For U.S. consumers, barcodes are a familiar part of the purchasing experience.
Without those little black-and-white stickers affixed to products, the time spent waiting in checkout lines would skyrocket.
Effective POS systems also create time-saving efficiencies for retail staff and business owners. According to Cashier Live, the leading provider of web-based POS software solutions, a POS system with barcode scanning capability can save up to 40 man hours per month.
Barcode Scanner Essentials
Barcode scanners work by reading imprints (i.e. barcodes) that are then decoded and transmitted into the POS system. However, since there is more than one type of barcode, you will need to decide which type of scanner is most appropriate for your operation.
1D barcodes are a series of black lines with variable widths. Most commonly found in the UPC format, you can use a 1D barcode scanner for all standard 1D barcode formats. 2D barcodes, on the other hand, are square in shape and contain data that is read both horizontally and vertically. 1D barcode scanners will not work for 2D barcodes, but 2D barcode scanners are capable of scanning both formats.
Types of POS Barcode Scanners
- Entry-level scanners. The most basic barcode scanners are used for low volume, close range scanning. They are the least expensive option, but their capabilities are limited and may be insufficient for many retail establishments.
- Mid-level scanners. These are a popular option for many small businesses. Although they cost a little more than entry-level barcode scanners, they can handle higher volumes and offer greater programming options. Mid-level barcode scanners are also capable of reading poorly printed bar codes -- a big benefit in a business that is required to handle a large number of bar-coded products.
- Professional level scanners. High-end barcode scanners are highly programmable and offer a variety of other features including shock and contamination resistance. These are the most expensive products on the market and are usually reserved for high-volume industrial work environments