How Big Retail Businesses Can Benefit from Using Wireless Barcode and RFID Scanners Together
Previously, we covered the differences between RFID and barcode systems, the different advantages of each, and how to choose one for your business based on those differences. But not every business has need for a clear-cut, one-or-the-other solution—larger businesses might actually benefit from using both in concert with each other to accomplish different goals. Particularly in large retail outlets, the use of both an RFID reader, and either a wired or wireless barcode scanner (though the latter can offer greater flexibility) is highly encouraged. Here’s how:
A smaller retail store might be able to do inventory by barcode, or even by hand with good old pen and paper on a little clipboard. But if you count inventory in the thousands or more, these methods are beginning to look a little slow. Every hour your employees spend counting is money spent that could go into other parts of your business, like additional support staff or maintenance. In this way, an RFID reader system could quickly pay for itself shortly after being implemented. Because the reader can quickly and efficiently read multiple items, with accurate and up-to-date information on each one, inventory tracking can be done regularly without eating up time that can be better-allocated elsewhere.
Some people view the limits of a wireless barcode reader as exactly that: a limitation. In something like large-scale inventory tracking, this would be true. But when a sales associate is moving a customer through a point-of-sale (POS) terminal, you are typically going to be scanning one item at a time—not the entire case of items that came in from the shipping facility. Even if every individual unit of stock for a certain product did have an RFID chip in it (and some do, often for security purposes—see below) you still want to allow your sales associate to manually scan each item with their wireless barcode scanner, so that any technical errors or miscounts can be addressed with a hands-on, human touch.
Security Features: RFID
You’ve seen them: the big plastic tags hanging awkward from a pair of pants or a nice shirt, the little metallic sheets pressed between the pages of books, the metallic sticker inside your DVD or Blu-Ray case that hurts your fingers when you try to remove it. These are all different RFID-based security devices that set off an RFID reader typically stationed at the exit of your store. Any time you’ve accidentally set one off, that’s because it wasn’t properly deactivated or removed. This kind of RFID system can save your retail store a serious amount of money in preventing theft and shoplifting—the discouragement alone that shoplifters feel upon seeing the security scanners at your doors will work wonders.
If you’re operating a large-scale retail business and you aren’t using barcodes and RFID readers together to maximize efficiency and reduce losses, then what are you waiting for?