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Barcodes & Books: How Scanners Saved the Day

To compete in your industry, it’s essential that you have the right technology. However, technology is progressing with such speed that many business find their equipment is outdated before they’ve begun to plan for its replacement. This can, unfortunately, be a disaster in a retail environment; particularly one that relies on seasonal traffic. Manufacturers and developers of technology for businesses are aware of the stress this process may place on business owners and executives. So, to make the transition as smooth as possible, they’re now developing adaptive, updatable technology that can change with the times. This will prove vital for retail businesses who use rapidly changing technology like barcode scanners. iStock_000023432967

College Bookstores & The Need for Speed

A survey of college students from more than 30 states found that students spend an average of $1,200 per year on textbooks and supplies. While this is certainly good news for college bookstores, the influx of customer traffic at the start and end of each semester can be overwhelming. During these peak times of year, speed and accuracy are a necessity for the checkout process. Unfortunately, many stores don’t have the technology to keep up with the swelling demand for textbooks and other supplies. Barcode scanning is rapidly progressing, and having outdated scanners can effectively make or break a college bookstore’s busiest time of year.

Oregon State University: Scanners Help Students Swiftly and Seamlessly

As anyone who has ever attended a textbook buyback knows well, the queues of people waiting to exchange their books for cash can fill a bookstore and quickly overwhelm employees. The same is true at the start of each semester, when students congregate in bookstore aisles, anxiously trying to figure out which books are needed for their classes. [su_divider top="no" size="2"]

Related Article: Everything You Need to Know About Barcode Scanners

[su_divider top="no" size="2"] The busy atmosphere at college bookstores around the country is a familiar sight for staff, professors, students, and parents, leaving some stores scrambling to improve the speed and efficiency of their checkout. The staff at Oregon State University (OSU) has met increased demand with ease by replacing their existing barcode scanners with more advanced models. iStock_000061162310

Achieving Accuracy With the Motorola DS9808

One of the scanners used by the OSU team is the Motorola DS9808. It has a very precise laser aiming pattern with a swipe speed of over 100 inches per second, which means employees can scan barcodes that are on book covers, or codes printed on laminated sheets, and expect accurate results without delay. This scanner is also a cordless model, unlike some that the OSU bookstores had used before. The cordless body allows bookstore staff members to assist customers wherever they are, whether they’re on the sales floor or at a checkout.

Working More Productively With the Motorola LS4278

The OSU bookstore also depends on the Motorola LS4278 scanner. This scanner gives correct results, even if the person operating it is not aiming squarely over the barcode, due to a multi-line rastering pattern that remains accurate even within a 50-foot radius. [su_divider top="no" size="2"]

“Motorola scanners help our cashiers move quickly without multiple passes on the bar codes,” notes Torsten Pihl, I.S. Coordinator at the OSU Bookstore.

[su_divider top="no" size="2"] Sometimes, heavy workloads can make cashiers feel extremely rushed. However, the Motorola LS4278 reduces the chances that a barcode will not read correctly or immediately if the cashier is not aiming the scanner with adequate precision. “Motorola scanners help our cashiers move quickly without multiple passes on the bar codes,” notes Torsten Pihl, I.S. Coordinator at the OSU Bookstore. “Particularly in our merchandise-apparel section, the cashiers like the fact that the Motorola DS9808 scans quickly, at all angles, and it’s easy to pick out a specific bar code on a sheet of barcodes.”

Hands-Free Scanning Provides Flexibility

Because the Motorola DS9808 is a hybrid scanner, it can be used while sitting on a checkout counter without having to be held by a user. At OSU, this hands-free scanner allows employees to quickly scan stacks of textbooks during the store’s peak hours. “The Motorola bar code scanners are nimble and they help us keep the lines at the POS stations moving at peak times,” says Pihl.

Ability to Read Electronic Coupons

The Motorola scanners purchased by OSU also support barcodes that are presented on electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets. Although OSU has not yet made use of that feature, representatives say they may do so in the future. Keeping up with new and emerging trends is an important ability for any business. That’s especially true for companies that deal primarily with college students, a characteristically tech-savvy demographic. A recent study shows that students own an average of 6.8 technological devices, providing a valuable opportunity to offer electronic coupons to students and deliver them straight to mobile devices. Students could simply pull out their devices, show the coupon on the screen, and redeem the coupon on the spot. Purchasing scanners that can be easily upgraded to meet changing needs is extremely important. The staff at OSU was very aware of that reality and remained mindful of what their customer base might need in the years and months to come.

Potential Loss Prevention Assistance

Pihl also points out that the scanners may be used in the future to assist with loss prevention: “We may consider imaging checks or identification cards for our loss prevention purposes.” Clearly, these versatile Motorola scanners have a variety of uses, and the OSU team is thinking carefully about how to best utilize the features now and in the months to come. Although the team hasn’t encountered any issues with the scanners, the built-in warranty offers peace of mind. “We rely on Motorola’s standard factory warranty for all of our POS scanners, but we have not used it because the Motorola scanners have always worked,” Pihl says. iStock_000010322951

OSU: A Worthy Case Study

The staff at OSU quickly discovered how barcode scanners offered more efficient customer service in their bookstore locations. The benefits were particularly obvious during times of peak volume, such as during football game days. However, the needs presented by OSU are commonly found in other industries too. Bookstore staff members need devices that can scan quickly and accurately with minimal disruptions. Together, the Motorola DS9808 and Motorola LS4278 fulfill these demands by allowing bookstore staff members to authoritatively answer questions about products and help people quickly purchase their desired items. As a result, the workload for staff members is reduced, and customers leave happier as they are able to get what they need while spending less time searching for and waiting to pay for it. These same desires are also echoed by people who work in other types of retail establishments. This means that robust and innovative barcode scanners like the ones manufactured by Motorola and relied upon by OSU can help workers do their jobs better, no matter what kind of products they are selling or stocking. For more information on how barcode technology can benefit your business, and to explore the latest cutting-edge products and systems, visit Wasp Barcode Technology.