All Categories

Importance of Barcode Ribbons in Retail Operations

Importance of Barcode Ribbons in Retail Operations

The retail sector is the second last point at the end of any supply chain. It is a place of direct connection of customers with a brand. Retail stores are necessary, as they allow the market to exist by providing customers with a selection of goods, they can consume. In recent years, AIDC solutions have set themselves successfully throughout the retail sector. Thus, the importance of High-Quality Barcode Ribbons in retail operations cannot be denied. As they provide retail stores with a reliable and efficient means of item monitoring and tracking.

So, today we will discuss why it is so important to use high-quality barcode ribbons in your retail operations.

Types of Barcode Ribbons Used in Retail

Barcode ribbons are an essential component of thermal transfer printed barcodes. They are thin films made usually out of polyester with one side coated with an adhesive substance and ink. During printing, the roller heads and the print head hold the ribbon and the label tightly together. The heating pins in the printhead, heats the clear side of the ribbon at specific points, transferring the heat to the coating. The coating melts and gets imprinted on the label.

There are three types of ribbons available for use in the market, namely – Wax, Resin & Wax + Resin. Wax coatings are waterproof and resistant to heat and direct sunlight, but it is vulnerable to physical damage, scratches, smudges & chemical damage. On the other hand, the resin coating is invulnerable to water, chemical, heat, and physical damage. It is obvious that resin is far superior to any other kind of barcode printing, so why do we use any other method? The answer is price, resin ribbons are significantly more expensive than any other kind of ribbon or printing process for barcodes.

Applications of Barcodes in Retail Operations

The basic application of barcodes in retail is for AIDC, for identification of items by their groups and store other important information. In retail, we use primarily two types of barcodes, namely – UPC and Code 128. With the help of barcode labels & scanners, employees can easily identify items, their product group, model number & price. For this reason, businesses can use barcodes for a variety of applications, like:

Inventory Management

Barcodes help businesses in keeping track of their inventory by updating the database in real time. Using barcodes, you will know the number of a particular item in your stock and sales. This will allow you to keep your shelves restocked and also know when to replenish your inventory. It also helps you in maintaining the inventory database quickly & without error.

Location & Tracking

By filling in the information regarding the location of items in your database during restocking, barcodes can help you locate items with ease. For example, if a customer asks you for an item in a different size, you can just scan the item and check if a bigger size item is available on the computer. This saves a lot of precious time & prevents losses.


You can also streamline billing with the help of barcodes. Instead of manually putting in the item codes and other information, just scan the barcode & it will automatically retrieve information like Product Code, Item Group, and Price & feed it into the billing record. This allows the whole process to become faster and prevents human errors like overcharging.

Track Employee

Retail stores can also use barcodes as a way of access control. In short, many store owners provide employees with custom identity barcode cards. The barcode is needed to allow access in and out of the facility. This provides an accurate record of employee attendance and work time. It also denies access to any unauthorized personnel into the employee-only areas of the store.

Significance of Barcode Ribbons in Retail

AIDC systems like barcodes provide businesses with significant advantages in their day-to-day processes. In the same way, using barcode ribbons to satisfy your barcode needs also has its distinct advantages.

Resistant to Liquid

Retail stores often hold items with liquids inside them, like soft drinks, water bottles, etc. The barcode labels on these items need to be able to resist water or moisture damage. Barcodes printed using either wax or resin ribbons, are waterproof. They can also tolerate extreme heat and cold environments like the refrigerator.

Physical Damage

Items stocked in the inventory or during transit may encounter physical trauma or scratches. Barcode ribbon prints are resistant to scratches and physical damage, ensuring that the barcode is visible and readable by the time the goods reach the end of the supply chain.

Barcode Quality

Barcode ribbons provide sharper and more defined images & shapes than direct thermal printing.

Fade Resistant

Direct thermal printing uses a photochromatic label paper, the printhead directly heats the paper's surface creating distinct barcode patterns. However, this also makes the labels uniquely susceptible to heat damage. The heat from direct sunlight can cause damage to such barcodes in a short time. However, prints made using barcode ribbons use a layer of wax or resin to create images, making them resistant to extreme temperatures.


Barcodes are extremely beneficial for item tracking & inventory management applications in retail stores. They make the day-to-day time-consuming tasks efficient while reducing the risk of errors. This combination allows them to increase the productivity of the store and save costs in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What are the advantages of barcodes for customers?

Ans -  Barcodes make the process of item retrieval and billing a lot quicker, allowing customers to have a smoother & more pleasant experience while shopping. It also reduces a lot of hassles in case of a return or refund, by instantly providing details like purchase date ad warranty period.

Q2. What is barcode ribbon?

Ans - As discussed above, a barcode ribbon is a thin film made out of polyester with a coating on one side. The coating is made of layers of Primer, Ink & Topcoat. The top coat can be made of wax, resin, or a mixture of both. The printer heats the backside of the film which transfers the heat to the coating, melting it onto the label, creating barcodes.

Q3. What is the importance of using bar codes on goods sold in a supermarket?

Ans - One of the biggest significances of using barcodes on goods is that it allows the store to keep accurate track of their inventory, streamline billing and avoid running out of stock by alerting employees when the stock is getting low.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for general information purposes only and true to best of our understanding. Users are requested to use any information as per their own understanding and knowledge. Before using any of the information, please refer to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

  • Created on May 05, 2023
Scan the QR code
Click to Chat