Gatekeeper Systems
Gatekeeper Systems, Inc.

CartControl® Shopping Cart Retention FAQ's

ABOUT GATEKEEPER SYSTEMS®

Q: Who are Gatekeeper Systems' customers?

A: There are thousands of Gatekeeper loss-prevention solutions installed throughout the world. In the United States, Gatekeeper has installed cart containment systems for 18 of the top 20 retailers with carts in the world. Over 2 million shopping carts are protected with Gatekeeper solutions.  We are proud to have several of the largest retailers around the globe as members of our family of satisfied customers.

Q: How long have the systems been installed?

A: Gatekeeper Systems installed its first system in 1998 and has proceeded to install thousands of additional systems since.

GENERAL SYSTEM INFORMATION

Q: How do the CartControl® shopping cart retention systems work?

A: The CartControl shopping cart retention systems are patented electronic systems that comprehensively prevent the removal of shopping carts from store premises. The CartControl shopping cart retention systems combine a digitally-encoded locking signal, embedded perimeter antenna, and our patented self-braking shopping cart wheel. A digital locking signal is transmitted via an embedded cable. The path of the cable establishes a perimeter boundary. An electronically-activated, self-braking wheel installed on each cart is designed to lock when it comes within range of the perimeter boundary signal.

Q: How successful is the system in the prevention of cart loss?

A: The CartControl shopping cart retention systems are unparalleled in the success of preventing shopping cart loss. CartControl Systems have been proven to deliver up to a 95% retention rate, by far the highest in the industry.

Q: What kind of warranty does the system have?

A: The CartControl shopping cart retention systems come with a comprehensive one-year parts and labor warranty covering all manufacturer's defects.

Q: Is there an extended warranty available?

A: Yes. An additional year of warranty protection can be purchased at anytime within the first year of installation.

Q: Beyond cart loss and retrieval costs, what other benefits are there to the system?

A: In addition to cutting the costs associated with lost shopping cart inventory, the CartControl shopping cart retention systems also reduce the costs associated with retrieval and city ordinance fines. In addition to quantifiable financial benefits, there are also numerous intangible benefits associated with implementing a CartControl shopping cart retention system, including increased sales, improved customer satisfaction, reduction in liability/risk, stable cart inventory, lower maintenance costs, and improved community relations.

Q: How much does the system cost and what is the return on investment period?

A: Although the system components are identical for every installation, it is necessary to acquire specific information regarding store layout, cart 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 6 months. If you are interested in obtaining a quotation, please Contact Our Sales Force.

Q: Is it possible to reduce cart inventory after the CartControl Systems are installed?

A: In almost all cases, yes. The system will not only allow you to keep more carts on store premises, it will also help decrease the amount of maintenance required as a result of carts being removed from the premises and sustaining damage. In addition, because so few carts are lost or damaged, the inventory of spare carts can also be decreased.

Q: Can the Perimeter Antenna cable and system cost be shared with an adjoining retailer?

A: Absolutely. Gatekeeper Systems has several installations across the country where customers have worked with other stores in their shopping complex to jointly implement a CartControl shopping cart retention system. This not only defrays the initial system cost, but also provides more comprehensive protection against overall cart removal while avoiding any community and liability issues associated with the specific shopping complex.

Q: How do I find information on whether or not my city has a shopping cart ordinance and what the requirements are?

A: For its customers convenience and quick reference, Gatekeeper Systems keeps a list of all of the city's in the U.S. that they are aware of, that have shopping cart ordinances, as well as links to the ordinance. While Gatekeeper tries to keep the list as updated as possible, contacting your city is always the best way to receive up-to-date and accurate information.

GS2 WHEEL®

Q: What is the life expectancy of the GS2 locking shopping cart wheel?

A: Tests have proven that the serviceable life of the GS2 locking shopping cart wheel is approximately three to five years. However, we prefer to conservatively estimate its life to be approximately three years or four-thousand cycles (lock + unlock) under normal use. "Normal use" is defined by three cycles per day.

