Sometimes retailers pay a price for the technology they don’t use.
A prime example is the simple barcode scanner, which automates checkout and allows inventory to be tracked instantly, among other benefits. You would think that using point of sale software with barcode scanner capability would be a no-brainer for retailers.
Yet the National Retail Federation reports that the average “shrink rate” in the retail industry in 2019 was 1.38 percent. The shrink rate is unchanged since 2014 despite the widespread adoption of barcode scanners and other technologies that improve the accuracy of retail operations.
Businesses continue to pay the price for inventory lost due to theft, administrative errors, and supplier fraud. Choosing point of sale software with barcode scanner capability can have a positive impact on a retailer’s bottom line, but only if its mix of features matches the business’s unique needs.
How a POS with Barcode Scanners Boosts Retail Productivity
Customers want to be served quickly, and they want their orders to be complete and accurate. Barcode scanners help retailers keep their customers happy by speeding them through the checkout and minimizing errors. However, processing transactions quickly is far from the only benefit of point of sale software with barcode scanners.
- Scanners improve the timeliness and accuracy of inventory tracking to avoid running out of items or having too much stock on hand.
- The technology makes it easy to update prices to avoid having to retag items manually.
- The devices improve the accuracy of employee timekeeping and record-keeping.
- They help retailers keep track of office and warehouse equipment and other physical assets.
- They make it easier to locate items that move frequently from place to place, such as tablets and other portable devices.
In addition to improving the day-to-day management of a retail operation, POS systems with integrated barcode scanners help businesses collect information about their customers, including their purchase histories and preferences. This allows store employees to recommend items the customers may like during checkout. It also helps stores tie promotions and loyalty rewards to the accounts of their best customers.
How POS Software Is Being Enhanced to Work with Barcodes
A recent innovation in POS systems allows the camera on an iPad to be used to scan barcodes. The system can also be used to associate existing UPCs to the products entered in the POS system or generate unique barcodes for items that don’t have a code preassigned. Multiple barcodes can be created for a single product, but each must be 8 or 12 characters long and separated by a comma.
An example of a barcode-enabled POS station is the Elo Touch, which is compatible with Apple iPads and connects to the devices through the dock connector. The Elo Station combines a cash drawer and receipt printer along with the scanner; receipts are printed on 2/4” thermal paper.
The barcode scanner can also be used to conduct stock takes to confirm that reported inventory levels are accurate. A stocktake can be completed for all inventory items or for a selected list of items; the items can be added to the list by selecting them manually, or by using the barcode scanner, which will add one “Counted” quantity for each scan.
Embedding Data into Barcodes and Printing Barcode Labels
The effectiveness of a retail barcode system depends on the data that is embedded in the barcode. This information may include the price, weight, SKU/PLU, and quantity. The identifier determines whether the barcode will have data embedded; to include multiple values, separate them with commas.
Choose a barcode format, which may include Flag, SKU/PLU, Check Digit, Weight, and Price. Next, select whether the barcode quantity will always be “1” or whether to add the quantity manually. The quantity can also be set by price or by weight.
To print a barcode label, first select the products for which labels will be printed (or choose a category to print labels for all products). A barcode will be assigned automatically to any products that don’t already have one. However, a barcode that is not in UPC format and is longer than 8 characters will be too large to fit on a single label. In such cases, the system will prompt you to ask whether you want a new barcode to be assigned to the product.
After confirming the products and quantities for which labels will be printed, choose one of four print options:
- Light — barcode only
- With name — barcode, name, and price
- With item — barcode, item number, and price
- Jewelry — barcode only
When printing from the cloud, a PDF will be downloaded that can be opened and printed from any device. When printing from an Epson TM-L90 printer, choose Barcodes from the Actions menu, select the product for which labels will be printed, choose the Barcode List option to specify the number of labels to be printed for each item, and select Print and Confirm. It’s that simple!
Finding the Best Point of Sale Software with Barcode Scanner
The boost to productivity that a point of sale system with barcode scanner capability offers to retailers can only be realized by ensuring the POS system has the features and functionality that your business needs, without unnecessary bells and whistles. That’s why it’s important to work with a POS vendor who will listen to and respond to your goals and concerns.
Technology can do wonders to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of a retail operation, but only if it’s the right technology at the right time and place. Barcode scanners help make POS systems the pathway to your business’s success.
When you partner with talech for your retail technology needs, we devote our time to identifying your business challenges. We use this information to work with you to find innovative POS solutions that level the playing field. Reach out to us today to sign up for a demo and to learn more about how talech can be your valued POS partner.