What a Barcode Can Tell You
A barcode is a machine-readable code that comes in the form of numbers. These numbers bear a pattern of parallel lines with varying widths printed to identify a certain product. But there’s so much to it than just printed numbers.
Using barcode systems is the revolutionary way businesses and institutions track products, their prices, and stock in general. It is a centralized system of management where a computer software system allows organizations to increase efficiency and productivity.
Not only have barcodes become efficient for businesses and organisations, but they have also become utilitarian to consumers. Consumers can now get into the barcode action via mobile applications. Cutting-edge innovations enable smartphone consumers to gain vital information from taking pictures of barcodes. This includes getting product information, sourcing reviews on-demand and even getting a barcode scanner that tells you where it was bought.
Barcodes give buyers access to brand-generated content via their smartphones. Store stakeholders can get up-to-date inventory information, and respond quickly and accurately showcasing the availability of a specific product.
Barcodes in Supply Chain Management
There are millions of products shipped and sold between different countries on a daily basis. Manufacturers can track shipments and sales by allocating lot numbers to a bunch of products. Products are then encoded into information in a UPC symbol or barcode where lot numbers are used to detect flawed products for recalls and address the public concerning those defects. Barcode numbers make it is easier to pin lot numbers and identify where a product was shipped and purchased.
With a wide variety of barcodes used worldwide, one can always find a different type anywhere. For example, UPC (Universal Product Code) barcodes are mostly used in the US but do not contain a country identifier. This is due to the scale in which the US consumes products from so many countries. The EAN-13 barcode, on the other hand, has a country identifier mostly used in Europe and outside the USA.
Even for EAN-13 barcodes, the digits relating to the country of origin may not be where the product was manufactured. However, it could actually show where the barcode itself was registered. For instance, a Chinese manufactured product sold to France could be identified as a French product, while it’s originally Chinese.
With the rise of the internet, consumers are able to access barcode information right from the comfort of their smartphones. If one has an item with no labels but a barcode, there is a barcode scanner that tells you where it was bought.
With the help of barcode finders, one is able to determine the exact name of the product and the manufacturer that created it.
Barcode Applications for Mobile Devices
There are variety of applications designed for smartphones using barcodes. They can access internet information about products, their reviews, and identify the local retailers selling them.
With the ubiquity of smartphones, retailers can empower customers with mobile apps that deliver customer loyalty, engagement and service.
With mobile shopping apps, customers get added value by conducting initial product research to purchase items from anywhere they are. These apps include software-based mobile scanning features that give quick access to product information at home or in-store.
These mobile apps empower customers through:
Scanning On the Go or at Home
Consumers find a hard time managing their time to do some shopping. Shopping apps enable consumers to buy a product as there are barcode scanners that tell you where it was bought. Marketing material with barcodes enable consumers to scan product information from anywhere they may be. From there, they can make shopping efficient by creating shopping lists, and also access coupons and discounts from their smartphone.
Coupons and Reward Programs
Retailers offer mobile shopping apps where customers can scan barcodes of the products in-store and receive coupons, reward programs and discounts so boost customer loyalty.
An example of such an app is Shopkick. It makes shopping convenient, cost-effective consumers and fun by engaging customers in a gamified shopping environment.
Self-Scanning and Self-Checkout
Consumers now get a highly personalized shopping experience where they can scan products on their smartphone. They can easily check out by themselves rather than waiting in line or wasting time replacing items in their cart.
Nothing spoils a recent purchase like finding a lower price online after buying it. Here are some of the best barcode scanning shopping apps that will help alleviate this situation:
it has the best prices when shopping online and lets one compare prices in nearby stores. it scans the product’s barcodes and compares the prices to choose from a retailer at the best price.
ShopSavvy, previously known as GoCart, was once a prize winner at Google’s Android Developer’s Challenge. It is essentially a comparison shopping app that lets one find an item by searching them or using the camera to scan the barcode. Once one finds the product, it howcases the cheapest local or online price. It lets one find local products, find out where they were bought, visit the product’s website, or even contact the exact store.
In addition, one can compare reviews, add to the cart/wish-list, or set a notification that alerts one of discount sales. The app also keeps a history of the items once looked at so that they can remember what it was.
The Scan app is true to its name and lets one scan all the popular (UPC, EAN, and ISBN) barcodes and QR codes too. It shows reviews and relays more information about the products one scans.
All one has to do when scanning is open the app and point the camera at the code. The app is designed to take photos automatically by launching the camera as one points to the product.
When scanning a QR code, it will take one directly to the website URL of the code if it has one. If it only includes text, then one sees it immediately. One takes prompt action when it comes to other formats like phone number, email, address, or any existing contact.
The app lets one:
- view a history list of all of the previous scans
- toggle the front or rear camera for scanning
- set a default browser to open the websites from
- export the history and email as a CSV file
- turn on the flashlight in low-light situations