7 Myths About Barcodes and Barcode Scanners Debunked

If you’re considering adding barcodes to your retail shop, you probably have many questions, especially if you’ve never worked with them before. There are a lot of myths about what they do and how they work, and it’s a good idea to debunk them before you get started. Here are seven of the most common myths you’ll run into as you investigate, and why they aren’t true.

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1. Barcodes Will Tell Where a Product Was Made

Snopes was kind enough to debunk this a while back. In some cases, the first three digits can denote where a company is headquartered, but that may or may not be where a product is manufactured.

2. The Popularity of Barcodes Is Fading

There was some hype about QR codes a while back, and there were rumors of their popularity fading. Those are different than traditional barcodes and are mostly used in marketing and advertising. Although there aren’t a lot of them around, there are still many places that print them on products and phones along with apps available to read them. There’s no research at all that suggests either technology will fade anytime soon.

3. Looking into a Barcode Scanner Will Blind You

Most of today’s barcode scanners use LED lights, and LEDs are just about everywhere else too. Although there is some data to suggest it’s possible, you’d probably have to look into a barcode scanner for a very long time before it could cause injury. In a recent study, the only color that was shown to cause damage was blue.

4. It Takes a Lot of Time to Convert

If you’re considering switching over to barcodes within your retail shop, the amount of time it takes will vary based on how many different items you have. However, you can also try doing one section of the store at a time or converting items as you receive them.

5. It Costs a Lot of Money to Convert

A decent barcode scanner runs at least a couple-hundred bucks. However, if you run on a POS system, your only other cost is labels. It’s actually more economical than most people would think.

6. My Merchandise Can’t Be Barcoded

Aside from live animals, there isn’t a whole lot that can’t get a code. Apparel can be tagged, and even beverages will usually do ok with a label on the lid.

7. It’s Difficult to Understand How They Work

Today’s packages include intuitive software, so there’s very little to learn. If you can work an iPad, you can handle a barcode scanner.

Most retailers, even small ones, can benefit from using barcodes. The fact is that they reduce errors and increase efficiency, because less time is devoted to searching for items and keying in merchandise. Over time, accuracy and shorter checkout times will add up to large reductions in costs that help to offset the cost of implementing the system. The tags also help brand your products, which is a major factor in successful and marketing. If you take the time to develop a creative barcode that includes your company logo, you’re helping to establish consistency and instant brand recognition.

Once you’ve considered the design of your barcode, you can also choose to include security features on barcode itself. Some paper labels are designed to break apart upon removal, so that people can’t switch tags in the store. You can also opt for an easily-removed variety, as well as a permanent adhesion. Other companies will give you the option of having a layer that trips your security system embedded in the paper. So, before you invest in any one part of this puzzle, you’ll need to make sure each is compatible.

The barcode scanner itself is an important piece of the puzzle. Also keep in mind that some are designed for 1D scanning and others for 2D, so you’ll also need to know which of these you prefer before you purchase. 1D tends to be the standard in retail. Those are the rectangular ones that have a series of bars lined up neatly. 2D includes the QR Codes mentioned earlier as well as others that use shapes to convey information. They hold more data than 1D, but that’s not necessary for basic and daily inventory needs. It may have benefit if you wish to have additional information on the labels. Some companies opt for these when shipping items, and others also implement them on product displays so that customers can scan them and learn more about the product.

Barcodes have been a retail standard for decades and will continue to be for a long time. If you’re having trouble keeping track of your inventory, or would like to speed up the checkout process, it might be time for you to consider implementing the system.