Use Barcodes to Reduce Ecommerce Picking Errors

Ecommerce is on the rise.

According to, 51% of Americans prefer online shopping to in-store shopping.  In 2016, online retail sales grew 3.8%, and for 2017, the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicted that ecommerce sales would increase by 8-12% per Business Insider Inc.

But even with the growth of online sales, the average ecommerce conversion rate tells another story to pay attention to. For an online store in the U.S., their average website conversion rate only hovers between 2-3%.

Also potentially damaging is how a negative customer experience can affect an ecommerce business’s success. Consider the following stats from Salesforce:

  • It can be 6-7 times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer
  • 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after a poor customer service experience

Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial that ecommerce businesses retain customers when they can and prevent negative customer service experiences.

One way you can do so is by reducing picking errors—especially if you’re a smaller ecommerce business. A key solution? Barcodes.


5 Steps to Mitigate Picking Errors with Barcodes

In an article for Barcode News, Dr. Peter Green states that you should ensure orders are done correctly given the diversity of online orders.  He points out five different ways you can do this:


1) Generate pick order listings and print barcode picking sheets on office printers.

Your picking sheets should contain three different kinds of barcodes: 1) a pick order barcode, 2) barcode(s) for each pick item, and 3) the suggested location to pick this item up from.

You can print picking sheets with a desktop printer.  (Visit here to see a list of desktop barcode printers offered by TSC.)


2) Use barcodes to track where you place products.

Green advises that you place unique tracking barcodes on shelf or rack locations, bins, boxes, containers, and on the items themselves with different serial numbers. You can print these tracking barcodes using barcode printers.


3) Prevent picking inaccuracies by scanning barcoded picking sheets and then scanning the corresponding location barcode.

During the picking process, you should first scan the pick order barcode on your picking sheet per the item barcode. Next, go to the bin, rack, shelf, etc. where the material is located.

Once you’ve arrived at that location, scan the “source” barcode, which will ensure you that you’re picking the right item, and warn you if otherwise.


4) Apply tracking barcodes to each shipping carton.

You need to make sure that the properly-picked products are going to the right customer and are for the right customer order.  Do so by applying tracking barcodes to shipping cartons for specific customers.


5) Use paperless picking if you need to pick many small items.

One alternative to picking sheets is paperless picking, where mobile devices link each item to the source and destination barcodes. All you need to do is scan them, and you’ll be notified if everything you’re picking is correct.


This is just one of many ways you can use barcodes and barcode printers to help your ecommerce business. From reducing overall errors to increasing productivity and ensuring effective inventory control, barcodes are the solution to many potential problems in the ecommerce industry.


How do you use barcodes in your ecommerce business?



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