AIDC technologies like barcodes, allow businesses to efficiently identify and track assets, at minimal additional cost. These are visual codes that hold data in binary format using bars or a data matrix. One of the most commonly seen uses of barcodes by the general population is at the Point of Sale in any retail outfit.
A POS is an essential station of a retail operation & must operate smoothly. That is why today we are talking about barcode integration with POS systems.
What is POS?
During its time of terming in the 1950s, Point of Sale, more commonly known as POS, was the name given to the storefront. The place where the actual sale of a product was happening. In the present day, it refers to a system that records and updates the database about the sale of goods in real time.
There are many technologies that businesses can use to automate POS systems and make them more accurate and efficient.
Benefits of Barcode Integration at POS
The main questions that would be coming to your head right now, must be, why use barcodes at all? Making a bill surely isn’t that hard, is it? Well, no, but also yes. When it comes to a large volume of products, then keeping data entry and record keeping becomes time-consuming and inaccurate.
That’s why so many businesses use affordable AIDC solutions like barcodes. So, let’s see the advantages of integrating barcodes at the POS.
(A). Automation & Streamlining
The primary function that barcodes provide in any business operation is an increased measure of automation. Although they still require a manual operator, they still severely reduce the time to automate the collection of data and create bills using a custom template.
The second biggest advantage of such systems is that they are not prone to errors. Or at least it is significantly rarer than human operators. Errors in data collection and record-keeping can result in problems like out-of-stock, recalls, theft, etc.
(C). Inventory Management
Lastly, managing the inventory can become a tedious task, especially as the volume of the products increases. Therefore, it is always a good idea to shift to RFID if you are operating a medium size business. Using this technology, you can simply update your inventory at any time.
Types of Barcode Systems Suitable for POS
Due to their vast applications, there is a host of different barcode systems available in the market; in different shapes, sizes, and working principles/technology. From 1D and 2D code formats to different types of ink and label materials, suitable for different applications and surfaces. However, these aspects have little to do with POS, but rather with the storage and environment of the operations.
However, there is one component of these systems that depends on the Point of Sale or Point of Reading. These are the scanners; there are several types of barcode scanners available for use. So, let’s check them out briefly.
Types of Barcode Scanners & Their Compatibility with POS Operations
There are three primary types of readers based on applications and three based on working technology. So, let’s check them out.
Barcode Scanners Based on Applications
Due to different needs for mobility, size, and weight; manufacturers have developed separate classes of scanners. These are In-Counter, Fixed Mount, and Handheld.
(A). In-Counter Scanner
These are generally bulky and big, and you may have mostly seen them in supermarkets’ billing sections. These scanners are attached as part of the counter, they make scanning easier and more efficient at the point of sale. However, their biggest downfall is that they are not mobile, and in the event of failure, you cannot easily replace them. Meaning that the counter must remain inoperable for some time.
(B). Fixed Mount Scanner
These scanners are generally smaller, and you may have seen them in both supermarkets and general stores. These are by far the most economically viable option for medium to small businesses. These are small and light enough to easily move around, however, they still need to be connected to a central system.
(C). Handheld Scanner
As the name suggests, these scanners are highly portable and ergonomic. Their main application is in warehouses, where you need to cover large areas. However, they can still be used at POS to streamline billing procedures.
Barcode Scanners Based on Technology
The second factor for the classification of scanners is the technology used in them. Based on the working principle, scanners can be of three types:
(A). LED Scanner
As the name suggests, these scanners use an internal LED to light up that barcode. The barcode reflects the lights in different intensities, and the sensor inside the scanner identifies the different patterns in the reflection and converts the data into binary form & then into a readable format.
(B). Laser Scanner
These work pretty much the same way that LED scanners work, except instead of an internal LED, they use a laser array to illuminate the barcodes. The limitation with Laser & LED scanners is that they can only read 1D (1 Dimensional) barcodes, as they aren’t capable of recognizing data matrix.
(C). Area-Imagine Scanner
Lastly, we have the area-imagine sensors. Unlike the previous two scanners, these scanners use a high-resolution camera to take a picture of the barcode. These scanners then use advanced image processing software to decode the barcodes. They can work with both 1D and 2D codes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How do barcodes work in POS?
At the Point-of-Sale, barcode systems allow users to streamline processes like billing and payment. Not only making it quicker but far more accurate.
Q2. What is a POS integration?
A POS refers to the point in any retail organization where the actual sale of the good occurs. A POS integration refers to the integration of any other technology like barcodes, RFID, etc., with the POS systems.
Q3. How data is stored in the barcode?
There are two methods by which barcodes can store data, depending on the type of barcode. In 1D codes, the bars represent a binary digit; usually, the black bar refers to “0”, and the white bars refer to “1”.
In 2D codes, the image is a data matrix made up of many cells. These cells can be white or black, or any other significantly contrasting colors. The scanner reads this and converts it into readable format.