Save Time and Money Using a Barcode Scanner App

James O'Donnell10/20/2021

What is a barcode scanner app ?

A barcode scanner app is an app that allows a mobile device with imaging hardware (the camera) to scan a barcode or QR code to retrieve the encoded data.

What is Barcode Scanning?

Smartphone barcode scanning apps are changing the way people shop. Shoppers can scan an item's barcode using a mobile device's built-in camera and a barcode scanner app. This provides shoppers with all kinds of useful product information to help them make a more informed purchasing decision.

To human eyes, a barcode is a square or rectangular image or label found on the side of almost every product sold today. It seems to consist of nothing more than a series of parallel black lines of differing widths and spacing. In reality, this seemingly random black and white design contain a wealth of information.

The barcode is actually a machine language. It visually represents data that can be read by a device like a barcode scanner. Some of the information contained in the barcode on a box of food can include-

  • Product name
  • Price
  • Product specifications (size, color, type, etc.)
  • Manufacturer
  • Production time & date
  • Expiration dates
  • Ingredients
  • Nutritional information

Barcodes have been around since 1951! However, they didn't really begin to catch on until retailers began to adopt automated checkout systems. Today, you'll find a barcode label on almost every item you purchase in-person or online.

In addition to speeding up and simplifying the transaction process, barcodes provide many other advantages, including-

  • Eliminates pricing errors
  • Data is available immediately
  • A barcode scanning system is easy to use and learn
  • Barcodes are easy and inexpensive to generate and print
  • Provide better sales and inventory management
  • Barcodes can contain a wide range of data

There are two kinds of barcodes- one dimensional (1D) or linear, and two dimensional (2D). 1D barcodes are the ones with the lines, such as a UPC barcode. 2D barcodes like QR codes consist of an arrangement of geometric shapes.

Up until recently, you needed a barcode scanner device to read a barcode. Now you can download a barcode scanning app directly to your smartphone. Barcode scanning apps have created a whole new way of shopping

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What is a Barcode Scanner App?

The cameras found on both Android and iPhone devices are able to be used as a barcode scanner. All you need is the software. Well, there's an app for that.

It's easy to turn a smartphone or other mobile device into a barcode scanner. There are several barcode scanning apps available on both the Apple and Google app stores - many are free. Simply download and you're ready to get started.

iOS 13 and above and Android 9 and above devices can scan barcodes without the need for a third-party app. If you have an older model, you'll need to download a barcode scanner app onto your phone. Some of the more popular barcode scanner apps include-

For Android

  • QR & Barcode Scanner by Gamma Play
  • Barcode Scanner Pro by Geeks.Lab.2015
  • QRbot by TeaCapps
  • Barcode Scanner by ZXing Team
  • QR & Barcode Reader by TeaCapps
  • QR code reader by BACHA Soft

For iOS-

  • QR Reader for iPhone by TapMedia Ltd
  • Scan QR Code and Barcode Reader by QR Easy
  • NeoReader by NeoMedia Technologies, Inc.
  • ScanLife by Scanbuy, Inc
  • Quick Scan by iHandy
  • Shop Savvy by ShopSavvy, Inc.

These barcode scanning apps have many applications. Shoppers use them to search for the best values. Businesses use them to track inventory and sales without having to buy special scanning devices.

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What Kind of Information Can a Barcode Scanner App Reveal?

With a smartphone barcode scanning app, the device's camera functions as a scanner. It reads the data and sends it to the app. The app decodes the data and presents it in a format that's readable by humans.
A barcode is basically an image encoded with information. What kind of information a barcode contains depends on what kind of object a barcode is printed on. For instance, the barcode information found on a cereal box is different from the data found on a driver's license.

While all sorts of information can be encoded into a barcode, how much depends on the type of barcode. 1D barcodes, like the UPC codes, are limited in the amount of data they can contain. 2D barcodes, like QR barcodes, can contain much more information.

UPC and other 1D barcodes usually only contain between 8 - 25 characters. This is due to the limited space available on the barcode label. Except for special characters, any type of data can be stored in a 1D barcode.

2D barcodes like QR codes can hold between 1,000 - 2,000 characters. Unlike 1D barcodes, they can use any character and contain hyperlinks. 2D barcodes can encrypt data both vertically and horizontally.

