Advice for Retailers

Open Bar Coding for Your Retail Business

Written by Samuel Muriithi for Gaebler Ventures

We all have seen bar codes on all the products we buy from supermarkets and other retail businesses. These products are automatically identified as such through the open bar coding system. What are the benefits that you can accrue by incorporating this system into your own retail business?

Open bar coding is a system perpetuated by Global Standards 1 i.e. GS1 and it involves the designation of unique international automatic identification codes to individual products.

These codes are in the form of lines and numbers. The benefits of using open bar coding in retail business are quite straightforward and logical. Having identified your products with these codes you can always be assured of accurate pricing and receipting whenever you make a sale. There is virtually no allowance for human error. Using open bar coding will also assure your customers of the prices and they can easily make price comparisons. The automatic identification and billing made possible by this system greatly enhances efficiency and faster service especially where customers have to queue.

As a retailer the benefits of using open bar coding accrue for you as well with regards to the improvement of efficiency and productivity. With this system you will always be able be on top of stock control. You will be in a better position to know what products sell best and as such know what products should get the lion's share of shelf space. The same can also be said about monitoring the performance of new products. The open bar coding system totally eliminates the risk of conniving employees keying in less prices to appease their relatives and friends at your expense. These are all ways through which your competitiveness can be increased.

To be able to enjoy the benefits of open bar coding as a retailer you should invest in the right equipment and technology. It is with this technology that you will even be able to ascertain the origin of your supplies when their quality is in question. With this system you will be better placed to defend your business when a customer files a complaint against a product purchased at your store - all you have to do is pinpoint the source. This is because the open bar coding system provides code details that identify the country of origin, the source company and the item itself.

Samuel Muriithi is a business owner in Nairobi, Kenya. He has extensive international business experience in the United States and India.

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