First, let's make sure the barcode scanner is working properly.
If only a handful of barcodes are giving trouble and all others are working fine please skip down to "Only Specific Barcodes will not scan".
For this you'll need an open text document where your keyboard can enter text and a retail barcode that you know to be scannable. The text doc can notepad on windows, Notes on mac or just a blank Gmail message, anywhere you can type. Place the cursor in the message so it's ready to receive the scanner output.
Next, verify your scanner is plugged into the computer (and turned on if it has an off switch). If it is a bluetooth scanner you'll need to pair it with the computer according to the manufacturer's instructions. USB Scanners do not usually require any special drivers as they are recognized automatically as a keyboard.
The best source for verified barcodes is usually store-bought product packaging you might have around. These are generally UPC-A barcodes that every scanner should be able to read. If you have any doubt that the store-bought barcode is scannable you can test it with another scanner or get a few items to test with. The chance of finding multiple retail items with barcodes that do not scan is super low.
Scan the known to be good barcode and see if it gets typed out in the email. The cursor should jump to the next line after the barcode value is typed out. Scanning multiple times should put one barcode on each line.
If it types out the barcode and moves to the next line, congratulations, your scanner is working properly.
Retry scanning the barcode you were having trouble with before. If nothing happens, or the response from the scanner is the same as when you scan the back of your hand, then the barcode is likely the culprit. The most common issues and resolutions are listed below.
Only Specific Barcodes will not scan
Most scanners beep to confirm they have recognized the barcode and then send the decoded barcode to the computer or device you're using. If most of your barcodes beep and send the data, and some do not make any sound, the barcode likely has one of the issues listed below.
If the scanner beeps and sends the data when scanning the problem barcode(s) then the problem is likely a mismatch between the data saved in GroovePacker and the data encoded in the barcode. In that case, please skip down to either Order Number barcodes or Product barcodes depending on which you are having trouble with.
If you have multiple scanners to try and the barcodes that give trouble are working fine on the other scanners you can swap the scanners between computers to rule out the computer or device as the issue and then you'll know for sure the scanner has a problem. The scanner manufacture may be able to provide updated drivers or further troubleshooting help.
- The barcode has too many characters and is not readable.
There is no "hard limit" to the length of a barcode so the quality of the printing and the scanner determine the maximum length. Usually, 1D barcodes with 25-30 characters or less have no issue unless there is a problem with the printing.
- The printing is not sharp so only short barcodes are readable.
It could be that the printer has a physical issue but most often the cause is that the printer resolution is not set to the "native resolution" of the printer. The pdf manual for your printer will likely let you know what it should be set to. Often the native resolution is 72 dpi for Zebra thermal printers, and printing is blurry when they are set to the max dpi of 300 or any other resolution.
- The printing format is cropping off the ends of the barcode making it unreadable.
You can likely adjust the packing slip template to remedy this. In many cases, shorter barcodes will not get cropped but longer barcodes will. Verify that the complete barcode is visible on the packing slip
- The barcode format is not compatible with the scanner.
This is super rare but it could be the case if you have ruled out everything else. If other barcodes printed in the same format are scanning then this is not the issue. It is more likely a printing issue. Some scanners have trouble than others when printing is not ideal.
- The data encoded in the barcode is not compatible with the barcode format.
The characters supported vary from format to format. If unexpected characters are included it could create a barcode that is not readable.
If the scanner beeps to indicate it recognized a barcode but no output is typed out, it often indicates a connection issue or a scanner configuration issue. Most often this is seen with a Bluetooth scanner that is not properly connected. If it is a USB scanner, try another USB port and if possible, another computer. If there is still no response the scanner may be defective or may need to be reprogrammed according to the manufacturer's instructions.
You have to press enter after each barcode - Enable carriage return
If it types out the barcode but does not move to the next line, and subsequent scans add the barcode to the same line, you'll need to download the scanner's manual and follow the steps to enable the sending of a carriage return after the barcode. Most scanners do this by default, but if not, it's usually quick to enable this feature with the manufacturer's instructions.
Once you've verified the scanner and the barcode are working, it's time to move on to troubleshooting in GroovePacker.
Order number barcodes
If the problem is an order number barcode on a packing slip let's start by verifying the order number barcode by scanning it into an email as mentioned above or any text document. When you scan the order number barcode from the packing slip it should type out the order number exactly as it appears on the imported order in GroovePacker. If instead, you see something like the following: ^#AB8FE1E then you have the "Scan to view" barcode rather than the order number barcode. By default GroovePacker will accept both the Order Number and the Scan to View barcode. This article explains the difference and how to add them in ShipStation. If the correct order number is typed out when you scan the barcode then we should check that the order has been imported. Open the orders section in GroovePacker and scan the barcode into the search bar. If you are using the scan to view barcode you'll need to type the order number. If the order does not display and the order number in the search field matches exactly what you have for the order number in the order manager or store then the order did not import. Please see this article for troubleshooting import issues.
If the problem is a product barcode not being recognized during packing let's find the product in GroovePacker and take a closer look. Open the products section and search for the product using it's SKU or name. When you see it in the list, click on the product name to open the product's details. In some cases, two barcodes will look alike on the screen but be slightly different due to a space or variation in the character. To verify that the correct barcode is saved in the barcodes field click the "add" link to add another barcode. Scan the product barcode that was not recognized in the scan and pack section. If the barcode is added and saved successfully then it must not be an exact match of what was already saved. Now that the correct barcode is saved the product should scan properly in the scanning section.
If rather than saving the barcode you were shown a window with options for creating an Alias, then the barcode you scanned is already properly saved. You can close the Alias/Shared barcode window without making changes.
At this point, we know the scanner is working and that the correct product barcode is saved in GroovePacker for this item. Next, we should carefully compare the SKU of this product and the SKU of the product in the order where we saw trouble.
Copy the SKU of this item to the clipboard and paste it into notepad. Open the same order that gave trouble earlier by searching for it in the orders section. Locate the SKU, and copy it to the clipboard. Past it on the next line in the notepad doc. This makes it easy to identify any differences between the SKUs if they exist. If it is the same exact SKU and you continue to have trouble with the barcode of this item being recognized please contact support and let them know the Order number of the order you tried as well as the SKU of the item displaying this issue.