Barcodes and boosted customer interactions
Currently, barcodes are divided into two main types: one-dimensional (1D) and two-dimensional (2D). 1D barcodes, the oldest and most widely adopted of the two, are composed of vertical black bars and white spaces of varying lengths – these can be seen on just about any product at your local supermarket. 2D barcodes, by contrast, store information vertically and horizontally. This enables them to support much higher amounts of data, as can be seen in 2D barcodes like QR codes.
For decades, retailers have relied on laser scanners to efficiently capture barcode data, due to the predominance of 1D barcodes in the marketplace. But in recent years, many organisations have begun to reassess their relationship with traditional laser technology, thanks to a host of new applications that are driving the move to imaging across several markets.
Laser scanners are designed solely for 1D traditional paper barcodes, commonly found on coupons, hang tags and packaging. In comparison, 2D array imagers utilise camera technology to read both 1D and 2D barcodes across print and electronic media, such as digital coupons or loyalty apps. The flexibility of a 2D imager is very beneficial to retailers who require a device that can read multiple types of barcodes from different forms of media. Such flexibility is demonstrated across the following capabilities:
- Capture Every Barcode
2D imagers can read 1D and 2D barcodes from both paper and electronic screens, enabling retailers to read virtually any barcode that may come their way.
- Superior Performance on Poor Quality Barcodes
2D imagers are designed to easily read barcodes that are damaged, torn, smudged or poorly printed.
- Omni-directional Scanning
A 2D imager reads barcodes omni-directionally, meaning users do not have to take the time to align the scanner with the barcode. This enhances productivity and keeps lines moving quickly.
- Enhanced Range
Some 2D imagers offer enhanced range, enabling users to scan barcodes from a greater distance than traditional lasers. This is particularly helpful when scanning large or bulky items on the bottom of a shopping cart.
- Read Multiple Barcodes in a Single Trigger Pull (Multi-Code)
With a 2D imager, you can read multiple barcodes in a single trigger pull. This allows retailers in a warehouse environment to populate a database automatically as they scan incoming shipments, faster and with greater accuracy.
- Go Beyond the Barcode
Since at their core they are essentially cameras, many 2D imagers can capture images, signatures, and documents, as well as support Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for reading characters on checks, passports, invoices and more.
Zebra offers a broad portfolio of scanners, across a wide range of size and portability. From handheld and hands-free through to fixed mount, there is a scanner for all types of retail environment.
Many of Zebra’s 2D imagers offer enhanced range, enabling cashiers to scan barcodes from a greater distance, so there’s no need to handle a customer’s mobile device or delay a checkout line by leaving the cashwrap to reach a barcode. This is particularly useful for scanning large and bulky items or those at the bottom of a cart.
To access the full version of the whitepaper discussed above, click here.