Q: Will the GS2 locking shopping cart 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 GS2 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 GS2 locking shopping cart wheel work?

A: The GS2 wheel contains a RF receiver antenna, which receives digitally-encoded signals from the embedded Perimeter Antenna. When a cart comes within range of the Perimeter Antenna's locking signal, the signal is received by the GS2 wheel.  Upon receiving the signal, the GS2 wheel locks.  When the GS2 wheel receives an unlock signal (either from a CartKey® remote control or the Perimeter Antenna in Master Unlock mode), the wheel rolls freely again.

Q: How do you unlock a Gatekeeper locking shopping cart wheel?

A: To unlock a cart that has crossed the transmitter boundary, 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 cart back in service. The CartKey remote control has a range of four feet which allows employees to quickly and easily unlock carts without any bending, lifting, or manual intervention of any kind.

Q: When the GS2 wheel fails, does it do so in the locked position?

A: While wheel failures are rare, they do occur. The only time a GS2 wheel will fail and prevent customers from using a cart 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 the wheel to lock is 2.2 seconds from the time the GS2 wheel receives the locking signal from the Perimeter Antenna.

Q: How is the GS2 locking shopping cart wheel installed and will it affect cart performance?

A: The GS2 wheel simply replaces one of the front wheels on a standard shopping cart. GS2 wheels are installed at the store at the time of system installation by our certified technicians. Unlike other cart containment systems, the standardized GS2 wheel enables quick and easy installation on the widest variety of shopping carts without any alteration to the shopping cart's performance and minimal alteration in appearance.

Q: Is it possible to install the GS2 locking shopping cart wheel at the shopping cart manufacturer?

A: Absolutely, Gatekeeper Systems has established relationships with all of the major cart manufacturers. Because the GS2 wheel is completely standardized, it easily fits most North American and European cart models. Most of the manufacturers will install the GS2 wheel at the factory at little or no additional cost.

Q: What stops someone from simply tipping the cart backwards in order to continue rolling it once the GS2 wheel has locked?

A: An integral part of the GS2 system 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 GS2 wheel. The Anti-Tilt Bar limits the cart from being tilted back. If the cart is tipped back, the Anti-Tilt Bar will drag or snag on the ground, making the cart virtually impossible to push.

Q: How does the GS2 locking shopping cart wheel stand up to extreme weather conditions?

A: The GS2 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 -30 degrees Fahrenheit to extreme high temperatures exceeding 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, GS2 wheels have been found to be fully operational after being submerged under water for over six months.

Q: What type of tread is used on the GS2 locking shopping cart wheel and can it be replaced?

A: The tread used on the GS2 wheel is a non-marring, non-conductive (anti-static) 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 cart 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 GS2 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 GS2 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 REMOTE CONTROL

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

A: The CartKey signal has a maximum signal range of four-feet and a minimum signal range of 18-inches. The CartKey is designed and engineered so store personnel can quickly and easily unlock or reset GS2 wheels without any manual intervention or physical strain. The maximum range was set at four feet in order to provide an optimum balance between convenience and control; setting the maximum range at greater than four feet could result in personnel inadvertently locking nearby carts.

Q: How much time does a store employee have to remove a cart from the range of the Perimeter Antenna signal once they have used the CartKey to unlock a GS2 wheel?

A: From the time the GS2 wheel receives the unlock signal from the CartKey, the store employee has thirty (30) seconds to roll the cart out of range of the locking signal. GS2 wheels which are unlocked but left within range of the Perimeter Antenna locking signal will lock again after thirty seconds has elapsed.

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 Gatekeeper Customer Service.

Q: Is there a way to temporarily disable the signal so that multiple carts may be retrieved at once?

A: Yes. The CartControl cart retention systems feature a "Master Unlock" procedure that enables the retrieval of multiple locked carts along the perimeter boundary. The procedure is initiated by pressing the silver button on the front of the CentralTransmitter panel. When activated, the CentralTransmitter sends an unlock signal instead of the normal lock signal-unlocking all carts within range of the perimeter antenna. The unlock signal will stay in effect for thirty (30) seconds. During this period, additional store personnel stationed along the perimeter boundary are able to retrieve carts. After thirty-seconds has passed, normal operation will resume.

