If you plan to operate a very small store, you may be able to manually enter pricing information when calling customers. However, for larger operations, you may need a barcode code reader and accompanying computer system. Before purchasing a barcode reader, it can be helpful to first understand how to use such a system.
A barcode reader is a device that can read data from printed barcodes. Barcodes consist of a series of bars that represent information about a product. The scanner must be connected to a computer system to retrieve and store information about items. When powered on, a barcode reader emits a beam of ultraviolet light (often bright red). The indicator light continuously searches for the presence of barcodes. Some industrial-strength scanners (known as remote laser scanners) have strong enough beams to read barcodes from across the room.
Some barcode readers are handheld, while others are fixed. Handheld models connect to computer systems via USB or wirelessly and are portable, making them ideal for use in inventory warehouses. For fixed scanners, such as those used by large supermarket cashiers, users must bring the product to the scanner to read the barcode. Another type of fixed barcode reader is a slot scanner, which allows users to swipe cards containing barcodes. If you plan to require your business to become a member, you may need this type of scanner.
In addition to the barcode reader itself, you will need a compatible computer system (whether it's a PC, laptop, or digital cash register) to download, process, and maintain information about the items you scanned. In addition, appropriate software must be installed on the computer system so that it can manage information. In some cases, a barcode reader can transfer data to basic spreadsheets, databases, or word processors.
Once the barcode reader is set up, it is easy to use. First, check the scanner to make sure the indicator light is active. Next, place the scanner light in the center of the barcode and wait for the scanner to pick up the data. You may need to move the scanner light up and down on the barcode to get a reading. When setting up a barcode reader for the first time, you may need to scan some preliminary codes to properly program the device.