Purchek FAQs

Purcheck Loss Prevention

Purchek

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GENERAL SYSTEM INFO

Q: What is a "pushout"?

A: "Pushout" is the term used in the retail industry to describe a shoplifting event in which the perpetrator fills a shopping trolley with merchandise and pushes it out of the store without paying.

Q: How does the Purchek system work?
A: Purchek is the industry's only in-store, anti-theft solution with an integrated locking wheel. Utilising patented Gatekeeper locking-wheel technology, the Purchek pushout prevention system prevents shoplifters from pushing trolleys out of the store without paying for merchandise. In a typical shopping experience, the customer is completely unaware of the system's presence. However, if a shoplifter attempts to remove a trolley from the store without first passing through an attended checkout, the Gatekeeper wheel will lock at the store exit - prohibiting the trolley from exiting the store.

Q: Are pushouts a common occurrence?
A: While it is difficult to quantify the amount of pushouts and the associated financial impact, it is not difficult to see why pushouts cause the most significant economic impact among all types of shoplifting. Shoplifters using trolleys are able to steal large quantities of high-value merchandise, often escaping with hundreds of dollars’ worth of goods at each pushout event.

Q: How successful is the system in the prevention of pushouts?
A: Bottom line: if someone attempts to exit the store with a trolley without first passing through an attended checkout, the trolley will cease to roll when the customer reaches the exit. Most often, the perpetrator will quickly abandon the trolley and flee the store - significantly avoiding the chances of a confrontation with store employees. At worst, the perpetrator will have the time and inclination to escape with a handful of merchandise. But, unless the shoplifter picks the trolley up and carries it home or to the car, they are not getting away with the merchandise.

Q: What kind of warranty does the system have?
A: The Purchek system comes with a comprehensive one-year parts and labor warranty covering all manufacturer's defects.

Q: Beyond preventing pushouts, what other benefits are there to the system?
A: In addition to cutting the costs associated with stolen merchandise, the Purchek system is designed to prevent theft without the possibility of a potentially violent confrontation with store employees. Because the system is based on the GS2 Technology platform, it integrates seamlessly with CartControl Shopping Cart Containment Systems - enabling you to maximise loss-prevention while minimizing implementation and maintenance costs. Implementing both CartControl and Purchek solutions can result in a lightning-fast return on investment.

Q: How much does the system cost?
A: Although the system components are identical for every installation, it is necessary to acquire specific information regarding store layout, trolley quantities, and special customer requirements, in order to determine the exact price quote for a system. In most cases, the system will pay for itself in a 12- to 18-month period. Some customers report paybacks in as little as six months. If you are interested in obtaining a quotation, please contact our sales team.

LOCKING WHEEL

Q: What is the life expectancy of the Gatekeeper wheel?

A: Tests have proven that the serviceable life of the Gatekeeper wheel is approximately three to five years. However, we prefer to conservatively estimate its life to be approximately three years or 4,000-thousand cycles (lock + unlock) under normal use. "Normal use" is defined by three cycles per day.

Q: Will the Gatekeeper wheel stand up to the impact of normal customer use, e.g. running into curbs?
A: After considerable field-testing, we have selected some of the most durable, high-performance production materials available. The Gatekeeper wheel can stand up to significant use and abuse without failing. However, even under normal usage, a customer can anticipate that up to 10% of their total number of wheels will require servicing each year.

Q: How does the Gatekeeper wheel work?
A: The Gatekeeper wheel contains a receiver antenna when a trolley comes within range of a locking signal, the transmission is received by the Gatekeeper wheel. The processor inside the wheel translates the signal into an instruction to activate the motor that drives the brake band. The brake band expands and locks tight with the interior of the tread. When the Gatekeeper wheel receives an unlock signal from a CartKey, the brake band retracts and the wheel rolls freely again.

Q: How does the Gatekeeper wheel work in a Purchek application?
A: When a trolley enters the store, the Gatekeeper wheel receives an entry permission signal - allowing the customer to enter and shop for an unlimited amount of time. When the Gatekeeper wheel passes through an attended checkout lane, it receives an exit permission signal that allows the paying customer to freely exit the store. If the Gatekeeper wheel does not receive the exit permission signal, the Gatekeeper wheel will receive a locking signal when the shoplifter attempts to exit the store - locking the wheel and preventing the trolley from proceeding any further.

Q: How do you unlock a Gatekeeper wheel?
A: To unlock a cart, a store employee will use a remote control unit called a CartKey. The CartKey sends an unlock signal to the locked wheel, unlocking the wheel and putting the trolley back in service. The CartKey allows employees to quickly and easily unlock trolleys without any bending, lifting, or manual intervention.

Q: When the Gatekeeper wheel fails, does it do so in the locked position?
A: While wheel failures are rare, they do occur. The only time a Gatekeeper wheel will fail and prevent customers from using a trolley is if a wheel component fails when the wheel is already in the locked position.

Q: How long does it take the wheel to lock?
A: The amount of time that it actually takes to lock the wheel is 2.2 seconds from the time the Gatekeeper wheel receives the locking signal from the antenna.

