Electronics: What You Need to Know

How to Use Barcodes and Scanners When Setting Up a New Retail Business

If you're setting up a new retail business and this is your first time working in the industry, then it's important to have systems and strategies that you can trust and that can allow you to maximise your revenues on an ongoing basis. Some of this equipment will be used at the point-of-sale location, and you will need to get the best barcode scanning gear that you can to streamline the process. If you've never worked with this technology before, what do you need to know about it?

Not New Technology

Did you know that barcodes have been around for decades and were first dreamed up by an American in 1949? They were patented soon after, but they didn't find favour in the retail industry, at least in their modern and recognisable form, until the '70s.

Understanding Barcodes

There are two different types of barcodes: linear and 2-D. The latter is more popular now, and it can identify and register a lot of information, including item price, quantity and other data. Retail products are identified through a universal product code, which includes a barcode and the 12-digit identification number. The last number here is a check digit, and when verified, it confirms that the item was scanned correctly.

How a Scanner Works

A barcode scanner is used to register and process the individual codes, and this scanner is made up of three separate parts: an illuminator, a sensor and a decoder. First, the code is illuminated with a red beam before it is converted into text in the form of an analogue signal. This is sent to the decoder, which interprets the signal, validates its authenticity with the check digit and converts it into text. This is then linked to the database to make a note of the sale and adjust the inventory.

Choosing the Scanner Type

There are many different types of barcode scanner, including CCD, laser, pen and camera. Several factors will dictate the choice of scanner, but one thing is for sure — the correct equipment will make the job of the retailer a great deal easier. They will be able to eliminate errors, achieve higher levels of security, speed up the process and keep their customers happy by using the right of equipment and by installing the best quality barcode systems they can find.

Buying Your Equipment

When you are looking for barcode scanners, it pays to work with the best in the industry. Ask others with more experience in the retail sector to guide you, and this will help you to make the best choice.

Contact a retailer like an IDEC distributor in your area to learn more about scanners and other electronics that you can use in your new business.