Oregon State Beaver Store Optimizes Checkout Experience With Motorola

The checkout line is the last touch point for consumers who are purchasing a product in a store. That means even the process of waiting in line needs to be seamless and enjoyable. Often, the optimal experience involves quick and accurate service, even if lines are longer than usual.

To upgrade its POS scanners and provide this experience to college students and other consumers, The Oregon State University (OSU) Beaver Store rolled out the DS4800 series handheld barcode scanning imager from Motorola Solutions, a subsidiary of Zebra Technologies. These scanners are designed to quickly process thousands of transactions at the store’s 22 cash registers during a typical college football game day rush, when a higher concentration of students and alumni visit the store to purchase merchandise.

“We have to set up special stanchions to zigzag the queue of students,” said Torsten Pihl, Information Systems Coordinator at the OSU Beaver Store. “Because of our flexibility, we have 22 registers ready to go — our register gauntlet — and we get an influx of student employees to help with the rush so that we can actually staff all 22 of them. The line actually moves pretty quickly, and we’ve noticed that the devices have scanned fast and accurately.”


After beta testing the prototype designs for the handheld devices, both the cashiers and consumers gave the technology favorable reviews, particularly due to their lightweight design and capacitive-touch trigger. Each retailer can decide whether a cashier can tap, swipe or press the capacitive-touch trigger to scan item barcodes.

“Ironically, as we moved on to the next-generation product of the DS4800, its main focus when it was originally on the drawing board was quite different than where we generally start a lot of our products,” said John Britts, Senior Director of Product Management at Motorola Solutions. “We usually start based on performance and productivity. In this particular case, we took a step backwards and realized that there was a growing demand for what we were calling ‘the experience around the POS,’ which included how people interact with the scanner both from the cashier side and the customer side. We haven’t made any sacrifices on the productivity, but we wanted to make sure to put due process on the other side and not provide a generic, industrial-looking device.”

The DS4800 imager series functions similar to a digital camera, as opposed to a traditional laser scanner, and can capture both 1D and 2D barcodes on paper or digital screens, according to Pihl. Although the store’s previous scanners had cameras, they didn’t have high resolution and were slow to process the order.

With the 123Scan configuration that came with the devices, the OSU Beaver Store employees were able to configure all scanner parameter settings with a simple scan. By programming the scanner with the existing POS register so it matches the store’s IT environment, cashiers can save valuable time and are able to focus their efforts on other store concerns.

“There’s a compatibility factor involved,” Pihl explained in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Having the camera equipped enables the cashier to quickly program the device using the 2D barcodes right from tablet and phone screens. We have an internal web site that has various information links that include the 2D barcodes. Employees can just point the scanner at the screen if they need to reprogram it.”

The imager can be personalized for the retailer’s brand; for example, the Beaver Store customized the DS4800 so it contained the Oregon State logo and colors.

“The store didn’t choose to, but they could have also branded the device by a tone when it decodes,” Britts said. “Some companies have a brand sound, some of which are in television commercials, so those simple beeps or melodies that play could also have been incorporated.”

Zebra Technologies completed the acquisition of the Motorola Solutions enterprise business in October 2014.

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