DTiQ: A "Smart" Solution to Manage Retail Operations and Loss Prevention

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Mike Coffey, CEO Nearly two decades ago, a popular specialty retailer began to weigh the benefits of supporting an internal loss prevention department versus shifting to an outsourced model for the same. Like most players in the space, the retailer struggled with a high associate turnover rate and limited internal resources. These issues quickly escalated into massive losses, which were beyond acceptable levels. The need to re-evaluate their existing loss prevention practices was evident, as visibility into their stores and associate activities was limited, and their shrink rate was unacceptable. After research, the retailer concluded that a fully internal department would cost the company at least millions of dollars annually. Not only was this option expensive, but it would prevent them from providing consistent, proactive coverage for all of their nationwide locations. In addition, the landscape of technology had changed dramatically—from POS systems to Exception Based Reporting (EBR) to analytics to inventory and back of house systems. When the situation started getting out of hand, the retailer came across LP Innovations (now rebranded DTiQ), a company that literally wrote the book on a more proactive and technologically advanced way to manage loss prevention.

DTiQ deployed a low-cost, fully-customized, full-service loss prevention program for the retailer at all store locations within the U.S. In addition to the many benefits of the solution, the retailer also leveraged DTiQ's nationwide presence that enabled them to respond faster to individual stores. Working together with the retailer's district managers, DTiQ developed action plans, including frequent audits using Exception Based Reporting and in-store audits that reduced the shrink rate by 50 percent. By the end of the program, the retailer witnessed earnings improvement of approximately $3.6m annually after the cost of the program, which was a big win for them.

"We believe that we are absolutely a mission-critical part of running the best possible stores and restaurants. So, if you want to be the best, then you need a partner like us"

In this example the vision for DTiQ is clear—by combining state-of-the-art surveillance equipment with advanced, cloud-based analytics and managed services, DTiQ strives to improve how retail locations are managed. "We at DTiQ always say: smarter store better results" asserts Mike Coffey, the CEO of DTiQ. "As such, we offer retail-specific business intelligence solutions that help retailers transition to a smarter store and transform their business. We’ve done this with a big focus on loss prevention, which is an under-served area for the speciality retailer, and we’ve rapidly expanded into guest experience and employee engagement programs. Retailers today are concerned about total loss and top line as much as shrink.”

When the Successful Trio United

DTiQ's genesis dates back to 1998 when it was known as three separate companies – LP Innovations (LPI) and Drive Thru Technology Inc. (DTT) are both 20 years old and loss prevention focused, and with the inclusion in 2018 of 360iQ/ EZUniverse, a true data/analytics offering was enhanced. In the 90s and early aughts, the company primarily offered digital video surveillance solutions to the hospitality and specialty retail industries.


We at DTiQ always say: smarter store, better results!



With time, DTT expanded its product portfolio to smart auditing tools that identified and resolved exceptions of all types—loss prevention, guest experience, and speed of service, and an enterprise management portal. With its solutions, the company was successful in establishing itself as the go-to partner in target markets, conducting nearly one million audits by 2015. "DTT became the marketplace leader with unmatched loss prevention and managed services, including nationwide installations by DTT-certified specialists, 24/7/365 customer support, and 35,000+ installed locations," says Coffey.

Fast forward to 2018, DTT acquired LP Innovations Inc., a retail-focused loss prevention services and system solutions provider, and 360iQ, a remote operations management tool and intelligent video surveillance system that provided owner-operators and managers with complete visibility into their multi-unit businesses. "After the mergers and acquisitions, DTT was re-branded as DTiQ. We consolidated LPI, 360iQ, and DTT operations into a single, comprehensive business intelligence and loss prevention solution," says Coffey.

Though the M&A helped improve their overall capability, DTiQ encountered another unexpected challenge. The combined clientele began demanding more than just a loss prevention program. They wanted a solution that could meet all their retail management needs, from employees to stores to customers. While stores were something that DTiQ already did very well, employee-based and customer-based solutions were a new subject altogether. Rather than thinking of this as a hurdle, the company perceived it as an opportunity. They expanded into two spaces—customer experience and employee engagement. However, what's even more astonishing is that DTiQ did not make three different platforms to meet the three different aspects of retail management. It was an all-in-one platform that they started offering on subscription. This changed the game in every way possible.

