In the Shoppers World episode, one of the segments included problems with a barcode scanner not being able to scan the barcode tags and labels used in the store as well as problems with a handheld device used to check for markdowns.
The handheld device problems was attributed to WiFi issues which does point out that having business class routers and other business class IT equipment in your store is essential in order for the devices to work correctly. Given the size of the Shoppers World stores, they would likely benefit from having 2-3 hand held devices per store as well as having hot swap equipment in case a device needs repairs. In most cases, these types of devices can be moved from store to store with minimal programming.
The barcode scanning issue at the check out lane was a bit tougher to figure out as there are a lot of of variables related to barcode label/tag size and how the barcode scanners are programmed. I'm sure the issue has already been resolved at Shoppers World (or was just a made for reality TV moment) but the take away is to always work with your point of sale partner/vendor to make sure that the barcode scanners can be programmed to handle the sizes and types of labels and tags used in your business as well as the volume of transactions.
Some things to check on specific to labels, tags, barcode scanners, and the label/tag printers:
- Sizes of media being used
- Format being used
- Label/Tag printing being used (DPI, Thermal Transfer, Direct Thermal, etc)
- Size in mils of the barcode itself
- Type of barcode scanner: Laser, CCD, Single Line, Omni-Directional, Auto-sense, Trigger, near/far scanning, etc
Point being, make sure that you are getting them correct equipment for your business - while you may save $300 by going with a low cost barcode scanner, how much will you end up losing in employee errors and longer transaction times (and fewer repeat customers) by requiring manual entry of the product code if the barcode scanner can't scan the barcode?
Are you in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice? I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at email@example.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.