The barcode was invented by Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver and patented in the US in 1951, although it took another 20 years before it became commercially successful. It is now the standard way to identify and add products to your basket and can take the form of a barcode or QR code that is linked to the product.
The scanning process either takes place using the smartphone’s built-in bar code scanning capabilities or through a dedicated bar code scanning library that enables faster and more reliable scanning. Since the connectivity may be weaker in some parts of the store, a Scan & Go solution that offers offline scanning can help ensure that customers are able to continue their shopping journey no matter where they end up in the store. To further improve the scanning process, some bar code scanning libraries use artificial intelligence (AI) to allow customer to scan damaged or partially obscured barcodes.
Some firms also offer dedicated hardware modules to scan barcodes of products. While some retailers and customers might like the separation and the privacy it brings, it also comes with a much higher initial outlay and recurring costs for maintenance and management, as well as the possibility of theft and damage. This highlights one of the key strengths of a Scan & Go application: making use of existing infrastructure and drastically reducing initial outlay.