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Info Please: Retailers Gear Up for Barcode Scanners, POS Systems

From the April 2007 Diamond Dialogue:

In February, Diamond’s “Info Please” poll asked retailers to share their thoughts on the use of barcode (a.k.a. UPC) scanners and Point-of-Sale (POS) systems in their stores. As previously reported, Diamond is currently developing Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS) 2.0 packages and specialty market-specific modules, and this month’s feedback will factor into the final product.

Table 1 – Do you use a barcode scanner in your store?

If yes, do you have any problems scanning Dark Horse comics?

26.67%

If yes, do you have any problems scanning DC comics?

24.00%

If yes, do you have any problems scanning Image comics?

22.67%

If yes, do you have any problems scanning Marvel comics?

18.67%

If yes, do you have any problems scanning other comics?

41.33%


Table 2 – Is you barcode scanner used in conjunction with:

Your POS system?

82.67%

Your website system?

14.67%

Other?

18.67%


Table 3 – If you are not using a barcode scanner at this time, are you considering the purchase of a system in 2007?

Yes

40.31%

No

59.69%


Approximately one quarter of respondents who currently use barcode scanners have had problems scanning comics from Diamond’s premier vendors, though more than 40% have encountered difficulties with other publishers’ books (Table 1). Furthermore, retailers with barcode scanners primarily use them in conjunction with a POS system, as seen on Table 2.

On Table 3, slightly less than half of participants who don’t currently have a barcode scanner plan on getting one in the coming year.

“As more and more vendors offer UPCs on their titles, having a barcode scanner and accompanying POS system becomes that much more useful,” said Diamond Customer Service Technical Support Assistant Manager Cheryl Sleboda. “We strongly encourage retailers who don’t already have one to consider acquiring one, either separately or as part of our upcoming RMS packages, the latter of which will make scanning of comic book UPCs much easier.”

Table 4 – Do you have a Point of Sale (POS) cash register system in your store?

If yes, do you use Comtrac?

13.33%

If yes, do you use MOBY?

1.33%

If yes, do you use Microsoft Retail Management System?

5.33%

If yes, do you use Quickbooks POS?

18.67%

If yes, do you use Other?

68.00%


Table 5 – If no, do you plan to purchase one…

This year

23.73%

Within 2 years

18.08%

Between 2-5 years

25.42%

Never

32.77%


Table 6 – What features are or were important in your decision to utilize a POS system? (Select any that apply.)

Inventory control

96.88%

Inventory check-in

83.75%

Ease of use/software interface

76.25%

Subscriber/Pull-and-hold maintenance

68.13%

Backorder management

65.63%

Ability to tender credit cards

55.00%

Drill down reporting

38.75%

Hardware service package

36.88%

Managing employees

31.25%

Scalability with multiple stores/registers

31.25%

Other

25.63%


When asked about POS systems (Table 4), most of those who currently have one stay away from major brands, and more than 60% who don’t have one plan on getting one in the next five years (Table 5). Finally, in regards to important POS system features (Table 6), inventory control was a near-unanimous choice, with more than half also voting for: inventory check-in, ease of use/software interface, subscriber/pull-and-hold maintenance, backorder management and ability to tender credit cards.

“This is great feedback, and all of these features will be included in our RMS packages and modules,” said Sleboda. “And of course, the packages will offer one-stop shopping for retailers who want to add POS systems to their store.”

Diamond would like to thank everyone who participated in the poll. Retailers are encouraged to participate in all future polls, and to direct reactions to the findings to suggestions@diamondcomics.com or your Diamond Customer Service Representative.