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.

CENTRALTRANSMITTER

Q: Where is the CentralTransmitter installed?

A: While the CentralTransmitter can be installed in almost any secure area with an exterior wall, it is most commonly located in the receiving area or in one of the store offices.

Q: How large a perimeter can the CentralTransmitter protect?

A: The CentralTransmitter can protect up to 5,000 linear feet of perimeter boundary (that's almost an entire mile)!

INSTALLATION

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

A: The average installation is completed in two days. In order to best serve the customer and avoid unnecessary interruptions, the majority of the CartControl System installations are performed during non-peak operating hours. Some installations require more time due to the complexity and/or scope of the implementation.

Q: Does the parking lot need to be trenched?

A: No. Because the Perimeter Antenna cable is only a quarter-inch in diameter, only a small quarter-inch wide by one-inch deep saw cut is required. We use a compact, precision saw-cutting machine to achieve the straightest, most uniform groove lines.

Q: How is the saw cut groove sealed?

A: The groove is sealed to the original surface level using a weatherproof sealant that matches the color of the existing surface-be it asphalt or concrete.

Q: Are permits required for installation?

A: Permits may not be required for installation of the system. However, Gatekeeper will always research the specific regulations your local municipality and confirm the specifics with property management before any work commences.

Q: Will the embedded antenna groove cause the asphalt to "heave" in extreme cold weather?

A: No. "Heaving" is caused by water seeping into the ground and freezing-pushing up pavement. To ensure that all grooves are impermeable to water, we utilize a waterproof sealant.

Q: Who performs the installation?

A: System installation is performed by certified Gatekeeper Field Service 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.

SYSTEM OPERATION

Q: How are store customers notified about the presence of the system?

A: Every CartControl shopping cart retention system includes a Customer Awareness Component. The Customer Awareness Component utilizes four notification elements. First, informational flyers are handed out to store customers before the system is installed. Next, small signs are mounted on each shopping cart to notify customers of the system's presence and functionality. Large signs are also installed at various points throughout the parking lot to further alert customers that their carts will lock if taken within range of the perimeter. Finally, distinctive graphics are applied to the parking lot surface at each primary exit point along the perimeter boundary.

Q: How does the system affect store customers?

A: Reports from our existing installation base show that the majority of customers and residents in the surrounding neighborhoods support the use of the system. In addition, many stores utilizing a CartControl System report improvements in overall customer satisfaction-resulting in higher sales.

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 CartControl shopping cart retention system includes comprehensive training on system functionality, preventative maintenance, and optimum interaction with the system. In-store training is supplemented with system documentation that includes: step-by-step instructions on how to perform key system operations, Frequently Asked Questions, troubleshooting information, and Gatekeeper Customer Service contact information.

Q: Does the GS2 wheel lock at the same point every time?

A: Once the locking signal has been tuned to specific store requirements, carts will stop at essentially the same distance from the Perimeter Antenna. However, the speed at which the cart is being pushed will in fact determine the exact point at which the GS2 wheel will lock within range of the Perimeter Antenna.

Q: Will the locking signal interfere with any other electronic devices, such as pacemakers, car alarms, or cell phones?

A: The CartControl shopping cart retention systems are Very Low Frequency (VLF) and are encrypted for the specific purpose of locking our customized shopping cart wheels. All CartControl shopping cart retention systems components comply with FCC Part 15.

Q: Will carts lock inside the store or far away from the Perimeter Antenna?

A: No. The locking signal carried by the Perimeter Antenna is fine-tuned at the time of installation and then thoroughly tested by a Gatekeeper Field Service Technician to only lock in the designated perimeter area.

Q: Are the digital CartControl shopping cart retention systems compatible with the analog version?

