Key Ways Retailers Are Moving Beyond Barcode Scanning

By Aila Staff

February 22, 2018

Retail experts are urging brands not to abandon physical stores, but to innovate within them, and one way to do that is to build interactive shopping experiences based on next-gen scanning technology. We’ve witnessed (and helped build) some truly inspired ways brands are moving beyond simple barcode scanning – ways that are reimagining how retail and grocery customers shop. Here are a few of our favorites:

Building unified shopping experiences

A major US grocery chain is deploying kiosks throughout their store at deli, bakery and flower counters, each equipped to direct shoppers to products, alert them to deals and coupons and to take and process their counter orders, all with a QR or barcode scan. So shoppers can access any part of the store from any device, searching inventory or placing orders no matter where they are.

This not only creates a seamless transition throughout the store but reduces line length at key store areas like deli, bakery and floral. The kiosks also allow shoppers (especially retail) to transfer their online carts to physical ones quickly and easily, so they get the products they’ve already researched and can shop for more in-store.

Creating engaging touchpoints

A major shoe retailer is using kiosks with next-gen scanning technology placed at greeting points and throughout the store to keep customers engaged with relevant product information, coupons and deals. This means that a quick bar code or QR scan can automatically shift to a powerful clienteling opportunity at any point in the shopper’s in-store journey, regardless of whether a sales associate is nearby. This type of tech is convenient and immersive for the shopper, creating true omnichannel shopping by including the in-store experience in the omnichannel buying loop. It’s a powerful use case in tying together handheld, in-store and associate devices.

Using handhelds that do it all

Retailers across the country are turning to powerful, lightweight handheld devices that scan barcodes and images and offer vital clienteling information like product suggestions and inventory stats. Handhelds with advanced scanning tech are also facilitating buy-online-pay-in-store transactions and allowing sales associates to perform inventory duties quickly and effectively when not working with customers. The best of these are small, sleek and offer one-handed scanning, so this all-in-one tool is in-hand whenever and wherever associates need it.

The secret is superior scanning

Image-based scanners are sleeker and deliver better scan resolution than the bulkier traditional versions because they use the mobile device’s built-in camera instead of relying on grafted-on hardware. They support QR and 2D barcodes as well as Digimarc codes, and perhaps most exciting, they can scan any image, whether it’s a barcode or a picture from a circular. This means that associates and customers alike can easily and reliably scan to reveal the basics like product information and availability as well as more engaging material like product demonstrations, accessory suggestions and special pricing.

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