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Every day millions of barcodes are scanned at point of sale systems. Retailers depend on them to improve customer service and lower costs.
Here are some of the benefits of using barcodes:
Speeds up checkout process helping retailers to serve customers faster which translates to more sales.
Reduce pricing and inventory errors. Human error rate for data entry is one error per 300 characters. Barcode scanners average error rate is one error in 36 trillion characters.
Reduce costs. Having UPC barcodes on your merchandise instead of having to price tag every item saves time and reduces handling costs.
Faster access to information. Barcodes can help you on better decision making to gain opportunities.
Dukten knows how wonderful barcodes and other product identification systems like RFID are and that’s why we are committed to create the most complete product database on the Internet. Your contribution is really appreciated.
Product pictures with a pure white background look great in online product catalogs, however it’s difficult to get a perfect white on the back using only lights and a digital camera; most of the times the picture will need a bit of image editing software help.
There are several techniques to get this. Here we show you a tutorial we found about one way to do it using a mask and the levels and curves dialogs. We tried it and it really works, you can turn a picture like this:
Although it might seem that barcodes are very complex and just a computer can decode it, the truth is that the way they work is very simple.
UPC Barcodes are made up of a series of vertical lines with different thickness and a number below them. Well, the information that those lines encode is no other than the same number that you can read with your eyes, just that they are designed for a reliable read from a machine, usually a laser scanner.
Ok, now that you know what information is in those lines, this is how to read them:
The barcode is composed by black and white lines. Both are important.
Lines in UPC barcodes can have four different thickness. The skinniest line will be our unit reference for a number 1 and the thickest will be our reference for a number 4. Once you detected the skinniest line, then you can compare it and find the next thicker line and that will be the reference for number 2. Lines with a thickness between this and the thickest will be a 3.
Every barcode starts and ends with a 101 (thin black, thin white, thin black). Also every UPC barcode has a 01010 (thin white, thin black, thin white, thin black, thin white) in the very middle. You can detect this 01010 because there are two lines sticking down the numbers.
Each number is made up of four lines which together occupies the same space (if you add them they will be 7 units wide).
Once you know this you can use the following code table to decode each digit :
So, the barcode above starts with 101-3211-1411 where the 101 just marks the beginning of the barcode, it’s not a digit. The 3211 is the digit 0 and 1411 is digit 3
Are UPC (Universal Product Code) the same as SKU (Stock Keeping Unit)? No, they are not. Both codes are used to identify products, but in a different way.
UPC codes are standarized by an international association called GS1 who assigns each manufacturer a unique prefix for using in their UPC barcodes; then the rest of the UPC code is chosen by the manufacturer who ensures each product variation receives a unique code.
The UPC is affixed to the product all through its life cycle, starting from manufacturing till it’s in the customer’s hands.
On the other hand, SKUs may be numeric or alphanumerical and are assigned by each company for stock keeping purposes and internal operations. This means that it is the company, store or retailer who decides the format of the SKU code depending on its needs. SKUs must be unique only inside the same company. A product will have a different SKU on two different companies.
In conclusion, UPC are for universal use and SKUs are for internal use.
People wonder if barcodes have descriptive information encoded in them like prices or product names. The answers is generally no. So how does the point of sales systems know the product that is scanning? Well, UPC barcodes (the ones that you see almost in any product at the supermarket) encode just a big number that uniquely identifies the product worldwide. When the cashier scans that product, the point of sale computer reads that number and then looks for the product details in a local database. That database can contain information like the product name, the price, available promotions, pictures, etc.
However, there are exceptions, like barcodes used in variable measure items which do include the price of the item.
Mobile workers who need to scan barcodes will love this ring scanner manufactured by LXE which allows you to operate it hands-free while you carry out other tasks.
It has a Bluetooth module to transmit wirelessly data up to 30 feet away and is able to scan 1D and 2D barcodes.
A futuristic proposition that could be a good solution for all those who need to be in constant movement.
Everybody knows how a barcode looks like. They are just a series of vertical lines with different thickness which together form a rectangle and have a number below. But, do they have to be that boring? The answer is no.
As long as the scanners can read them, they can look more creative as a Japanese company realized. They work with manufacturers of barcode labels to create innovative and eye catching barcodes.
This is another way to call buyer’s attention and nowadays it is very used in Japanese products and surely will be used in other countries as well.
Now you can share to your friends the products that you like in Dukten.
Simply click the “I like” or “Tweet” button and the product title, barcode and link will be posted to your wall in facebook or twitter so your contacts can check the items that you like or recommend.