Access control in supermarkets and retail: challenges and opportunities

Anyone who manages a supermarket or retail store is faced with the daily challenge of providing a positive shopping experience for their customers, while ensuring the safety of both them, their employees and all those who access the building for whatever reason.
Default Promo Image Alt

Shops face many safety and security challenges on a daily basis, including controlling access and preventing fires and accidents where customers could potentially get hurt.

Car parks can also be a target for criminals and delinquents.

Since shops have one or more entry and exit points for the public or for employees and suppliers only, it is essential that only authorised persons have access to sensitive areas.

Sometimes threats do not come only from the outside, as employers have to tackle and prevent shoplifting and theft by their staff.

sicurezza nei supermercati

The retail sector, convenience stores, food and general shops often have to deal with high employee turnover: in a "traditional” set-up, with classic physical keys, this can lead to high costs if you have to change the keys or locks.
Physical keys can easily be copied and shared, and this creates a considerable security risk. 

Integrating access control systems, video surveillance, burglar alarms, sensors, fire alarms, networks and other building management systems, gives shop and supermarket managers greater control and awareness of the situation.

For example, an integrated system which combines video surveillance, access control and burglar alarms can help protect restricted areas such as offices, loading areas and warehouses.  Any attempt at unauthorised entry triggers an alarm and a camera starts recording.  The video is displayed live on the access control system, allowing security staff to respond promptly.

A mechanical solution: a master key system

GMK Master Mey sistemi chiave unica

A more traditional way of controlling access in complex commercial buildings is with a Master Key system.

Everyone who has to access the different parts of the building (offices, warehouse, deposits, changing rooms) is given a specific key which allows access to designated areas only.

At the top of the system, the heads of departments and managers can have unrestricted access to large areas of the building. At the intermediate level, department or office managers can be enabled to access only certain areas. Finally, there are employees who only need access to their office or workspace.

Combined with the possibility of using patented keys, this system avoids unauthorised duplication: in fact to obtain a copy you must identify yourself as the owner by presenting a Security Card.

Electronic access control system (keyless)

A more state-of-the-art and extremely flexible solution is an integrated electronic access control system. A system of this kind simplifies access control management in supermarkets and shopping centres significantly

The entrances where access is controlled can be managed by a single interface and it is very easy to assign or revoke access to a specific entrance for authorised users.



With an integrated electronic access control system, it is easy to assign doors to users.
Department or office managers can be granted access to their offices and storage areas, as well as manage access authorisations for their subordinates.


Users are issued a credential (a key card, fob or pin number) which have specific authorisations, both in terms of space (which areas they have access to), and time (for instance, management can restrict employee access to opening hours only or allow cleaning crews and suppliers in general to enter the common areas only after closing or at defined times).


With an electronic access control system, a master system controls all doors and closely monitors all entrances and exits for each credential that is issued. As a result, on request reports can be generated promptly, showing who entered where and when.

So what are the main benefits of an access control system?

✔ No more problems with keys

You no longer need physical keys which can easily be lost, copied or shared.

✔ Manages multiple doors and premises

With electronic access control, you can manage multiple doors in one or more premises with just one centralised and remote management system.

✔ Makes safes and areas at risk of theft more secure

You can control who has access to the offices where the safes are located or where the cash is kept, as well as the warehouse and other parts of your shop that are vulnerable to theft.

✔ Manages staff access

Any change in staff status can be entered into the system quickly and easily from wherever there is an Internet connection, including a smartphone, making administration a lot simpler. The system can be integrated with attendance management software, using the recorded entry as a time clock.

✔ Expand your system as your business grows

Grow your access control system one door or reader at a time.  Or expand your system to include hundreds of doors in multiple buildings, locally or across the country.

It’s not easy to find the right solution with so many different options on offer. We’re here to give you advice and help you choose the system that best suits your needs.