Drivers, retailers and shoppers all share a common enemy: the slow lane. At the checkout, retailers lose money if a scanner breaks, a lane must be closed and, most importantly, if customers stack up and abandon their carts as lines lengthen. Free-flowing, fast-moving lanes make everyone happy. Customers, sales clerks and store owners all benefit when scanners respond quickly, product after product.
This ideal world hinges not only on agile sales clerks but also on scanners that take advantage of every enhancement available. One reason Datalogic’s Magellan™ brand of scanners have been the No. 1 scanner in the world for the past 10 years because it has its own lab where, in the words of Vice President of Fixed Retail Scanning Nick Tabet, it "ensures that our scanners are designed to survive in the demanding retail environment."
In addition to being prized by retailers for their ruggedness, the Datalogic scanners also offer a wide-ranging ability to deal with the varying code types that must be scanned. Some products still employ the laser scanning technology that shoppers have been familiar with since the late 70s, which makes the Magellan™ brand valuable to stores. The newest models have image-based technology that reads 2D bar codes, and codes from smart phones. In fact, the popular Magellan™ 9800i multi-plane imaging scanner was the world's first barcode scanner driven completely by high performance digital imaging with the ability to increase checkout performance.
Rewriting the Scanning Playbook
Another example of Datalogic thinking beyond the traditional 1D barcode has been the company's collaboration with Digimarc. The Digimarc Barcode applies existing bar code data invisibly and repeatedly across all package surfaces thereby making the entire package scannable at checkout. Datalogic has enabled its Magellan™ 9800i to detect and process Digimarc Barcodes, significantly reducing checkout times for retailers and boosting the average number of items scanned per minute. "We are excited about our retail-facing products having the ability to decode the Digimarc Barcode," Tabet said. "It will make a huge impact in the industry."
Realizing that imperceptible barcode technology can benefit the retail supply chain end to end, Datalogic has now enabled mobile computers and handheld scanners to decode the Digimarc Barcode, relieving workers from having to maneuver large, heavy or awkwardly shaped packages in order to scan them.
Setting a New Bar for Scanning Speed
Datalogic was so sure it was building a superior scanner, it teamed up with Digimarc to put their joint solution to the test in public, among peers. In January 2014, at the National Retail Federation's Annual Convention & EXPO, they set out to establish a Guinness World Record. Two Digimarc execs—with no professional experience as retail clerks or baggers—volunteered to put the scanner through its paces. In the record time of 48.15 seconds, they successfully scanned and bagged 50 items on a Datalogic Magellan™ 9800i scanner scale. Each of the retail items scanned featured the Digimarc Barcode. They cut the previous time, established in 2009, in half; their record still holds today.
Demonstrating Real Results
Datalogic markets its image-based scanners directly to retailers by inviting them to pilot a Magellan™ scanning 25 to 30 retail items that have embedded Digimarc Barcodes. The resulting numbers demonstrate that retailers wouldn’t have to convert very many items to see increases in checkout throughput.
"Cashiers are the ultimate test. Impressing them is far more effective than getting into a specification battle with our competitors," Tabet said.
Not to be overlooked, an important secondary benefit to a faster, easier checkout process is the ability for checkers to be more conversational and friendly with shoppers as items are being scanned and bagged. Attentive checkers who can answer questions and ensure customers had a pleasant shopping experience can go a long way in fostering shopper loyalty.
Greater profits. Happier shoppers. Life is better in the fast lane.