Q: How is the Gatekeeper wheel installed and will it affect trolley performance?
A: The Gatekeeper wheel simply replaces one of the front wheels on a standard shopping cart. Gatekeeper wheels are installed at the store at the time of system installation by our certified technicians. Unlike other wheel-locking systems, the standardised Gatekeeper wheel enables quick and easy installation on the widest variety of shopping trolleys without any alteration to the shopping cart's performance and minimal alteration in appearance.

Q: Is it possible to install the Gatekeeper wheel at the shopping trolley manufacturer?
A: Absolutely. Gatekeeper Systems has established relationships with all of the major trolley manufacturers. Because the Gatekeeper wheel is completely standardised, it easily fits most trolley models. Most of the manufacturers will install the Gatekeeper wheel at the factory at little or no additional cost.

Q: What stops someone from simply tipping the trolley backwards in order to continue rolling it once the Gatekeeper wheel has locked?
A: An integral part of the Purchek is the Anti-Tilt bar. The Anti-Tilt bar is essentially a steel fender that is welded to the rear wheel horn on the side opposite the Gatekeeper wheel. The Anti-Tilt Bar limits the trolley from being tilted back. If the trolley is tipped back, the Anti-Tilt Bar will drag or snag on the ground, making the trolley virtually impossible to push.

Q: How does the Gatekeeper wheel stand up to extreme weather conditions?
A: The Gatekeeper wheel has undergone extensive laboratory and field-testing and has proven the ability to withstand a wide range of weather conditions - from extreme cold temperatures of -34° C to extreme high temperatures exceeding 60° C. In addition, Gatekeeper wheels have been found to be completely fully operational after being submerged under water for over six months.

Q: What type of tread is used on the Gatekeeper wheel and can it be replaced?
A: The tread used on the Gatekeeper wheel is a non-marring, non-conductive rubber tread. It is fabricated of an extremely durable, high-impact rubber, which can withstand greater friction and impact than most standard polymer wheels. The tread will outlast most standard shopping trolley wheels. However, if need be, the tread can be easily replaced.

Q: How long does the wheel battery last and can it be replaced?
A: The battery installed in the Gatekeeper wheel is a CR123A, 3-volt lithium battery similar to those used in cameras. This battery was chosen because of its durability and long life expectancy. Once installed, the battery can be expected to last an average of three to four years if the Gatekeeper wheel is locked and unlocked four times a day, every day. The battery has a shelf life of ten years if uninstalled, five years if installed yet completely inactive, and an average active life of 4,000 cycles (lock + unlock.) If the need arises, the battery is easily replaceable.

CARTKEY

Q: What is the range of the CartKey and is it adjustable?

A: The CartKey signal has a maximum signal range of four feet and a minimum signal range of approximately half a metre. The CartKey is designed and engineered so store personnel can quickly and easily unlock or reset Gatekeeper wheels without any manual intervention or physical strain. The maximum range was set at 1.2 metres in order to provide an optimum balance between convenience and control; setting the maximum range at greater than 1.2 metres could result in personnel inadvertently locking nearby carts.

Q: What happens if a store loses all its CartKeys?
A: Gatekeeper Systems highly recommends that a store keep at least one CartKey in a secure location at all times in order to avoid losing or temporarily misplacing all CartKeys. In the event that a store loses all of its CartKeys, the store can order additional CartKeys through Trolley Control Customer Service.

Q: How long does the CartKey battery last?
A: The battery in a CartKey will last approximately six months with average use (approximately 35 to 40 unlocks per day).

Q: Is the battery in the CartKey replaceable?
A: Yes. The battery can be easily replaced by store personnel using any standard CR123A, 3-volt, lithium battery, similar to those used in cameras. There are detailed instructions for replacing the battery included in the GS2 or CartControl System User Manual (Page 7).

DOORMANAGER

Q: Where are the DoorManagers installed?

A: DoorManagers are placed at each store entrance/exit point. Since each store's configuration is different, Trolley Control’s  technicians will mount the DoorManager where it will work best for that particular location. 

PURCHASEMANAGER

Q: Where are the PurchaseManagers installed?

A: PurchaseManagers are mounted in the store's checkout area. Because the PurchaseManager sends a wireless, radial signal, it is not necessary to embed any antenna wire.

Q: What is the range of the wireless PurchaseManager signal?
A: The PurchaseManager signal can be fine-tuned to suit virtually any checkout configuration.  A Trolley Control Sales Representative can survey your location and discuss with you what configuration will work best for your store's particular needs.

INSTALLATION

Q: How long does an installation take and will it affect normal operations?

A: Because Purchek is installed inside the store, much of the installation work is performed after-hours to avoid any disruption. In cases of 24-hour store operation, every effort is made to safeguard patrons and minimise any potential disturbance. The average installation is completed in two days. Some installations require more time due to the complexity and/or scope of the implementation.

Q: How is the antenna wire embedded in the floor? Does installation cause any damage to the floor surface?
A: Depending on the existing floor material, there are several methods employed to embed the antennas. Trolley Control’s technicians will determine the best method for installing the antenna wires at the time the site survey is performed. In any case, special care is taken to maintain to aesthetics and structural integrity of the flooring surface.