What actual information the barcode contains depends on the person creating the label. Sometimes it's just a bunch of identification numbers. In other instances, barcodes can contain information that describes a product's specifications and more.

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How Do You Use a Barcode Scanner App?

One of the big advantages of using a smartphone barcode scanner app is that it's so easy to learn and use. If you can take a picture with a smartphone you can use a barcode scanner.

Here's what you need to do to start using a barcode scanning app-

  • Go to the Apple or Google Play store and search for "barcode scanning apps."
  • You'll get a lot of results. Do your research to find the barcode scanner app that best suits your needs. (Our recommendation- make sure you select an app that can read both 1D and 2D barcodes.) Many are free to install and use.
  • Once you've made your choice, download and install the barcode scanner onto your smartphone or device

When you see an item you're interested in-

  • Open your camera app, selecting the rear-facing camera
  • Hold your device so that the barcode or QR code appears in the viewfinder.
  • Make sure there's enough lighting
  • Frame the entire barcode label
  • Adjust your distance if the label is out of focus
  • Keep the device steady while scanning the label
  • Your device will vibrate when the scanning is complete

After you've scanned the label, you'll see the information it contains - product info, website URLs, etc. Open the folders or links that contain the barcode of interest to you.

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How Barcode Scanner Apps Save You Time and Money

Why do the retail and restaurant industries use barcode labels? To save time. Barcode scanners save retailers time and money for everything from customer transactions to inventory management.

Let's start at the POS location. Scanning a product is much faster than entering its price into a cash register. This moves the lines along faster - your customers will love this.

In addition, there are fewer pricing errors. Nobody has to guess about prices. And no having to make your customers wait in line while an associate runs around the store checking a price.

Barcode scanners save retailers time in other ways as well. They don't have to wait to see the barcode data. This makes it easier to track inventory and sales.

Customers can save time using a barcode scanner app. They can scan a barcode of a product in their home to see if it's in stock at the market. They can even use it to compare prices between various retailers to save money.

Barcode scanning technology is easy to learn and use. Just point the barcode scanner at the label and click. This saves employers time and money when it comes to training.

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You Can Make Money Using a Barcode Scanner App

It's true, people are making money using a barcode scanner. Want to get in on the action? First download a barcode scanner onto your smartphone.

Take your smartphone barcode scanner to any place that sells cheap, used products. This can include thrift stores, pawnshops, resale shops, flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, etc. This aim is to search for items that can be resold on eBay or Amazon for a profit.

You find a used item that looks like it may have some potential resale value. Scan the item's barcode with your smartphone. You'll see the MSRP, what local merchants are charging, and the prices it's going for on eBay and Amazon.

So, Walmart and other local merchants are selling the item for over $50. It's fetching the same prices on eBay and Amazon. The people selling the item you're scanning are only asking $10.

You pay the retailer the $10 dollars they're asking for the item. Then you resell it on eBay or Amazon for $50. See how it works?

Who'd have thought that a free barcode scanner app could make you so much money? There are actually people who make enough money barcode scanning to do it full time. With a little practice you could get to be a real pro.

Barcode Scanner Apps For Better Health and Nutrition

A barcode scanner app can not only be used to save money. It can be used to make money too. But what's the use of having a lot of money if you can't enjoy it?

Money is important. So is your health. A barcode scanner can save and make money - but it can also help keep you healthy and fit as well.

Barcode scanning is one of the latest health trends. Fitness apps like Noom and Fooducate use barcode scanner technology to help users watch their caloric and nutritional food intake. So how does it work?

These fitness and nutrition apps function just like general barcode scanning apps. You use it at a grocery store or other food market to scan food or drink items. What's different are the search results.

The data focuses on the cost, calories, nutritional value, and ingredients of the products being scanned. It's an effective tool for watching your weight and staying healthy. It's great for persons with diabetes, food allergies, heart disease, and other conditions that have to watch their diets.

While these apps are free to install, they often include monthly subscription costs to access their premium services. These services can include personalized meal plans and interactive consultations with licensed nutritionists. Judging by the comments on their websites, these apps have helped lots of people lose weight and stay healthy.

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