Rethinking Retail Security: The Pitfalls of Traditional Keys and How to Safeguard Your Business

Are you unknowingly putting your business at risk? Despite your best efforts to safeguard your merchandise, customers, and staff, relying on traditional keys for security might be leaving you vulnerable to both internal and external threats.

Traditional Keys vs OneKEY
April 17, 2024


Display cabinet locks often receive little attention in the retail sector, leading business owners to opt for inexpensive solutions that may compromise security. Discover why your current security measures might not be as robust as you believe and explore strategies to enhance your display case security.


The Hazards of Traditional Keys

Financial and Temporal Losses Every year, nearly 20 million individuals misplace their house or car keys. If this is a common occurrence in residential settings, it’s undoubtedly happening within retail environments as well. While replacing a standard brass house key is a minor expense, the cost of replacing keys for an entire store can be substantial.

retail problem with too many keys

For small businesses, the expense of replacing lost display case keys can amount to hundreds of dollars, while larger establishments might face costs exceeding $50,000. Moreover, there’s the considerable time investment required to rekey an entire facility, potentially necessitating multiple rekeying efforts within a year.

Exposing Your Business to Internal Theft According to the National Retail Federation, employee theft (internal theft) constitutes 30% of retail shrinkage. While employees misplacing keys pose a risk, they could also exploit them to access locked jewellery cases, resulting in loss of valuable merchandise and increased shrinkage due to unauthorised entry and theft.

Traditional keys lack accountability and monitoring mechanisms. Employees might misuse store keys for personal gain or distribute them to unauthorised individuals. Since keys can be easily duplicated, unauthorised copies might go unnoticed, leading to security breaches and financial losses.

Employee turnover further compounds the issue, with the retail sector experiencing turnover rates of up to 60%. Aside from the substantial costs associated with turnover, businesses must also contend with the expense of replacing keys that may be retained by departing employees.

Customer Delays and Lost Sales Opportunities Once a customer expresses interest in a product secured within a display case, time becomes a critical factor. Most consumers are unwilling to wait more than five minutes for access to a secured item.

Retail mechanical lock and keys

The use of traditional brass keys can significantly extend the wait time, particularly if an employee retrieves the wrong key or must await managerial assistance. The cumbersome process of cycling through keys not only appears unprofessional and disorganised but also risks alienating time-pressed customers. Additionally, failure to relock display cases after customer interactions exposes merchandise to external theft.


Exploring Alternatives to Traditional Keys in Retail Security

Various advanced locking systems and credential options offer viable alternatives to traditional keys, including key cards, biometric scanners, master keys for display cases, and smart locks compatible with mobile devices. The optimal solution depends on factors such as industry, product type, lock quantity, and preferred access method.

While key cards are susceptible to sharing, and biometric scanners may not be practical in retail settings, smart locks emerge as a superior alternative to traditional keys. These locks can be seamlessly installed on glass cabinets, sliding display cases, and drawers, offering ease of retrofitting and features such as auto-locking and audit trails.

Our single-key system or store-issued mobile devices can facilitate access to fixtures. With our OneKEY system, concerns about lost keys are alleviated, as each associate receives a unique PIN, and keys automatically deactivate after 12 hours, rendering them unusable if misplaced. Furthermore, customisable store permissions ensure that employees access only authorised areas.

Optus smart lock onekey

By transitioning from traditional keys to smart locks, you fortify your business against theft while streamlining customer service and gaining valuable insights in the event of internal theft. Contact us today to enhance your store’s security with the most effective theft protection solutions.