Barcodes for Consignment-Resale Shops

A barcode is a line of bars of varying width and placement that magically contain a lot of information that 'bar-code readers' (scanners) can read and translate into information about the item the barcode represents, similar to what a computer user does with a keyboard and like keyboards, most bar-code scanners are compatible with POS programs because Windows treats scanners like keyboards as input devices.

Barcodes are printed on price labels, of course, and when the barcodes are scanned at checkout, the information about the item is entered on a 'line' in the sales invoice (product ID, description, current price) and uniquely for consignment, the owner (consignor) of the item, and the number of the item for the consignor. (Other information may be available depending upon the software program that creates the barcode and the information that is entered about the item during data input.)

In BCSS™ price labels can be printed using either a standard ink-style printer (printing on 8.5 x 11 sheets of labels), or a special thermal label printer (printing from rolls of thermal labels). The labels can be adhesive (sticky labels) or non-adhesive (hang tags).

Sheet adhesive labels are limited to two sizes in BCSS™: 2 5/8" x 1" and 1 3/4" x 1/2". (The smaller label is too small to include a barcode.) The non-adhesive label measures 4" x 1" and can have colored borders. It has a hole in one end for hanging on items (with a string or loop) and can be attached to articles using a tagging gun.

Thermal labels offer a much wider variety of labels that may be printed with BCSS™. The labels may be sticky or non-sticky and can range in size from 2" x 1" to 4" x 4". The jewelry 'barbell' label is 2.25" x .5".

Thermal-label styles also vary and include a special two-part label with a stub on one end (with a hole for hanging). Printed on it are the original price, description and item ID. The tear-off portion includes the barcode and bar-code number, item ID, date in, description (up to 20 characters), details (up to 100 characters, and original price.

The two-part tear-off tag is ideal when it's preferable to bring a price tag to check out instead of a large item (like furniture and appliances). It can also eliminate the need for an expensive wireless scanner. ('Wired scanners' are tethered to the computer with USB cables. The cables are usually 6' in length.)

With BCSS™, labels can be printed as inventory is entered, or any time after that using 'filters' to define which labels to print.

They can be printed by category, consignor, disposition (of unsold inventory - donate, return, destroy, transfer to shop ownership), date in, date discounted, date of last sale, description, details, item # range or price range. Labels can also be selected for printing from a list of items, allowing specific labels to be printed.

They can be sorted when printed by category, consignor, date in, discount date, item ID, % share, price or quantity.

If two or more computers are connected (networked) one printer can be used for all computers. Thermal label printers are very fast but if more print jobs are sent to the printer than can be printed immediately, print jobs will be held in the printer's queue and processed in the order they were received (if all jobs were sent with the same priority).

At the point of sale (POS) scanning a barcode populates the new-sale screen with information about the item scanned: item ID, description, price, quantity and the owner of the item (the consignor). If necessary the barcode can be entered using the keyboard.

Of course more than one item can be scanned for the same invoice (and up to five invoices may be open at once). The total and taxes are computed and displayed. Dollar or percent discounts can be applied and the salesperson can be designated. The clerk enters the method(s) of payment. If a credit card is selected, the amount of the sale is entered as the amount of payment (and can be edited). Change due, if any, is calculated and displayed.

In summary, stores selling more than just a few items in a month's time will find time saved and mistakes avoided both before and at the point of sale. Keep in mind that patrons of consignment and resale stores shop at other outlets and are accustomed to seeing organization, correctness and fast checkout. Money spent on software and hardware compatible with barcoding will see a high return on investment.