Barcoding in the Retail Industry

In the world that we currently live in, it’s hard not to find barcodes wherever you go. You can find barcodes on boxes of food, bottles, magazines, and even billboards in the street. In high street shops that you go in, there are also barcodes on clothing items, furniture, appliances; they are everywhere.

We have previously discussed barcodes in the food industry, how they are used and how they are changing the food industry. Now, we will look at barcoding in the retail industry and why it is important on various levels.

Yound women shopping

How are Barcodes Used in the Retail Industry?

The concept behind barcodes is that they encode information about a specific product and even a batch of products. For example, if you have a box of shoes, the box itself will have a different barcode to the ones on the individual pairs of shoes.

The reason for this is because the two different items share completely different pieces of information. For the shoes, the barcode will contain information with regards to the country it was issued, the manufacturer, and the product itself. For the box, however, the information will most likely consist of where the shoes were packaged, where they are going to, and a tracking number so that the distribution line can easily identify it.

In retail stores, the two most common forms of barcodes that are used are UPC, or a Universal Product Code, barcode and a Code 128 barcode. The two are incredibly similar but they are used in completely different ways.

UPC barcodes are used as pricing tags within retail; this barcode tracks items within their own stores and stores information such as the price, where it was made, and what batch of goods it came from. Code 128 barcodes are used to manage large amounts of stock, so these barcodes are typically used on the boxes that contain the individual items.

Smart shirt with a tie

Do Barcodes Help Retail Management or Are They a Hindrance?

The quick and simple answer to this question is that barcodes have massively helped the management of retail stores around the UK, and even the world. One frustrating thing that can happen with customers and the staff within a retail store is when the barcode doesn’t scan properly and the staff members must perform a manual price check, which admittedly can use up precious time, but the advantages completely outnumber this minor point.

By using an effective barcoding solution alongside barcode labels, every product can be stored onto a system that can then keep track of the store’s inventory. This is great in the intense shopping season, such as the New Year’s sales, as the store can then keep track of every product, and find out if a certain product is out of stock, in which the store can then bring in more stock.

Compared to a time where barcodes were not available, it has drastically changed the way retail store managers keep on top of their stock and saves the store a lot of money.

Another use of barcodes in retail is with employee identification. Certain retail stores require that their members of staff present cards that they must scan in order to be let into the storeroom. By using these barcode labels, it is a much better way of keeping records of when employees go in and out of the store compared to the old fashioned punch card system.

Warehouse operative taking a stock intake

Retail stores around the world utilise the barcode, and it can be said that it has revolutionised the way that we shop and keep to strict stock control guidelines. At GSM Barcoding, we specialise in providing the perfect stock control solutions for your business to ensure that your stock is managed perfectly and you can easily keep tabs on everything that is distributed through your business.

If you want to know more information, then please don’t hesitate to contact us today and we will be more than happy to help.

To learn more about this and the technologies that can help you stand apart from the competition, increase your productivity and improve your warehousing, download the full, free report below:


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