When shoppers visit a retail store, they’re looking for a better quality shopping experience than what they can find online. Surveys show they want a curated experience that presents them with an exceptional collection of highly desirable items.

How goods are displayed is more important than ever when combating the convenience of online shopping. The new wisdom is that a security gate not only mustn’t interfere with store presentation, it can become a part of it…even when the store is closed.

After hours, the storefront should still be an effective showcase to passersby, regardless whether the store is in a mall or facing the street. In fact, if a store is on the street it’s even more important that it looks good, because there is much more foot traffic as pedestrians make their way to restaurants or other attractions.

In other words, your security door has be a fortress without looking like one. The good news is that you’re no longer limited to the visually imposing options of the past that do nothing to help sell products. Even better: your store is going to be just as secure, if dropping commercial break-in statistics in the US and Canada are anything to go by.

Old Options

Security doors have come a long way in the last few years – there are a lot more options in terms of aesthetics and functionality than ever before. In the past, choices were very limited.

Steel Roll Down

A heavy roll-down “garage door” style steel shutter may help keep out thieves, but it will do nothing to entice customers. The opaque visual barrier completely hides any product staging done in the store. Even when open, these gates have a large box at the top that interferes with signage. They also look intimidating to customers.

Scissor Gates

You’ve seen them in a thousand tv shows and movies – those collapsible diamond-shaped gates made of overlapping bars that accordion into place. While they can allow potential customers to see merchandise (when used on their own, unlike the example pictured), their visual language primarily says “keep out”. Again, in the age of internet shopping, every customer counts and these gates won’t win anyone over.

The New Customer-Friendly Security Options

In the last 10 – 15 years, new materials have been enabling a revolution in side folding door design.

Solid but transparent, polycarbonate panels can be connected to make a visually compelling but secure barrier. Aluminum is lighter, easier to shape, and more attractive than steel. It’s also not susceptible to corrosion, making for excellent lifespan and cost effectiveness. Together, these materials are making it easier than ever to create a security gate that showcases products and is even in tune with the brand of the store.

Lush Cosmetics
After-hours passers-by have no problem window shopping at this Lush location.

Erwin Pearl
Perforated aluminum panels go perfectly with an Erwin Pearl storefront.

MAC Cosmetics
A Slim Line Perforated side folding door in black looks just right protecting a MAC Cosmetics store.

Seamless Storage

During the store’s business hours, these security gates fold away invisibly. They tuck into wall pockets so customers are drawn to the goods on display, not tracks or pillars. Floorsockets melt away thanks to dustproof retractable covers.

When every square inch counts, wider panels that pack into a smaller space can be used. These panels also offer a wider viewing area, and even look more robust if a visual theft deterrent is needed.

Style vs Security: Why Choose When You Can Have Both?

Security will always be an essential part of designing commercial retail spaces. But it is no longer enough to simply prevent burglary. It needs to do its part to help the bottom line. Finally, you can have both when function is blended with form.

If you need help designing your security gates, we’re here to help. We have plenty of architect’s and designer’s resources and you can call us at any time to get personalized help with the wide variety of options.

View our Architect’s Resources

Image credits

  1. Steel Door courtesy the New York Times.