Barcodes in Consignment and Resale Stores

An efficient consignment/resale software program will make barcodes optional and will automatically assign codes as inventory items are being recorded.

It is safe to say that any shop currently employing barcodes as a means of tracking and selling inventory might rather close its doors than give up the convenience and cost savings of bar codes.

While those vertical hash marks may be meaningless to the human eye, they contain details of items which when read (by a bar-code reader or 'scanner'), let the software program know which item is being referenced.

Scanning a barcode at POS instantly populates the new-sale screen with details about the item being purchased: Item ID, Description, Price, Quantity and Consignor, making this method of data entry highly preferable to alternate methods which require choosing items from lists and typing in item information (like the bar-code numbers).

To Windows, bar-code scanners are mostly 'universal' meaning that like keyboards, they are commonly-accepted input devices but rather than interpreting keystrokes, Windows takes in the information encoded in the bars from the scan. So far any and all conventional and 2D scanners have proven to be compatible with BCSS.

Another similarity with other input mechanisms is that scanners are typically 'plug n play'. Windows will recognize the scanner when it's plugged in and ready itself for input from the device.

Bar codes used in consignment and resale shops are mostly 12 digits in length. The first 6 digits are the manufacturer's ID and the next 5 are the item number. The 12th digit is known as a 'check' or 'cut' digit which lets the scanner know if the number was scanned correctly. This is not necessary with BCSS so it is usually necessary to configure or calibrate the scanner to 'cut' (ignore) the 12th - by reading this code (or one applicable to the make/model):

cutdigit

Two types of new scanners (with 5-year warranties) are available from BCSS: the POS-X EVO Laser (which sits in a hands-free stand) and the ION Linear (which requires pulling the trigger each time to read). (See BCSS Hardware for details and images.) Scanners are mostly maintenance free and support is free from the manufacturer as well.

All editions of BCSS (except Intro) support the use of barcodes. This technology is extremely inexpensive when compared to the time and cost savings stores enjoy by utilizing it. Along with thermal price labels, barcodes are high on the list of 'must haves' for any store selling or reselling inventory.

Consignment Shop Software App

If you're considering opening a consignment shop, a solid business plan will include wise decisions about how to spend investment capital.

You'll want to avoid programs offering 'annual support plans' - especially the ones claiming to be optional because if they were in fact 'optional' why would they exist in the first place?

You'll want to avoid the 'free hook'. One way or another 'these people' are on the Internet appealing to you for a reason: money. It should be clear who will be ponying up.

Almost every software vendor hopes to garner endless payments from you for your decision to choose his software for your shop. Think of it as money lost for not seeing it coming. A little bit of homework before making your decision will determine if you spend $400 for software over the next 10 years, or $4,000. Seriously, no joke. Software vendors are mostly individuals who happen to be 'programmers' with dreams of retiring early on the backs of consignment-shop owners. If that sounds like an outrageous exaggeration by a demagogue, a good education will soon evaporate that notion.

Fees are the objective. Be assured that software vendors do not use their websites to disclose fees but to hide them. Don't expect full disclosure of fees when you speak to or email a sales rep. If you don't know the right questions to ask, they won't get asked and you won't have fair and full disclosure of fees before making your purchasing decision. This is by design and it is widely practiced because every person who is victimized by it takes it and won't do anything about it. You're next.

The definition of your future business partner for consignment software and hardware is a company that comes to you with transparency - not at you with nefarious plans for syphoning off your store profits.

Look for a provider that offers 'one-time payments, no monthly or annual fees, free live demo, free training videos and illustrated user's guide'.

There is only one app fitting that definition: No-Fee Consignment Software.

Data Compression for Consignment Stores

Learning a few basic Windows tasks will save money and avoid delays by making your business less reliant upon outside help.

Basically computer files contain essential information, non-essential information and repetition. Running a file through a compression data-compression algorithm removes all but the essential data and reduces the actual file size by a significant amount.

Data Compression (Source Coding)

Files are compressed ("zipped") to save on storage space and to reduce the time and bandwidth needed to transfer data from one computer to another. A folder containing several files (like consignment-software data files) can also be zipped. Here's how:

  1. Locate a file or folder to be compressed. In BCSS the default data folder is named BCSS and resides directly on the C: drive.
  2. Right click on it.
  3. Point to 'Send to'.
  4. Click on 'Compressed (zipped) folder'. (Windows will create a new file (in the same location with a zipper on the file's icon) and the name of the file will be highlighted.)
  5. Type a name for the new file. (If the highlight (selected text) is lost, right click on the file and choose 'Rename' to rename it.)

The 'zipped file' is now ready for storage or transmission.

Free email programs like Yahoo, Hotmail, MSN, AOL etc. are not suited for business use. They often fail at sending and receiving attachments and will block attachments when they decide the attachments are too large. If you must use a free email service, use a Google Mail account which allows up to 25MB per attachment.

For larger databases, use wetransfer.com.

If you are sending files to BCSS tech support, open an email, address it to zipfiles@mm.st, attach the zipped file and write a note including your name, shop name, and the details of the issues and the actions that produce the issues.

Support will return your files with instructions.

Send the File to Another Computer

The most common method of file transmission for consignment shops is email attachment:

  1. Open your email program.
  2. Enter the recipient's email address.
  3. Type in a subject and a message.
  4. Click on the program's attachment icon.
  5. Navigate to the location of the zipped file.
  6. Click on the file to select it.
  7. Attach the file to the email by clicking OK (or the option that completes the procedure).
  8. Hit the send button to transmit the email and attached file.

The average size of compressed BCSS data files is about 2MB. Free software programs often place restrictions on the size of attachments (Google: 25MB, Yahoo: 25MB, MSN: 10MB); however, free email services are known to drop attachments or misplace them (in trash or spam folders). For more transmission reliability use any of the free large-file transfer websites like We Transfer. Search Google for others.

Decompression

Files are decompressed (extracted or unzipped) to restore them to their original state so they can be used for their intended purposes.

For example, if your data files have been zipped and sent to BCSS tech support, the latter will decompress (extract or unzip) the folder containing the files, do what needs to be done, then zip the files and return the folder to you. Here's how to restore the files to their original state:

  1. Save the zipped folder to a location on your computer where you can find it.
  2. Right click on the folder.
  3. Choose 'Extract All'.
  4. Check from 'Show extracted files when complete'.
  5. Leave the suggested location for the extraction as is.
  6. Click Ok.
  7. Select all of the extracted files.
  8. Press the control key and 'C' at the same time to copy the files to the clipboard.
  9. Navigate to C:\BCSS and open that folder. (Click on Computer then C: then double click on BCSS.)
  10. Press the control key and 'V' at the same time to paste the files into the BCSS folder.
  11. In the new window, check 'Do this for the next ## conflicts'.
  12. Click on the first option, 'Copy and Replace'.

A confirmation screen will appear briefly advising that the files are being copied. The computer will do nothing after that. There will be no final confirmation that the existing files have been replaced by the extracted files.

Reopen BCSS and check for correctness.