Barcodes are ever-present in today’s marketplace. Their benefits to businesses are all well-established. While some may think that barcode technology is suitable only for large retail establishments, the truth is far from that. Any business that stocks products would definitely benefit from having a barcode system in place.
However, there are a few businesses that still operate manually either using paper or a spreadsheet program. The most typical objection is cost, which stems from the misconception that implementing a barcode system would be way too costly. Actually, it is quite the opposite. Setting up a barcode system is inexpensive, not to mention easy. With a few hundred dollars, you can have an entire system ready to go, complete with labels and barcode scanner.
Below, we’ll talk about how a barcode system can take your business to a higher level as well as how you can tell whether it’s the right time for your business to use this technology. Read on.
How Barcodes Can Grow Your Business
1. It will make your business more accurate
It’s a lot of hard work running a small business. It is literally and mentally exhausting and when you rely on manually doing everything in your business, mistakes become inevitable. One simple way to reduce human errors is by using a barcode on your items. Simply by aiming a barcode scanner at a barcode, your computer can automatically read the product information encoded on that barcode. In other words, the scanner and computer will do all the data entry for you, which will significantly reduce errors. Barcode scanning has an extremely high accuracy rate with error reduced to 1 for every 10 million scanned characters.
2. It will prepare your business for growth
You may have only a few employees on your payroll for now and a few products on offer, but it doesn’t hurt to invest in a system that will make you ready for growth. Having a barcode system from companies already in place when your product inventory starts to expand will help you meet the demands of a growing business. Barcode technology is scalable, meaning it works whether you have less than a dozen items or thousands, so you can easily put barcodes to your labels as you add more products.
3. It will make your business more efficient and professional
Imagine if a customer has a basket full of products to buy and your cashier has to manually key in every product. That would take up a lot of time, which would definitely make a customer unhappy. In contrast, by integrating barcodes into your point of sale system, it will only take a second or two for a barcode scanner to process an item. Using barcodes will also give your business a more professional and modern image. Manually tallying up products can appear outdated to some customers, especially since most businesses today use barcodes.
After understanding how a barcode system will help your business become more accurate, scalable, efficient and professional, you may still be uncertain whether you should integrate this technology into your business now or hold off on it. The scenarios below indicate that a change is in order.
1. You are investing significant time and money in manual inventory tally
Do you have to close shop just to be able to attend to your inventory count? If so, you are losing precious customers who can easily go online instead to shop for what they need if not go to another brick-and-mortar store that is open to take their business. Even when this scenario only happens a few times a year, the business you’re losing while you’re conducting physical inventory can make a big dent to your profits. In addition, if you have to do the inventory yourself, it can be a seriously tedious task. If an employee is doing for you, you may have to pay overtime to get it done.
2. You are getting customer complaints because of inventory errors
If you have both an online store and a physical store, a barcode system can automatically sync in inventory data across your stores. Without this system, however, it is very possible for an online customer to place an order for a product that is no longer available because it has already been sold to a customer at your brick-and-mortar store. Other problems you may encounter when you lack good inventory control are shipping delays and cancellations. If you’re experiencing such issues, your customer satisfaction level will be severely affected. With the popularity of social media today, you cannot afford angry customers going online to vent their anger about your store. That would be detrimental to a small business. Having a barcode system in place will keep your inventory data in sync and accurate, reducing out-of-stock related issues.
3. You are experiencing slow order cycle times.
In business, order cycle time refers to the period that starts from a customer placing an order to the delivery of the purchased product. Needless to say, this whole process must be completed in a timely manner. With a culture of instant gratification, most customers today expect quick turnarounds. Order delays due to inventory problems are often not tolerated. A simple barcode system may be all you need to achieve timely order fulfillment.