What barcodes are right for your business in the retail sector?

Barcodes began to revolutionize the retail landscape in 1974. These innovative data representations brought speed and efficiency across the globe to retailers. And the fact that we are still using them as the primary method of product identification is a testament to how incredibly useful barcodes are in retail environments. But considering today’s vast number of barcode symbologies, many retailers are struggling to find the perfect type of barcode for their unique needs and constraints.

Barcode scanning software delivers peerless performance across Android, Windows and iOS platforms, transforming smart devices for retailers and their customers into enterprise-grade barcode scanners. Proud to support retailers with all the resources they need to understand and exploit the full potential of barcodes on the products they sell. We are going to walk through the main barcodes compatible with retail to assist you discover the best barcode symbols for your company.

1D Barcodes
1D barcodes use parallel lines with different spacings and widths to depict product information. This type of barcode encapsulates a number of unique codes that are appropriate for various purposes. In retail settings, for instance, UPC barcodes are used around the globe to label and scan consumer goods at points of sale. While these codes typically have twelve numbers, as few as eight can be used, which is invaluable to distributors selling very tiny goods. And while UPCs work exceptionally well with some retail products, they are not a solution for catch-all scanning. For example, take Code 93 codes. These barcodes are typically used within the codes to define retail inventory packages, using shorter labels and extra safety measures to produce optimum outcomes.

Because they represent information linearly, when tasked with accommodating big, complicated information parts, 1D barcodes grow too wide. For retailers who need to mark incredibly small objects, this may become problematic. And while we’ve seen a gradual shift over the past decade or so to 2D barcodes, 1D barcodes bring some important advantages to the table. The most important distinction is that one-dimensional barcodes can be processed using camera-based or traditional laser scanners, whereas 2D barcodes are consistent with imagers only.

Here is a list of the main 1D barcodes used in the retail sector and their main applications:
UPC Codes: labeling and scanning of consumer goods at retail outlets
EAN Codes: labeling and scanning of consumer goods for point-of-sale scanning Code
93 Codes: used in logistics for ID packages in retail inventory
GS1 DataBar Codes: identification of customer coupons, products and perishables

Two-Dimensional (2D) Barcodes:
Unlike 1D codes, two-dimensional barcodes can contain hundreds of characters without compromising their small size, making them ideal for holding large amounts of data. 2D barcodes also give a greater amount of error correction than 1D codes, which means they can withstand harm more reliably without sacrificing readability. Best of all, two-dimensional barcodes in the direction of scanning are highly flexible. This feature makes 2D barcodes a great choice in applications where users are forced from different angles to scan products.

In the retail industry, there are fewer types of 2D barcodes used compared to 1D codes, but they are just as beneficial to modern businesses. For example, QR barcodes are the perfect solution for magazine, advertisement or business card tracking and marketing. Then we have barcodes for Data Matrix. This code sort combines a small footprint with a high degree of fault tolerance, making it a natural choice to label small products, such as small electronic components. Both of these kinds of 2D code have incredibly quick readability, a enormous boon for distributors striving to maximize effectiveness in processing.

Choosing Right Barcode Types for Your Retail Business Needs
Now that you have a strong understanding of the retail barcode choices at your disposal, it’s time to analyze precisely which symbologies are best suited to your company. It’s important to remember you don’t have to choose between scanning 1D or 2D barcode; they’re not exclusive to each other. Both approaches are a cost-effective and highly practical way of labeling and tracking items. It really only depends on what data types you need to encode and how your items will be scanned.

For any retail products that will be scanned at the point of sale, we recommend using UPC and EAN codes. (The only significant distinction between the two is that EAN codes are more common in certain nations.) For example, QR codes work best with characters that are alphanumeric. The size of your retail products is one of the most important considerations we touched on. If you don’t have a lot of space available, then because of their small size, you should prioritize Data Matrix, UPC-E (the six-digit UPC codes) or EAN-8 (the eight-digit EAN codes).

Make Retail Barcoding Simple
Thinking through the points we talked about above will go a long way to guide you towards the exact symbologies that your retail business should look into. If you want more information choosing the best barcode for your business, ask us. We dive even deeper into the common barcode types in this free resource to identify which solutions can maximize your workflow’s efficiency and profitability.

If you need further guidance or advice on the topic, please do not hesitate to send us a message. Our team is committed to positioning your business for success and helping you find the right types of barcodes for your specific needs. If you would like more information about our cutting-edge solutions for data capture and retail management, you can also reach out. We are looking forward to hearing from you shortly.

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4.5 based on 9 votes
Software Name
Barcode Generator
Operating System
Windows, Mac OS, Ubbuntu, Adroid
Software Category
Retail Software

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