Combining the Power of Technology with the Human Acumen

Today, the Massachusetts-based company is revolutionizing the retail management environment by combining intelligent video, advanced analytics, and expert services to deliver an unparalleled performance improvement solution. DTiQ takes pride in successfully enhancing over eight million consumer experiences daily while protecting trillions of dollars of assets. "DTiQ focuses on services that bring technology to life by providing one platform with multiple uses," asserts Coffey.

One of the striking features of DTiQ's platform is that it combines services with analytics that enable the core operations team to manage retail stores across locations seamlessly. "To have a better operating store, it is crucial to measure the effectiveness of employees and managers," points out Coffey. DTiQ does this measurement through video audits, a process that makes use of video and audio data to analyze the retail environment in a store. Additionally, it also uses the point of sales data to keep track of the transactions being carried out. Video audits are generally conducted using the data gathered by the DTiQ platform's artificial intelligence (AI), combined with their in-person or remote human analysis tools.
"We conduct about 30,000 video audits every month wherein we score the stores based on their performance." By sharing the scores throughout the organization, the management team can identify the strong points as well as loopholes. For instance, the video audits can help in spotting the best employees as well as tracking the ones harming the brand. It also helps the management to either coach the weaker employees or to move them out.

DTiQ's platform uses a store's existing technology as a tool by connecting it to a new server. The unique feature enables retail stores to keep the capital requirements substantially lower. Having a holistic solution like DTiQ’s, enables managers to use the capital in carrying out other operations like opening new stores or managing the inventory, rather than buying new technology.

DTiQ's expert consultants are available at all times to resolve any issues, irrespective of the location of the client's stores. "The team can drop into the store and help managers in addressing different issues, from investigations to coaching store managers," highlights Coffey.

DTiQ has a ton of examples in its customer base. In one instance, DTiQ catered to a retailer that had a shrink rate of nearly four percent. "In addition to shrink, they had a total loss problem with discounting as one example. They were leveraging multiple systems – and ineffective ways to handle their upsells and cross-sells which yielded no results as the existing systems only created more chaos," states Coffey. Owing to the worsening of these metrics, the company had to even let go of hundreds of employees. With DTiQ, the client was able to not only coach their staff but also focus their associate improvements specifically on the many others who were counterproductive. The solution also helped in reducing the shrink rate by nearly half. Most importantly, as DTiQ looks towards the future, the retailer is measuring specifically improved upsells and cross-sells yielded an additional 7-8 percent to the bottom-line.

The Go-To Retail Partner

DTiQ's value proposition goes beyond these abilities. The company offers a mobile app that collects video, audio, and other data from store management systems and brings it into one comprehensive database. This helps managers to monitor and manage their stores remotely. "It is almost like virtually managing the store. This is a real challenge when you’re centrally located at HQ with hundreds to thousands of stores spread around the country. Through our app, people in the head office can manage the store operations and also keep track of the updates," adds Coffey. Additionally, the app sends alerts to managers on critical aspects like video audit performance, employee engagement, and customer experience, among others.

Coffey believes the biggest differentiator for DTiQ is its ability to provide a solution that delivers exactly what it promises. "We don’t sell just technology. We are a managed service that uses technology to identify, target and focus on our customers key needs" he asserts. Having supported over 45,000 locations across the U.S., DTiQ aims to expand in Europe. From a technology standpoint, the company is moving deeper into the world of machine vision, video analytics, and AI to further enhance the platform's capability. With an array of retail solutions, DTiQ is committed to its mission of becoming a dedicated partner, the best vendor, and the only performance improvement solution to its clients need.

"At the end of the day, we believe that we are absolutely a mission-critical part of running the best possible stores and restaurants. So, if you want to be the best, then you need a partner like us," concludes Coffey.

Company
DTiQ

Headquarters
Framingham, MA

Management
Mike Coffey, CEO

Description
Revolutionizing the retail management environment by combining intelligent video, advanced analytics, and expert services to deliver an unparalleled performance improvement solution. DTiQ deployed a low-cost, fully-customized, full-service loss prevention program for the retailer at all store locations within the U.S. DTiQ's platform uses a store's existing technology as a tool by connecting it to a new server. The unique feature enables retail stores to keep the capital requirements substantially lower. DTiQ's expert consultants are available at all times to resolve any issues, irrespective of the location of the client's stores

DTiQ