There Are Many Uses of a Barcode Scanner

Barcode scanners, like copiers, feature specialized light and sensor instruments that scan images. Unlike a copier that scans and replicates an image in a paper or digital format, a barcode scanner reads an image and interprets what it means. A barcode reader is an identification tool that uses special software to decode a specific image label, the barcode, with software programmed into the scanner and equipment linked to it. A barcode can consist of bars of varying lengths, widths and spaces, dots, numbers, pixel-style blocks and other shapes. Retail product codes, also known as one-dimensional (1D) barcodes, typically consist of black bars and numbers on a white background. They feature less encoded data than two-dimensional (2D) or Quick Response barcodes. QR codes consist of shapes and text in black or one or more colors on a white or light-colored background inside of a square border. Some people add a logo or message to their QR codes.

Barcode Scanners and Retail Sales

Most consumers initially come into contact with barcode scanners in stores in the form of stationary scanners housed in weight scale, checkout and point of sale equipment. These scanners require that a cashier or self-checkout shoppers swipe a product's barcode above or in front of the scanner. To make large and bulk sale item checkout easier, stores typically offer handheld scanners as well so users can scan products without removing them from shopping carts or wood pallets. These readers are also known as trigger scanners because they require the user to pull back on a trigger-style button to prompt the device to read the barcode. In big box stores, consumers can sometimes find out the prices of products before they check out by using barcode scanners mounted on columns and shelving units. Scanner software also helps store employees better monitor and manage merchandise and study consumer shopping habits. For example, they can track inventory leaving the store, which makes restocking easier, and use sales data to plan new sales and promotions based on buyer trends and item popularity.

QR Scanners

QR barcodes are designed for engagement. They prompt consumers to interact with specific information. For example, their encoded data might provide consumers with business contact details, a link to a website or video, exclusive content related to an entertainment or service product or a discount code. Some QR codes prompt consumers to provide feedback via text message, email or online form. You can find QR codes on products and promotional materials like newspaper advertisements, posters, flyers and package or mail inserts. A QR code scanner doesn't work the same way as a 1D barcode scanner. A consumer only needs a photograph of the code and software that can translate the encoded data. As a result, a smartphone can double as a handheld QR code reader. Since QR codes are "read" by software scanning a photograph, the format a business uses to display these codes isn't restricted to a printed flat surface. For example, you can find scannable QR codes drawn by hand on café sidewalk whiteboard/chalkboard signs and even QR code artwork and landscape sculptures.

Other Uses

Individuals, businesses, organizations, government entities and others have found many creative ways to use barcodes. Brick-and-mortar retailers print QR codes on receipts to make it easier for customers who have smartphones to add purchase points to their loyalty program accounts, receive discounts toward future purchases and participate in contests and online events. Virtual store owners offer shoppable walls in various offline locations that feature images of their products so that customers who are too busy to shop in stores or dislike crowds can quickly scan codes associated with the products that they want to buy using their phones. These shoppers then simply pick up the products at the stores or order them for shipment to their homes or offices. Museums often use QR barcodes to enhance the experience of smartphone owners with fun facts about a historic location or item on display. Companies also use barcodes to speed up the time it takes to securely log into social media and other online accounts and verify that concert, film and other special event participants have valid printed tickets.

Other Articles