Handling Products with Non-Distinct Barcodes

Hello Again, Everyone.

I would like to request thoughts and feedback regarding how I can use/setup Products that have non-distinct barcodes. I’m only at the very beginning of my attempts to handle this situation, but I’m guessing Product Tags are going to be my best bet.

Here’s the situation.
In the beer world, some national grocery store retail chains require breweries to re-use the same barcode on their seasonal products if they are charging the same price for the product. It’s stupid, I know, but that’s just the way it is in the industry, unfortunately.

Now, I realize that I can simply create my own barcode for those products that are sharing barcodes, but that’s not a practical solution for our industry. We would have to create, print, and coverup every barcode that’s on every bottle or can of a pack of beer.

The problem is that when a beer needs to get returned, we’d have to remove all the stickers from those products to get a credit. Sometimes those stickers will damage a product package/label and therefore our credit is negated. Not to mention that if we order multiple cases of a beer, now we’re having to printout 24 labels—standard case of beer is 24 units per case—per case. We tried this before back in our early days and it was just not practical for our industry at all.

With that said, we need to get our to go items into the system as we don’t have them in there yet because of this “issue”. This has prevented us from completely moving away from our old school manual register which I need to get away from asap.

Other systems I’ve seen will pop-up a screen when you scan in a barcode that is assigned to multiple products, asking you to pick which product it is that you are trying to sell. Now, I’m sure there are very good reasons that you forced the barcodes to be unique, so I don’t want to ask anyone to “reinvent the wheel” here. I think it should be food for thought, though, for possibly a future release, as that will make SambaPOS more appealing to my industry (craft beer retail and taproom) which is growing very fast.

With all of that said, I would appreciate anyone’s thoughts and guidance on the possibilities, pros and cons, of using the product tag functionality to be a pseudo-replacement for barcodes for now. Or is there a better way to do this that does not include creating & printing unique barcode labels?

Thank you all in advance.
Cheers from Chicago.

Have a suggestion :wink:

Before that, they will be set to unique as this would be the most logical system and given barcodes are typically a retail thing and Samba being primarily Hospitality orientated this senario would not have been taken in to consideration.

Anyway, the suggestion…
Guest Beer Product with portions for the seasonal beers.
Will show on receipts ok: 1 x Guest Beer.Seasonal Name
Then set the guest beer product to have the auto portion selection ask question setup;

This might be worth thinking about a future feature request, allowing and handling non-unique barcodes.

For retail, there are 2 special circumstances I have seen that would cause hassle with barcodes in SambaPOS:

  1. As per this question - multiple products with same barcode. Ideal workflow: item is scanned, if multiple results found, show results as a search and user clicks the desired product (same as search product via POS screen if name typed on keyboard).

  2. Multiple barcodes per item - this is common where either seasonal / promo / price marked items exist of the same product, the manufacturer will use a different barcode but essentially its the same product. In some circumstances (e.g. price marked) it makes sense to maybe add as a separate product, but if its just some competition on the label or seasonal label, it makes no sense to have a separate product.

There should also likely be an option to allow user to specify if non-unique barcodes should be allowed.


1 Like

Using the Portion functionality was the other route I was considering taking as it seems to be the most natural route to take based on the current system design.

The reason I was thinking about product tags, was to preserve the data hierarchy of the products. Keeping them all at the same “level” versus having some true products existing as sub-products where their name/information is at a different “level”.

I guess it’s all semantics and perspectives. One could argue that since they do share barcodes that in reality they are subproducts of a general main level seasonal product.

I just want to avoid bastardizing the system as much as possible. In my experience, shoehorning or leveraging other functionalities for non-intended uses eventually comes back to bite ya on the boo-boo!

I think I’ll still start with Product Tags and see what the pluses and minuses are versus doing them as portions.

I’ll report back accordingly.


You could still do an ask question for tags but would have to manually add the ask question buttons when new one comes.
Alternatively you could set the tag an min 1 and add a select last product action on order adding so it functions like autoselect if it was a menu item.
That would work well if you opt to use product tags :slight_smile:

1 Like