Top 3 Myths about Barcodes [Tip of the Week]

Starting this week, a new series on the Vend blog. Tips for retailers everywhere. Not just tips on getting more out of Vend (though there will be some of these), but also tips on getting more out of your business, whatever your business. If you’ve got something great you’d like to share with our readers, please send it to

Barcoding your products and scanning them at the point of sale is probably the single fastest way to speed up the checkout experience. But often for new (and even experienced) retailers, certain myths prevent them from taking full advantage of this technology.

Let us debunk some of these.

1. It’s too expensive

Not at all. Basic USB barcode scanners are just glorified computer keyboards, and are almost always plug & play compatible with Windows & Mac OSX. You can pick one up on Ebay for $20 to $40.

2. It’s too hard

Its actually very easy. Just think of the barcode as letters & numbers, represented by black and white lines (like 1s and 0s of binary) and the barcode scanner as a keyboard. Take any product in your home or office which has a barcode (like a can of Coke), open up Notepad or Textedit, and scan the barcode into the text editor. All it does is reproduce the string of numbers or text under the barcode, on the screen. That is all.

Half the products in your store probably already have manufacturer barcodes on them. Scanning these products in Vend is as easy as

  1. Create a new product.
  2. Scan the barcode into the SKU field
  3. Save the product
  4. Scan it when you make sale
Find out more on our support website.

3. My products don’t have barcodes already

Yes they do. Vend automatically generates a barcode label for every product. Just pick up a sheet of Avery labels from the stationary store (or a Zebra thermal label printer, if you’re feeling fancy), and start sticking barcode labels on your products. You won’t regret it.

Phurba from Rare Device in San Francisco certainly didn’t.

“Nick… I just got a barcode scanner and I was giddy with happiness when I started seeing how helpful it’ll be to us.”

You can barcode pretty much anything. Look at the image below. Even our barcode scanner has a barcode. How meta is that?

^ Nick

About Nick Houldsworth

Chief Marketing Officer at Vend. Husband. Father of three. Beard grower. Mandolin player. Tuesday drinker. Love helping retailers the world over grow great businesses.