Evolution of Door Locks

Evolution of Door Locks

Just like a smartphone, retail store owners have an item they carry around always. It’s the store key they use to open and close the business. It’s second nature to open and close your business using your key, but have you ever wondered why? In this digital age, you’re still using a piece of metal. Is it even safe? Are there better and more convenient ways to lock? Can I trust my employees with the key? Although everyone has an unpleasant episode of losing or misplacing keys, they are reluctant to make changes, giving excuses like “other stores use them too” and “America is analog.” Although it may be the reality of the retail industry, locking devices are evolving day by day. It’s time to evaluate the security and safety of your door lock.

1. Retail Industry trapped in Analog

Considering the trend that beauty supply retail stores are getting bigger and carrying more expensive goods, we reasonably anticipated that many beauty supplies updated their door locks to improve security. While we discussed security cameras, anti-theft sensors and alarms, and other security devices previously, the most basic security measure, a door lock, was not. In our survey, we discovered a surprising fact. Many beauty supplies are still using mechanical keys to secure door locks of their stores. Not to mention fingerprints or card keys, few businesses have adopted the door locks having keypads. Even in businesses where such devices were found, they were primarily used for the interior door to an office room.

Conventional key-cylinder set

Door lock with a touchscreen keypad

There are differences in types of keys. Larger beauty supplies tend to utilize keys with added safety measures making them hard to duplicate, and in some areas with frequent criminal activities, the doors were always locked and opened by a store clerk who checks the customer out first. Keys were usually carried by retail business owners or managers, and it was rare to have employees in charge of keys unless they are long time employees. We learned of a business owner who owned several stores but could not trust managers so that carried a bunch of keys around and opened and closed the shops everyday. Although it is a common practice in retail business that you keep store keys in an electronic key box or cabinet outside the building to avoid loss and for convenience, just a small number of beauty supplies keep emergency boxes for fire department due to concerns about damages.

키 박스(Key-Box 9000 S series)

Retail businesses and locksmiths provided following reasons for using door locks with mechanical keys.

  • Beauty supplies have high employee turnover, so keypads or fingerprints are not efficient.
  • Other security measures are well in place, so door locks are of low priority.
  • If you want to, you can simply bust the lock. There is no reason to invest a lot for a door lock.

Other reasons for avoiding a digital door lock were (1) afraid of hacking; (2) convenient but less secure; (3) issues during fire emergencies; (4) hard to install and expensive; and (5) difficult to use than key door locks.

Then, should we carry around keys forever to open and close the business? In the 21st century, should we keep using the keys that were practically invented 6,000 years ago?

Although it may yet become mainstream, digital door locks are evolving quickly, and the adoption to digital door locks is accelerating. Let’s move on from analog to digital. Learn about smart door locks.

A key from the Middle Ages

2. Door Locks are going Digital

Digital door locks use a password, a digitized code stored in a microchip or a smart card, and fingerprints instead of a mechanical key. While less than 5% of door locks in the U.S. and in European countries are digital, they account for more than 70% of door locks in South Korea, which is considered the global leader of digital door locks since the early 2000s. Currently, new and innovative door locks are still in development and in use.

A convenience store located in front of the Seoul Station opens 24/7, and during daytime, you will notice nothing out of the ordinary. But at night, from 1:00am to 7:00 am, it operates cashier-less. While it operates without a store clerk, the store door stays locked. How can a customer enter? They must download a convenience store’s self-checkout app on their smartphone and scan the QR code at the front door of the store. The app can be installed only after verifying the identity of the customer, so the convenience store knows exactly who enters the store. If the customer picks up an item and scans the bar-code using the smartphone app, the checkout and payment are done instantly.

You scan a QR code in front of the store door to open it. ©etnews.com

Biometrics such as vein, iris, facial features are also used in door locks. Lotte Card’s “Hand Pay” utilizes the unique thickness, clarity, shape of veins to identify a customer. This allows the stores to grant access to the store only after verifying the identity of a customer, so in case of theft, the culprit can be identified very quickly.

Scanning vein to gain access ©Lotte Card

However, for biometric payment systems to become mainstream there are still a lot of obstacles including expensive equipment and regulatory hurdles. Even if the cost and regulatory issues are set aside, for beauty supplies whose clients prefer cash payment and privacy, it would be a tale of distant future. Using smartphone apps to grant access and process payment is also not practical to beauty supplies. Most of all, you should not ask every customer to download smartphone apps to enter an always-locked beauty supply store.

The biggest advantage of digital door locks is that you do not need to carry keys and thieves cannot pick the lock. To utilize the advantage and to make retail business owners’ job easier for opening and closing easier, we will cover the following door locks. From electronic locks to smart locks with advanced features, we have searched online for innovative locking devices that can better serve beauty supply retail stores than key-operated locks.

Electronic locks

Keyless entry (but often comes with emergency keys) with four- to six-digit keycodes. It’s easy to install and convenient to use. Also, it is immune to hacking, making it preferable over smart locks. On the other side, you need to change batteries periodically and the pressed buttons will show heavy wear. It comes in either a keypad or touchpad.

Kwikset 907 Powerbolt 2.0 Electronic Deadbolt

You can gain entry with private keycodes without keys and lock the door electrically with a touch. It fits most standard doors and offers quick and easy installation, programming and use. Requires four AA batteries and provides SmartKey Security with a backup key. The Keyboard is waterproof and can be installed outdoors.

