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As many retailers look for new ways to compete, dark stores have become a fixture for many companies. A key control policy is essential for dark store access control to ensure that both merchandise and employees are safe. The nature of dark stores can create different security challenges and companies need to ensure their fulfillment centers remain safe as online shopping continues to grow.
What Is a Dark Store?
In the most simple terms, a dark store is a retail location or distribution center that is not open to the public and caters to online shoppers. Dark stores have become essential for many retailers to compete for online business and streamline their operations.
Dark stores are a way for companies to reduce costs, support their supply chain, and better support online orders. Since there is no need for public-facing displays, the location and overhead are more about supporting customer fulfillment than in-person customer service. Without the need for a prime location, real estate costs, delivery, and other related costs can be lower. Companies can optimize these remote operations for online fulfillment, streamlined packing, and delivery of online orders.
Since dark stores don’t allow visits from the public, dark store access control can be easier to manage. However, a solid key control policy keeps people and property safe and secure with proper planning, training, and implementation of an access control system.
Before the pandemic hit, consumers enjoyed the convenience of ordering goods and groceries online for delivery. The number of adults who tried and liked grocery delivery increased by 50% from 2019 to 2020.
How Companies are Adjusting
Many traditional retailers have converted locations to dark stores as local fulfillment centers. As COVID has caused many to work from home, stores have to limit the number of people physically in their stores and need a more efficient way to handle the increase in online orders.
Companies like Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, and Target have joined grocery stores and fashion brands that have converted some of their retail stores to dark stores. Many retailers are planning for 30% growth in eCommerce. Many of these dark stores will become permanent.
Whole Foods has been working on dark stores since before the pandemic began; COVID has simply accelerated its growth. Most companies that sell to consumers will create dark stores as consumers have fueled online demand, and online orders have skyrocketed.
How Is Facial Authentication the Best Key Control Policy to Keep Dark Stores Secure?
Even though your dark store isn’t open to the public, dark store access control issues still need attention. In many instances, dark stores are in locations less busy than their retail counterparts and key control policy becomes necessary as unauthorized personnel can slip in unnoticed with fewer people around.
One common issue concerning dark store access control is tailgating. Tailgating happens when you access a facility and hold the door open for another person who is not authorized personnel. While it may seem polite to hold the door for someone else, it’s how tailgaters enter the building unnoticed.
Facial authentication takes dark store access control further by adding one-to-one matching or face verification to the process. This process adds a simple “yes” or “no” answer to the question “is the person the right person or not?”
The facial authentication system that is the core of Alcatraz AI’s Rock hardware ensures that the person requesting access is a person that is credentialed and allowed access. This is one of the most secure methods you can add to your key control policy for a touchless access solution and real-time mitigation in one device.
Training and encouraging employees to comply with your dark store access control policies while ensuring that only authorized personnel enter or leave the location dramatically improves overall security.
Contact us to schedule an in-person or online demo to learn more about facial authentication and other access control methods for your dark store.
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