Q: What if the floor cannot be cut due to building regulation concerns such as asbestos, etc.?
A: In cases when the indoor concrete cannot be cut, the standard wire antenna is replaced with a 3M product called 1125 Tape. The tape is a one-inch wide and 0.015-inch thick conductive copper tape with a self-adhesive backing. The tape is laid flat on the existing flooring and covered with 3M Contoltac Plus - a self-adhesive graphic overlay film that can be custom-printed to match the look of the existing surface.

Q: Are permits required for installation?
A: Permits may not be required for installation of the system - especially if the installation is limited to the interior of the store. However, Gatekeeper will always research the specific regulations your local municipality and confirm the specifics with property management before any work commences.

Q: Who performs the installation?
A: System installation is performed by Trolley Control technicians committed to providing the highest-quality installations in the industry.

Q: Is there an advantage in doing more than one installation at a time?
A: There can be a substantial system savings when placing multiple system orders simultaneously.

Q: Is it possible to install Purchek in stores where some trolleys are kept inside?
A: Absolutely. Purchek is designed for effective implementation in virtually any store layout scenario. In stores that keep their trolleys inside, the proper placement and configuration of permission signals and locking signals ensures the system will perform effectively while remaining completely transparent to the paying customer.

SYSTEM OPERATION

Q: How does the system affect store customers?

A: The system is fully transparent to the paying customer. Purchek is carefully designed and engineered for the express purpose of preventing theft. The normal, everyday, law-abiding customer will never know that the system exists.

Q: How are store employees notified there is a theft attempt taking place?
A: The Purchek system features an integrated audible/visible alarm designed to notify when and at what exit the theft attempt is occurring, enabling store personnel to instantly react to theft attempts. It is up to each store to decide which type of alarm system they would like to implement.  Alarming can also be linked to your store's recording device.

Q: Are store employees trained on how to operate the system?
A: Employee training plays an integral role in the overall success of the system. Every Purchek implementation includes comprehensive training on system functionality, preventative maintenance, and optimum interaction with the system. In-store training is supplemented with system documentation.

Q: Does the Gatekeeper wheel lock at the same point every time?
A: Once the locking signal has been tuned to specific store requirements, trolleys will stop at essentially the same distance from the locking signal at the exit. However, the speed at which the trolley is being pushed will in fact determine the exact point at which the Gatekeeper wheel will lock within range of the signal. Gatekeeper Systems has performed extensive testing to ensure that trolleys will lock at the exit even if the perpetrator is pushing the trolley at a rate in excess of 25 KM/H or 7 metres per second!

Q: Will the transmitter signals interfere with any other electronic devices, such as pacemakers, car alarms, or cell phones?
A: No. All Purchek signals transmit at Very Low Frequency (VLF) and are encrypted for the specific purpose of communicating with the Gatekeeper wheel.

Q: How is the Purchek system different from other similar pushout prevention systems?
A: Simply put, Purchek is the only end-to-end pushout prevention system available on the market. It's the only solution that incorporates a locking shopping trolley wheel and requires no special tagging of merchandise.

Q: Is it possible for a store to implement both Purchek and a CartControl Shopping Cart Containment system?
A: Absolutely. Purchek and CartControl operate seamlessly together because they are both based on the Gatekeeper locking-wheel technology platform. Shopping trolleys granted permission to exit the store will still lock at the exterior perimeter boundary.

Q: Can anything cause the system to go down or "crash"?
A: The small number of system failures that have been experienced have in most cases resulted from a few common scenarios including but not limited to lightning strikes and power failures.  Feel free to contact one of our Trolley Control Sales Representative to discuss each possible scenario.   

Q: How can you tell if the system goes down?
A: Both the ExitManager and PurchaseManager feature unique audible and visual system alert alarms. Both units feature two distinct alarms. One alarm is activated in case of power failure; the other in the event of antenna rupture and/or signal disruption. The audible alarm can be deactivated by a switch located on the front of the ExitManager and/or the side panel of the PurchaseManager.

Q: Is the system protected from power surges and power outages?
A: Yes. Both ExitManager and PurchaseManager feature built-in surge suppression that protects the internal circuitry from electrostatic discharge and lightning strikes. Both units also feature a battery backup array that supplies ten hours of uninterrupted backup in the event of power disruption.

Q: Is the battery backup rechargeable? How long does it take to charge?
A: Yes. As soon as power is restored, the battery backup will recharge to full capacity. A fully discharged battery backup array takes 24 hours to return to full capacity.

Q: What are the usual problems with the system?
A: While system functionality is extremely reliable, there are certain issues that arise due to human interaction with the system. Oftentimes, these issues occur as a result of employees not being trained on how to properly interact with the system. These issues include store personnel failing to activate the exit permission signal when removing unused trolleys from the store, store personnel unaware of how to properly unlock and/or reset Gatekeeper wheels, and the inadvertent unplugging of the transmitter units. With ongoing training of store employees, these problems are easily avoidable.