Schlage BE365 Keypad Deadbolt

Heavy duty construction with premium metal. You can set up to 19 codes at a time, and silicone-coated number pads are lit upon press for easy operation in dark. Battery discharge warning prevents being locked out. Users reported that it was weatherproof.

Signstek Keyless Entry Door Lock

Touchscreen keypads can prevent wear of often-used buttons. Blue backlight allows easy operation of the touchscreen in dark, and anti-peep passwords allow you to enter random numbers before or after the real passcodes to heighten security. If you pull the handle below the keypad, you can access the emergency key hole.

Smart locks

Advanced features like smartphone apps, fingerprint, voice recognition are added to the electronic locks. You can control access from anywhere using smart devices and grant access to certain individuals via smartphone. All smart locks include encryption that makes it harder to gain unauthorized access. They are substantially more expensive than electronic locks.

Q. Are smart locks prone to hacking?

Like any other devices connected via WiFi, smart locks can be hacked. However, most certified products use encrypted communication, which makes it harder to hack. You can set strong passwords for smart lock apps and use two-factor authorization to lower security risk.



August Wi-Fi Smart Lock

It can be easily installed on any door, and built-in Wifi function is compatible with your many voice activated devices via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings. You can also register your face or fingerprints for added security.

Level Lock

One of the tiniest smart locks available. You can use your smartphone, voice, or keys to gain access. You can pair it with your cell phone via bluetooth, and HomeKit allows access from anywhere. Featuring innovative and compact wireless design, it conforms to U.S. standard deadbolt and allows easy installation.

SMONET Fingerprint Electronic Deadbolt Door Lock

You have five methods of entry: app, keypad, fingerprints, IC fobs, and mechanical keys. You can pair with Smonet Wifi gateway for real-time remote access to control the door lock and view access logs from anywhere. For security, if you input incorrect passwords five times, it will be automatically locked for five minutes.


It provides six methods of entry including 360° fingerprint identification, keypad, smartphone, auto-unlock, and a mechanical key. It automatically locks when you go out, and when you arrive at the door with your smartphone in your pocket, it automatically unlocks. The 360° live fingerprint ID allows easy access with a touch and stores up to 100 fingerprints.

Yale Assure Lock SL Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt

Compact and sophisticated design. It offers a neat touchscreen keypad instead of a keyhole. You can unlock the door with your smartphone or Apple Watch using the Yale Access app. Automatic lock with door sense secures the door after a preset time period.

3. Not a good time for a change? Tips to secure your door

People used to think that having security alarms or expensive door locks are unnecessary luxury. Now, people are starting to realize the necessity of better security, but it would not be easy to upgrade your existing system overnight. Is there any way to secure your store without an upgrade to the locks? Here comes advice from locksmiths with 20 years of experience who worked with many beauty supply retail stores.

1) Use restricted keys to prevent unauthorized copies

Two regular keys on the left and two restricted keys on the right.

Regular keys can be copied at any hardware stores such as the Home Depot and Lowe’s. You can make duplicate keys within seconds. However, restricted keys come with proprietary measures that prevent copies. It is also hard to pick. The cost may be burdensome because a restricted key costs north of $25 compared to around $3 for a regular key. Also the installation of restricted key door locks can cost over $300 compared to $80 to $150 for regular door locks. However, if you want to prevent employees and former employees from duplicating the key to your store, you should make some investment.

 ▶ Note: Never share a picture of your key on social media.

Locksmiths can make copies based on a picture. Reportedly, you can 3D print a key using a picture taken hundreds feet away.

2) Latch protector to seal the door gap

Latch protectors (or latch guards) are metal plates that reinforce the weakest point of a door, which is the gap between the door frame and the door, which is often used by intruders to pry the door open. To pry open the door, you need to place a pry bar into the door gap. The latch guard will remove the gap.

3) Magnetic door locks for sketchy neighborhood

It operates with a remote control that activates a strong magnetic device. It is often used in jewelry shops where the store clerk verifies the customer before unlocking the always-locked door. Although it is not commonly used for beauty supplies, there are stores with it due to security concerns.

*Magnetic door locks can be installed in a reverse setup so that it can prevent thieves from leaving the shop. However, in some states, it is considered unlawful imprisonment. (It is permitted practice in California which recognizes shopkeeper’s privilege.)

4) Door closer for security and safety

Door closers allow safe and smooth opening and closing of doors by automatically closing doors slowly. It can prevent finger injuries and can be connected to fire alarm systems to close the doors in case of fire to prevent spread.

5) Key and lock maintenance in winter

Keys can be broken or damaged when you force rotation. You can instead spray multi-purpose lubricant into the keyhole and shake a key left and right while being inserted.

WD-40 multi-purpose lubricant

6) Change keys periodically

Most beauty supplies replace keys when there is a theft or rotation of employees in charge of keys. In addition, you should periodically change keys at least once every two to three years. In fact, doors tend to bend over time and by use while keys and cylinders are subject to wear and rust. If you spend too much time trying to open a locked door, you can be an easy target for criminals. Do not risk your safety! Protect your business!

*Help: Chang-Go Keys (GA: 404-667-2313)



BNB 매거진 2022년 12월호 ©bnbmag.com