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3 Reasons Why Top Online Retailers Use Barcodes

4 min read

As businesses grow, inventory management and fulfillment solutions become a necessity in order to keep pace with high demand. Without them, they will bleed money, risk their customer relationships to their competitors, and suffer from costly stock shrinkage.

However, there is a way to avoid these problems. Efficient supply chain management is at the heart of accomplishing this, and barcode labels play a starring role in maintaining them.

Barcode on a box being read by a handheld barcode reader.

How Do Barcodes Work? 

The bars on barcodes contain a variety of information about each product. This information includes the SKU numbers, size, and color variants.

Top retailers use barcodes because when scanned, this information is translated to their inventory and order management software. Here are the main benefits they get from doing this.

Woman packing an order for her apparel business while holding a clip board.

1. Increased Productivity & Efficiency

Manual data entry is a time suck that requires a lot of human resources. Your employees have better things to do than count inventory all day.

Worse still, those that rely on this method will encounter mistakes often. Manual inventory counts are incredibly vulnerable to human error that will cause inventory shrinkage. It’s equally possible that you are sitting on too much inventory and don’t even know it. Both will severely injure your bottom line.

Barcoding keeps retailers keenly aware of every product in all locations, at all times, without the need for manual inventory tracking. When scanned into a proper inventory management system, they can see where they are at every lifecycle stage from their intake to their customer’s door.

With barcodes, your staff will be more productive, your inventory will be more organized, and you will never oversell or sit on excessive inventory.

Woman holding a hanger with her supervisor checking inventory levels on an iPad.

2. Barcodes Conquer Common Warehousing Issues

Strict inventory control is the key to speedy and efficient warehouse operations. Barcodes are the means of achieving this. See how they help overcome the most common warehouse hurdles.

Detect Damaging Discrepancies

Brandon Kruse, CommentSold’s CEO, states, “The most common and deadly inventory mistakes are made at intake, which manifests itself later in the fulfillment process. Barcoding can completely eliminate supplier mistakes by creating crucial auditing trails.”

The easiest way to create this trail is to use the packing slip from shipments to input quantities into your inventory management system. After printing barcodes, you can compare them to the quantities listed on your invoice. If they don’t match, you will immediately see the discrepancy.

Make Order Management Fool-proof

Strict fulfillment is the process of using software that enforces strict parameters on order processing. Essentially, it’s a fulfillment strategy that keeps your operations error-free, fast & furious!

After your staff member scans the barcode on the order sheet, it will bring up the paid order in the inventory management software. Then they can begin scanning the barcodes of the items contained in it. With strict fulfillment enabled, team members cannot continue to fulfill an order until they scan correct items into the order on-screen.

If an order has had all of its items scanned correctly, it will be marked as fulfilled. At this point, the proper notifications will be sent out immediately to the customer.

Sell on All Channels in an Organized Fashion

Omnichannel retail through brick-and-mortar shops, ecommerce websites, mobile apps, and social media allow retailers to sell their products to the widest consumer base possible.

However, omnichannel order fulfillment right requires an extremely high level of organization. Barcodes paired with a state-of-the-art inventory management system are the only way to get it done.

Inventory management systems that update inventory in real-time keep your inventory centralized, and can pull it from every channel – no need to worry about overselling.

For example, you can use barcoding to sell on Facebook Live alongside your website. If you use CommentSold, you can quickly scan a live selection, a list of items and item quantities that updates with real-time sales, into the system.

Barcoding also allows CommentSold to translate important purchasing instructions onto an overlay at the top of your live sale video. As customers begin to purchase, the live overlay will update with the inventory and strike through items that are sold out.

All in all, barcodes make it easier for customers to purchase on all channels with zero back-end errors.

A happy customer sits on her couch with her newly ordered items from her favorite online boutique.

3. Meet Customer’s High Expectations

Big businesses are raising the bar for speedy shipments. Now, more than ever, retailers need to keep pace with rising customer expectations to stay competitive. Customers want their items and they want them ASAP.

Data from comScore reveals that 38% of online shoppers will abandon their order if the delivery takes longer than a week, 16% will abandon it if delivery takes 6-7 days, and 15% will abandon it if it delivery takes 4-5 days. If delivery takes 3 days or fewer, abandonment drops down to only 8%.

However, the speed of service is not the only thing that customers are concerned with. Retailers need to get orders right and get it right the first time, lest customers become upset and tarnish your brand’s name over botched orders.

Barcodes and strict fulfillment keep your business organized and your customers happily receiving accurate orders.

The Takeaway

“Business as usual” is not enough for small businesses to make the cut. Now is the time to go above and beyond to get your inventory organized, meet customer demands, and sell to them on all channels.

Top retailers use barcodes reinforced by a complete back office management system and streamlined workflows to do it all and then some. The first step

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