The rush hours spare no one, especially when it's retail stores we're talking about. One can only imagine what pressure the sales assistants must be under when they have to deal with multiple clients at once. And they are expected to act promptly to satisfy the customers.
What makes it possible to fetch the required product info quickly is a barcode reader. Even if you use a POS System to keep your online and offline stores data in one place you still need a barcode reader to make the management process easier.
But what does using a barcode reader in POS give you exactly? Is it possible to use it in Magento POS? That's what we'll cover today.
Ready? Let's begin then.
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What is a Barcode Scanner and How Does It Work in POS?
A barcode reader is a device used for reading the information contained in barcodes. A scanner, decoder and connecting cable are three of the most basic components of the device. They may differ though, given the variety of the POS barcode scanners available. The red light is used to scan the code, and then the signals are decoded and converted into text. Later this text is sent to the software you use for operating POS.
A barcode reader is an integral part of the POS terminal and, as we've already mentioned, helps to get the product details quicker, with little to no effort. Yet there are some other aspects this device proves to be useful in.
POS system barcode scanner comes in handy in inventory management and helps you keep track of the products. At the same time, you can enhance your services and avoid the mistakes that often happen during manual order processing.
Nevertheless, different business models call for some specific requirements. Thus, you should also check out available barcode reader types to find the best one for your needs.
Types of POS Barcode Scanners
Although the concept of the barcode reader is not new, it is represented in a variety of models and forms nowadays. These devices can be handled and fixed, wired or wireless.
Yet, these are the most basic types of barcode readers. They also have additional characteristics that allow us to distinguish some further POS barcode scanner types.
Let's have a look at each of them.
1. Pen wand reader
One of the most basic barcode reader types is a pen wand reader. It has no movable parts and needs to be in direct contact with the barcode to work properly. Pen wand readers are mostly used for paper labels. Yet, their cost and longevity are rarely overlooked.
2. Laser reader
Thanks to the lenses and mirrors incorporated, laser readers can scan barcodes at different angles and distances. Some models can even work with the 30-foot distance range. Laser readers can be either stationary or handheld and take about 500 scans per second to eliminate any inconsistency.
3. CCD reader
A charged coupled device, or CCD scanner, is a type of device you can usually see in retail stores. These scanners are accurate, yet expensive, and use a long row of tiny lights to scan the code. To avoid any errors CCD readers take multiple scans. At the same time, you have to hold them close to the barcode. So they won't work for longer distances like laser readers, for instance.
4. Omnidirectional reader
Omnidirectional readers use multiple laser beams and direct them in a way that makes it possible to scan barcodes from different angles. This scanner is stationary, but quite effective thanks to the advanced technology. You've probably seen a horizontal scanner of this kind in supermarkets. Thus, it may be a great addition to your store if you offer self-checkout options.
5. CGI reader
CGI reader offers an even more up-to-date solution. We've already mentioned various distances different barcode readers can be used for. Yet this one allows you to scan the barcodes on curved surfaces, like cans. That being said, this scanner may be exactly "it" for those of you, who work in the food industry.
6. Large field-of-view scanner
High-resolution cameras allow large field-of-view readers to scan a few barcodes at the same time. These devices come in handy when you need to operate large batches of products. So factories and distributors are the ones who will benefit from large field-of-view readers the most.
How to Choose a POS Barcode Reader?
Now that you are familiar with different types of POS barcode scanners, you should be able to choose one for your business. It's not easy though, especially if more than one we've just mentioned caught your eye. So we suggest looking at your case from different perspectives and taking into account various aspects.
You can just jump to the tips below to narrow the search circle.
1. Work out a list of the required features
The first and foremost thing to do is to determine what functionality you're looking for. Take into account your business type and the number of clients you usually have. Is there a possibility of self-checkout in your store? How exactly do you expect your barcode reader to work? Do you need it to be portable or stationary?
These and many other simple questions will lead you in the right direction and help to understand what you're searching for. When the list is ready you'll just need to pick out the one barcode scanner for POS that meets most of your requirements.
2. Keep in mind the financial aspect
The price is no less important. Mind that different barcode readers offer different technologies for scanning. Thus the more advanced the reader, the higher the check you'll pay. That said, the pen wand reader might not require too much of your budget, while the CCD reader is rather expensive.
Besides, don't forget about the maintenance of the device since it may require additional costs.
3. Review the compatibility options
When choosing a barcode scanner, you should take into account the equipment you already have at your point of sale. You need to check if a particular reader is compatible with your POS software and hardware.
It's much better to go for the right solution straight away than waste time and money making everything work later.
4. Pay attention to the barcode types
No less important aspect to consider is the barcode readability. As you might know, there are 1D and 2D barcodes. Everyone is familiar with the 1D codes. These are parallel bars and store some basic product information, like expiration date or origin.
Then there are QR codes. They are also known as 2D barcodes. They are more complex to read since they can contain the info in different formats, such as videos or URLs.
That said, not every barcode reader can scan the 2D code. Thus, be attentive when looking for a reader to make sure it can scan the barcodes you use.
5. Check out the scanner connectivity
Don't forget to check how the barcode reader will be connected to your POS system. There might be some details you should know in advance. Some of the scanners are connected through cable and some of them are wireless. Correspondingly, this factor may influence your plans and strategies.
Having checked the connectivity in advance, you'll be better prepared for the integration.
6. Test out available options
Finally, it would be useful to check if there are any demo versions and trial periods for the barcode readers you're interested in. It would be great to check all the options in your environment before committing.
How to Integrate Barcode Reader in Magento 2 POS?
Different POS systems offer different ways for the barcode reader integration in Magento. Some of them may require additional configuration in the admin panel. However, Magento 2 POS by Magefan does not have any complex settings. Once you connect the barcode reader device, you just need to choose a product attribute that represents a barcode.
After that, you can find relevant products more easily while processing POS orders. Besides, you'll be able to update the source quantity of the products by scanning the barcode.
Yet barcode reader integration is just a small part of the POS management process. Thus, you should also know how to handle POS checkout on the frontend to offer a seamless service to your customers. Hence, feel free to visit our live demo and test everything out in a more hands-on way.