10 Ways How Barcodes Benefit Customers | Ecommerce Guide

Man wearing tshirt with a barcode on it

In publications related to Inventory Management and Product Management, we often hear about barcodes and their usefulness in business. But what are their benefits strictly for customers who buy from our online store?

Below are 10 ways how barcodes help our customers. It is worth considering them and understanding their advantages from the buyer’s point of view. Perhaps it will change your thinking and increase the quality of UX (User Experience) in your Ecommerce store.

1. Product Standardization

Due to the fact that most of the products released to the market by manufacturers are registered in the GS1 database, customers can be sure that a given product is the same product that, for example, they purchased during previous purchases.

Two identical products should have the same barcodes. Of course, if they do not differ in color or size, you will find the same barcode on them. This gives the customer confidence that they are choosing the right product, even if the product name itself has changed for marketing reasons.

A very common case when such a barcode helps customers is when the manufacturer changes the graphic design of the packaging of a given product. The product itself does not change, so the barcode remains the same as on the old packaging.

In this case, customers often ask why they got a different product. It is enough to point them to the barcode, which is the same, and all their doubts are dispelled.

2. Faster Online and Offline Shopping

At first glance, this advantage is better seen in offline stores, which does not mean, that this phenomenon does not exist in online shops.

While the customer is shopping in the traditional way in a brick-and-mortar store, he has to go to the cash register, and using a barcode scanner the Cash Register Employee scans the product to register the sale. It is a quick and easy process.

But imagine what would happen if the products did not have barcodes. Each product would have to be typed into the computer manually, which would result in long waiting lines and customers’ frustration.

Now let’s look at it from the online shopping perspective.

There is apparently no cashier here, but the store’s database contains one type of barcode or product code that is assigned to your purchases. Based on this, a receipt can be generated and all sales will be processed.

Because someone has entered barcode data into the store’s database, your customer can take full advantage of the fast shopping process in your online store.

3. Ease of Product Searching

It is common for different sellers to give different names to the same products. This is due to the individual SEO strategy of a given store and an attempt to manipulate keywords.

Probably a product that is registered in the GS1 database and has an official name assigned there, has been named in other ecommerce stores in 100 different ways.

There is no problem when the customer buys a given product all the time from one seller. But let’s think about a situation where a customer was regularly buying food for his cat in your competitor’s store and suddenly the product was out of stock.

Such a client will first search for the same product in a google search engine using known keywords or strict product names. However, if he fails to do so, he will reach for the barcode or product code and use it to search for products in the store.

In that case, you’d better have a barcode on your product page, so this client finds you not someone else’s store.

4. Lower Product price

Here, the factor that lowers the price of the product is the indirect costs throughout the purchasing process.

Due to the fact that barcodes accelerate the work with products, both in terms of customer service as well as in terms of storage and product information processing, the costs of employees and product service are significantly reduced.

These are indirect costs that the client does not seem to see. The simplest example is the remuneration of additional employees needed to handle products that do not have barcodes. Thanks to the existence of these codes, the business owner saves this money and is able to offer the product at a lower price.

What is a standard, however, if barcodes did not exist, customers would have to pay more for products due to such indirect costs

5. Current data

In this case, we have a phenomenon that is hardly noticeable at first glance. Working quickly with a barcode scanner affects their more frequent use. This, in turn, affects the faster updating of product information by employees.

Manufacturers also change product information due to external factors such as changing the recipe or changing production standards. This information is transferred to sellers and they use product codes, including barcodes, to find a given product in the database and are able to quickly change and update this data in their online store.

Thanks to this, customers have faster insight into actual changes in products.

6. Current Quantities

In this case, the phenomenon is very similar to the previous point. Here, the most important role is played by warehouse employees and the WMS or ERP system they work with.

Both the warehouse employees and Inventory Management Systems make sure that the number of products in the store corresponds to the actual quantity in the warehouse. Often the products are damaged or become outdated. Then the employee, by scanning the barcode, can quickly and easily update the quantity of a given product.

worker scanning a barcode of a product

This has a positive effect on the shopping experience of our customers in the store. After all, nobody likes to find out that the product they bought, unfortunately, is out of stock or expired.

7. Comparing

This is an advantage that has been greatly used by price comparison websites and known Marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay.

In fact, their business models are largely based on quick and easy price comparisons of a given product. Such a comparison is made using GTIN codes, i.e. our well-known UPC and EAN codes. Often, internal product codes are also used for this, but the base is the barcode registered in the GS1 database.
The customer can easily compare the price of two identical products offered by different sellers. Not only that, such a comparison is simply stuck under the buyer’s nose.

This has only positive benefits for the customer. He can find the cheapest offer out of a thousand others on the market.

8. Faster Complaint Handling

The utility of Barcodes exists also in a complaint process. The simplest example is a situation where, in order to quickly find a product in the database, the customer just gives us a barcode.

Thanks to this, we do not have to ask many questions to the customer, the customer gains time and we are sure, and customer service is sure that they are talking about this product and not some other.

9. Safe shopping

Barcodes are great protection against counterfeit products. When buying a product online, we can check the product code on the manufacturer’s website. We can then compare it with the code of the product offered to us.

If both codes do not match and you are buying not on the manufacturer’s website but from another seller, then you probably came across a counterfeit product.

10. Product Reviews

By the product code, the customer can also search the web for reviews about this product. There are tons of places where customers share their opinions and it is worth looking for them before buying a more expensive product. Often you will learn interesting things from the opinions and you will find information on how the product works in everyday use.

Bottom Line

You have already learned about the advantages of barcodes from the point of view of customers. If you are just launching your own product, you may be interested in my article on Whether you really need a barcode for your product.

Jakub Szulc

I am an active Ecommerce Manager and Consultant in several Online Stores. I have a solid background in Online Marketing, Sales Techniques, Brand Developing, and Product Managing. All this was tested and verified in my own business activities

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