Magazine Article | December 20, 2006

Do More With Your POS Scanner

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

2-D imaging enhances profit, efficiency, and customer service.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, January 2007

The main goal of every retailer is to get customers through the checkout quickly and efficiently, so speed and accuracy are critical when it comes to scanning. The big news today is that a retailer now has the ability to use a single bar code scanner — a piece of IT hardware that's already embedded in itsinfrastructure — to achieve that requirement while extending capabilities at the point of service by upgrading to 2-D image scanning technology. 2-D imaging enables key functions — 2-D bar code reading and digital image capture — that common POS scanners do not. These functions can be put to work at the POS to achieve great benefits.

Take Advantage Of The Driver's License
Currently, 44 states and 7 Canadian provinces use a PDF417 bar code on their driver's licenses. In each of those locations, the ability to scan the back of a driver's license can eliminate the time-consuming task of manual data entry or requiring a customer to manually fill out forms. Now apply that capability to some common POS tasks:
n Credit card or extended warranty applications — turn paper forms to "e-Forms" by auto-populating customer information with a single scan.
n Age verification for the sale of alcohol or tobacco products — eliminate keying in birth dates by scanning a single code.
n Electronic tracking of pharmacy transactions for products such as pseudoephedrine (the main component in Sudafed) — scan a single code to record a transaction and log it in your database electronically.

All can be accomplished by upgrading to a single 2-D image scanner. Since a 2-D device has the same look and feel as existing scanners, there's no learning curve for POS associates.

As further illustration, take the example of credit card applications at the time of checkout. Everyone is familiar with the credit card application "sales pitch." However, it's the length of the form and time involved to complete it that acts as a deterrent to most people. With a 2-D image scanner, the sales associate can offer to simply scan the back of the customer's driver's license to instantly auto-populate the form. No pen and paper are required.

How Can Digital Imaging Benefit Operations?
Think about how taking a picture with your image scanner could improve efficiency. In the pharmacy, prescriptions are filled using a paper script brought in by the customer, which then must be stored. Now consider using a digital picture of the script instead. Using a 2-D imager, the paper script is captured electronically at the counter and then processed and stored electronically. This results in a paperless workflow and simplified storage and retrieval.

The value of a 2-D image scanner device is only further enhanced by the fact that it's ready to perform new applications as your requirements emerge. One piece of hardware can handle all of the basic POS bar code scanning requirements you have today and also has the on-demand flexibility of being able to perform advanced 2-D and image capture applications when you need them.

These are only a few of the examples of how 2-D imaging can help to streamline the POS and future-proof the enterprise. Creative retailers across the country are already leveraging these and other strategies to improve their businesses and get an edge on the competition.