Why Using Traditional Keys Is a Retail Security Nightmare
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Why Using Traditional Keys is a Retail Security Nightmare

Date: Mar 22 2024
Read Time: 4 minutes

Are you putting your own business at risk? You may think you have done everything you can to protect your merchandise, your customers, your employees, and yourself. But what if we told you that using traditional keys to secure products is putting you at risk of internal and external theft?

Display cabinet locks are often an afterthought in retail and can lead business owners to find cheap products to retrofit to their cabinets. Discover why your merchandise is not as secure as you think and how to upgrade your display case security.

The Risks of Using Traditional Keys

Loss of Money and Time
Nearly 20 million people lose their house or car keys every year. If it’s happening outside retail, you can bet it’s happening in retail environments, too. Replacing a regular brass house key costs just a few bucks, but what about for an entire store?

For small businesses, the cost of replacing lost display case keys can be hundreds of dollars, while larger facilities can pay over $50,000. Businesses also lose the time it takes to rekey an entire facility. Imagine having to do that multiple times in a year!

Leaving Your Business Vulnerable to Internal Theft
The National Retail Federation says that employee theft (internal theft) makes up 30% of retail shrinkage. Employees losing keys is a risk, but they can also use them to open a jewelry case lock causing you to lose valuable product and increase the potential for shrinkage through unauthorized access and theft.

Traditional keys can be a hassle to keep tabs on. There is no way to monitor how they are being used. Employees could misuse store keys for their own benefit or pass them along to others who shouldn’t have them.

Plus, since keys are easy to duplicate, someone could make unauthorized copies and use them without anyone noticing. This lack of access control could lead to security issues, like losing important info and even facing financial losses.

Store keys can also go missing when an employee quits or is terminated. The average employee turnover rate in the US hovers around 47%, but in retail it’s much higher at 60%. The cost of employee turnover is already high, costing a business roughly 1 to 2x that employee’s annual wages. Add in replacing any keys that may exit with them and it becomes a major expense.

Long Customer Wait Times and Missed Sales
Once a customer sees a product they need locked inside a sliding display case, the clock starts ticking. Most consumers are only willing to wait 5 minutes for a secured product.

Using brass keys can add significant time to the clock, especially if an employee grabs the wrong one or must wait for a store manager to open the case. Cycling through keys appears unprofessional, disorganized, and can frustrate customers in a hurry. Employees can also forget to relock retail display cases after assisting a customer, leaving it open to external theft.

Alternatives to Traditional Keys in Retail Security

There are different advanced locking systems and credential options available, such as key cards, biometric scanners, display case master keys, and even smart locks that work with mobile devices.  What you need depends on the industry you’re in, the products you want to secure, how many locks you need, and the method you want to use to open them.

Key cards can still be shared, and biometric scanners are not practical in a retail environment. A solution like Smart Locks is the best alternative to traditional keys and locks. Smart Locks can be easily installed on to glass cabinets, sliding display cases, drawers, and more. They are easy to retrofit, can auto-lock, and provide an audit trail.

You can use our single-key system, or your own store-issued mobile devices to unlock your fixtures. If using our OneKEY system, you no longer have to worry about what happens if a key is lost. OneKEYs can’t be shared by granting each associate their own pin, and time out after 12 hours so if they’re lost and then found, they can’t be used. With OneKEY or mobile access, you can set store permissions, giving certain employees access to only the areas they need.

With Smart Locks employees can assist customers faster and provide valuable data in the event internal theft occurs. You can track which employee unlocked what and when, eliminating the possibility for false accusations.

Switching from traditional keys to Smart Locks protects you, your employees, and your merchandise. Contact us today to get the best retail theft protection for your store.