The implementation of GS1 DataBar barcodes on PLU stickers has many advantages to both retailers and suppliers.
The PLU sticker with only the 4- or 5-digit PLU code provides information required to charge the correct price at point of sale. The PLU code alone provides limited information for category management.
Retailers who have successfully implemented the scanning of the GS1 DataBar barcode have realized many benefits. The Point-of-Sale (POS) transaction time was reduced from 4 seconds to key in the 4- or 5-digit PLU code to 1 second to scan the barcode. They were able to implement category management down to supplier and item level. They are able to determine the sell through (retail units sold versus purchased) by item and by supplier. As this could be an indication of the effectiveness of the supplier's cold chain, this information could be used to influence their decision on which suppliers they would purchase from. The retailers were also able to understand sales and profits by supplier and by variety, no longer just at the item or category level.
Some retailers were able to use the data to enhance their Computer Assisted Ordering process and when dealing with a recall, they were able to verify which stores the recalled product was scanned at and were able to take appropriate actions based on this information.
Their customer using the self-checkout stations reported an increase in satisfaction with the process when GS1 DataBar scanning was enabled.
Gross margins increased due to accuracy with scanning versus PLU entry. Cashiers do memorize PLU codes and sometimes make mistakes or do not read the PLU sticker and assume the product is conventional when it is organic or enter the wrong PLU code. Not all red apples are Red Delicious!
The benefits to supplier are discrete visibility of their products quality, sell through and shrink in each of their customers supply chains, brand differentiation and category management that will facilitate collaboration with retailers and longer term planning.
A tool was created by PMA to assist the industry with the implementation of GS1 DataBar barcodes called DataBar Online. This tool enables sellers of produce to communicate their item level GTINs and corresponding PLU codes to their buyers. In turn, buyers can then download this information into their Point-of-Sale systems to scan the GS1 DataBar on loose/bulk items.