we have deals with USG, for example, where you can get our camera and you can get a base theft detection plan for a very affordable price,” Bolak explained.
Operators are buying in
From all indications, operators are buying in. “We have installed thousands of these cameras, 800 for one company alone,” said Steve Closser, who points to the live feed, directly to an operator’s smartphone, as an important feature. “It’s a great leadership and management tool,” he said. “For example, on a day when your company is suddenly short staffed, you can look at a location on your phone to determine if that market needs to be serviced or if it can go another day.”
Rick Konop, route operations director at Be's Refreshment in Green Bay, Wisconsin, operates over 200 micro markets. “We started out with a different micro market camera system and determined that the amount of resources needed to monitor the program ourselves was not cost effective,” he said. Moving forward, Be’s Refreshment will be working with Panoptyc exclusively.
“We really appreciate the flexibility of the program,” added Konop. “We can use different tiers of the program depending on whether or not we have a problem in a location.”
Panoptyc has exceeded Konop’s expectations. “Frankly, the fact that they can do these deep dives for us and put reports together, plus we get a snapshot from the kiosks, we get video footage, and we get an explanation along with timestamped materials. That is huge when you're presenting to a customer who has a theft situation,” he said.
Bolak said that to get a client to cover micro market theft losses, it helps to show them some evidence. “We might catch someone stealing 10 times for $70. We've caught people who have stolen over a $1,000 worth of goods from the micro market,” he said. Bolak added that this type of compelling evidence is an eye opener for some clients that makes it easy to have a conversation about their participation in covering the losses. “Many operators are taking that approach using our technology,” said Bolak. “It’s exciting, because those payments go right back to the operator’s bottom line.”
Panoptyc makes sense
Bolak is clear about the three reasons why Panoptyc makes sense for operators:
- Panoptyc is a cost-efficient solution to micro market theft reduction.
- Beyond theft, the real-time video feed from the location makes Panoptyc a strong training tool.
- Panoptyc promotes route efficiency, with a support tier that notifies an operator if micro market inventories are getting too low.
Leaving operators amazed
“On a regular basis, I see operators who are amazed by what they see after trying Panoptyc. They are shocked after seeing the $1,000 a month thief who is doing 100% of the stealing in a location. We’ll catch that guy,” said Bolak. “Or, they are so happy after seeing the level of efficiency they can achieve because they learn that a market is being under or overserviced. And sometimes, they find out that the route driver they hired isn’t doing the job the way it needs to be done. Panoptyc has many applications that all work nicely for micro market operators,” he added.
To learn more about Panoptyc, email email@example.com or call 313-425-5765.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bob Tullio is a content specialist, speaker, sales trainer and business columnist who advises entrepreneurs on how to build a successful business from the ground up. He also specializes in helping suppliers connect with operators in the convenience services industry - coffee service, vending, micro markets and pantry service specifically.
Tullio delivers this promise to any company that hires him for a 30-minute or 1-hour Zoom call: "That short session will elevate the performance of your sales team.”
Tullio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818 261-1758.