Smart cabinet locks the key to better customer service

Invue Smart Locks

Whether it’s protecting electronics, jewellery or high-value cosmetics, retailers have long turned to the glass cabinet and good old mechanical cabinet lock to protect easily stolen items but still offer them for display.

It’s a method that’s undoubtedly effective, but often plagued with issues like frequently lost keys. It’s also a time consuming process for the shop associates tasked with overseeing access to the displays.

The good news is, just as technology is rolling out across stores, it’s also offering more convenient ways of accessing, opening and monitoring glass cabinet displays. So let’s take a look at smart locks and the benefits they offer retailers compared to conventional mechanical lock and key systems.

Smart locks

Smart locks like the Invue Smart Lock range work using an electronic lock and reprogrammable code. This means one key can open every cabinet within a department or entire store. Retailers simply issue their staff with a single key each and this allows them to quickly open any cabinet or drawer of interest to the customer.

Keys are rechargeable, and refresh every 12 hours, meaning if a key is lost it will cease to work until docked on the store’s specific encoded charger.


For retailers smart locks offer improved customer service and faster time to checkout. They are also more cost effective than traditional mechanical lock and key systems.

Their benefits include:

  • Improved key management
  • Improved customer service due to less time seeking the right key
  • Improved profits
  • Eliminates the issue of broken locks or missing keys
  • Increased security and decreased shrink as keys stop after 12 hours until refreshed by the store’s charger
  • Can be coded to a specific department or entire store
  • Easy to install or retrofit
  • Provide staff immediate access to products without having to leave the customer

Not only do Smart Locks improve the customer and staff experience, they’re also more affordable than traditional mechanical lock and key systems. But let’s take a closer look at the figures.

Invue Smart Locks

Cost comparison

Although initially affordable to install, mechanical locks can prove costly due to key loss, key re-issuing, broken locks and security concerns over time.

Over a five year period the cost comparison looks like this according to research:

  • Traditional mechanical locks

– Initial cost and installation cost for 55 locks and 24 keys – $2969

– Feasible costs of replacing keys twice a year, and locks once a year – $9140

– Total cost over five years – $12,109

  • Invue smart lock

– Initial cost and installation – $7321

– No replacement costs

Further services

Meanwhile further tools like the Smart Access Manager also allow retailers to hold employees accountable for the Smart Lock key entrusted into their care. With this additional feature, store managers assign each key a unique PIN and can ascertain exactly which staff member has accessed a cabinet, drawer or inventory storage at what time.

It facilitates the added security of managing staff access, so each staff member may be granted access to specific cabinets depending on their role.

Data is immediately relayed to a control centre, and activity can be viewed daily by a manager using the Access Manager Interface software.

The ultimate result is the management of internal theft, which accounts for 25% of all Australian retail shrink, according to the most recent Global Retail Theft Barometer.

A few select statistics

According to the Global Retail Theft Barometer, in 2014/15 retail shrink cost Australian stores $2.44 billion, but slow access to products also took a financial toll. An American Express Survey found 78% of consumers had walked away from a potential transaction due to poor or inefficient customer service.

The upshot for retailers is, while they need to guard products against shoplifting and employee theft, they have to tread the fine line of guaranteeing consumers swift access to the products that pique their interest.

And in an age where bricks and mortar retailers are battling against the convenience of online sales, seamless customer service is the arena where the war is won or lost.

For more information about Vitag’s range of electronic cabinet, drawer and storage locks, see here.