How to choose what kind of barcode scanner your business needs

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Regardless of whether you are a business owner, employee, or customer, you have probably encountered barcode scanners, or at least barcodes themselves. They are an important part of a business, especially ones that sell goods. Barcodes are ubiquitous – we see them everywhere from items at supermarkets to our delivery packages. 

So, what kind of barcode scanner does your business need? Keep reading for our guide on barcode scanners and which ones will suit your business. 

What is a barcode scanner?

A barcode scanner, otherwise known as a barcode reader or point of sale (POS) scanner, is a device that can read or scan product barcodes, decoding the information and converting it into text. This text can then be uploaded onto a computer that is connected to a database holding all information regarding products sold. A barcode scanner is typically a hand-held, portable device that consists of the decoder, a sensor, and a light source. 

The purpose of barcode scanners

As their name suggests, barcode scanners scan barcodes, thus without them, barcodes are essentially useless. Barcode technology has revolutionised industries that sell products, particularly for supermarkets or shops that can use barcode scanners at checkout points. 

Barcode scanners are extremely useful items to invest in if you plan on utilising barcode technology, and can be easily repaired by MCR Repair or other barcode scanner repair providers.

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Types of barcode scanner for your business

Although you may mainly see barcode scanners in places where goods can be sold, there is a range of different types of barcode scanners that are appropriate for multiple uses, so it is worthwhile looking into what barcode reader is most suitable for your business needs. The most common barcode scanners are:

  • Handheld barcode scanners 

One of the most convenient barcode scanners, handheld barcode scanners (depending on type) can scan 1D, 2D and even barcodes on LCD screens, which makes them a perfect tool for a variety of businesses. In particular, they are great for businesses selling tickets such as cinemas or theatres where customers have to present a ticket (in the form of a barcode/quick response or QR code) that can be scanned with the handheld barcode scanner. 

In fact, QR codes are increasingly used in businesses as these can be scanned by modern smartphones as well, which can help improve customer experience. Nonetheless, QR codes are becoming extremely popular in many industries, and it is not surprising to see businesses using them as e-tickets to replace paper tickets. 

  • Hands-free barcode scanners 

Hands-free barcode scanners are, well, hands-free and do not require much effort on the part of the employee or clerk. Instead, it is commonly a scanner that is placed on top of a counter at checkout or customer service areas where customers are able to scan an e-voucher or coupon, or even their loyalty card. As a result, it is often pointed towards the customer, but does not necessarily require any additional handling unlike its handheld counterpart. 

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This type of barcode scanner is beneficial for businesses with loyalty cards or loyalty programmes that offer discount vouchers or coupons in the form of a QR code or digital barcode. For instance, retail businesses and even restaurants are industries that may find hands-free barcode readers advantageous.

  • Integrated barcode scanners 

This type of barcode scanner refers to scanners that are usually installed within a counter itself, as seen in checkout points and self-checkouts at supermarkets and shops. It is a stationary barcode scanner that covers a relatively bigger area than that of handheld and hands-free barcode scanners, enabling both employees and customers to just swipe barcodes of products across the reader for easy and instant scanning. 

As mentioned, this is ideal for businesses that have incorporated self-checkout and normal checkout spaces like grocery shops, supermarkets, and retail businesses, allowing for efficient scanning of product barcodes.

Your business and barcode scanners

The list above is not an exhaustive compilation of every available barcode scanner, so keep in mind that there are other barcode scanners that may be useful for your business. On the one hand, it is probable that you will most likely use one or more of the above barcode readers for your business as these are the most popular types within businesses. 

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It is worth noting that you have the ability to implement more than one type of barcode scanner. Truthfully, many businesses combine different barcode readers, with retail businesses utilising both integrated and handheld scanners, so you should not feel restricted or limited in the types of barcode scanners you are able to use for your business.