A: No. While the core mechanical components of the system are the same, the processing technology that drives the operation of the components has changed significantly. Gatekeeper is more than happy to accommodate existing customers wishing to upgrade to the digital system. Contact Sales for more information about the benefits of upgrading to the latest generation of CartControl shopping cart retention technology.

Q: How are the CartControl shopping cart retention systems different from other similar cart retention systems?

A: The CartControl shopping cart retention systems are one-of-a-kind when it comes to shopping cart retention. While there are a few other companies currently marketing similar products, no other company or system competes with Gatekeeper Systems when it comes to providing the high level of service, support, and technology that has established Gatekeeper as the market leader. In side-by-side comparisons, it is easy to understand why CartControl shopping cart retention systems are the premier cart retention systems. No other system comes close when it comes to ease-of-use, quality, and effectiveness.

Q: Can the CartControl shopping cart retention systems be adapted to keep carts from exiting the store?

A: Yes. For customers wishing to contain carts within the store, the CartControl shopping cart retention systems can be implemented indoors. Gatekeeper has installed hundreds of indoor CartControl shopping cart retention systems applications all over the world.

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 failure.  Feel free to contact one of our Gatekeeper Sales Representative to discuss each possible scenario. 

Q: How can you tell if the system goes down?

A: The number one cause of system failure is the inadvertent cutting of the Perimeter Antenna. If this should happen, the CentralTransmitter sounds an alarm, indicating that the Perimeter Antenna is no longer carrying the signal around the length of the perimeter boundary. After the store contacts Gatekeeper Customer Service, a Gatekeeper Field Service Technician will perform a site visit in order to repair the damaged antenna cable.

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 new employees not trained how to properly unlock wheels and the inadvertent unplugging of the CentralTransmitter. With ongoing training of store employees and proper property management notification, these problems are easily avoidable.

Q: What happens if there is an existing Carttronics CAPS cart containment system at the same location?

A: When installing a CartControl shopping cart retention system in a location where a store (other than that of our customer) features the CAPS system from Carttronics, the EP2000 system is implemented to avoid any potential for system conflict. The EP2000 solution includes standard CartControl System components specifically designed to ensure the system will coexist with the CAPS system.

Q: Is it possible to convert from the Carttronics CAPS system to a CartControl shopping cart retention system?

A: Gatekeeper Systems has developed a solution that allows customers using a Carttronics CAPS shopping cart containment system to easily and affordably convert to Gatekeeper's industry-leading CartControl Systems. The EP2000 system enables customers to step up to the best in cart containment while preserving their initial investment. EP2000 allows both the GS2 Wheel and the CAPS wheel to operate in the same environment. The system conversion requires minimal implementation time and enables the customer to use many of the original components.

Q: Is it possible to convert from the Carttronics CAPS system to the CartControl shopping cart retention systems and use the same cable?

A: Yes. The EP2000 system utilizes the original CAPS antenna cable.

SERVICE & SUPPORT

Q: What is the service response time if the system does go down?

A: Customers who notify Gatekeeper Systems of a system failure will receive a visit from a certified Gatekeeper Field Service Technician within 24 hours of the initial service call.

Q: What do customers do when there is a problem?

A: When it comes to service and support, Gatekeeper Systems places the highest priority on quickly and efficiently meeting the needs of our customers. Customers can reach a Gatekeeper Systems Customer Service Representative anytime via the 24 hour Toll-Free Technical Support Hotline at 888.808.9433 (in the U.S.) or +1.949.453.1940.

Q: Who will provide ongoing maintenance?

A: Ongoing system maintenance will be provided by certified Gatekeeper Systems Field Service Technicians. In order to ensure prompt response to service requests, Gatekeeper Systems has also established relationships with several retail services contractors who are trained and certified by Gatekeeper Systems to provide the highest-quality service and maintenance.

Q: How do stores keep from losing carts for the brief system downtime period?

A: In the unlikely event of a system failure, we suggest that store personnel take an active role by frequently retrieving carts from the parking lot. The added presence of store personnel in the parking lot will often discourage losses during the brief period the system is unavailable.