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how to use retail scales

How To Use Retail Scales

Retail scales are an essential item for anyone for shops and market stalls. Butchers, bakeries, fishmongers, cheesemakers and sweet shops are all places where you’ll find a retail scale (also known as a price computing scale) being used every single day.

Using a retail scale means you get a price for an item based on its weight quickly and easily - speeding up transactions and ensuring you’re accurately charging your customers based on the item’s weight. Importantly, you’ll be staying on the right side of the law, too.

But if this is all new to you, and you need to know how to use retail scales, we’ve covered all the essentials in this blog post. Plus, retail scales you’ll find on the Inscale website. We’ll give you some tips on using some key features of the 

How does a retail scale work?

A retail scale provides a price for an item based on its weight. If the price per kilo or price per 100g is in the scale’s memory, placing an item on the scale will generate a price based on its weight. The item weight and price will be displayed on the scale’s screen.

By law, if you’re charging for an item based on its weight, you should use a trade approved scale. This is required by UK and EU law, and in effect protects the customer, ensuring they’re being charged correctly.

All retail scales are typically trade approved. But, if you’re unsure, look for a green ‘M’ sticker on the bottom, side or rear of the scale.

How to use retail scales

We’ll start with the most basic and essential functions of a retail scale, and how to use them.

With the scale switched on, set whether you want to see a price per kilo or a price per 100g. The button to set this will typically have ‘kg 100g’ written on it. Then, use the scale’s numeric keypad to enter the price per kilo or price per 100g.

Add your item to the scale, and the weight and the price will appear on two of the three displays.

Store item prices for quicker transactions

Most retail scales will be able to store PLUs (price look-ups) in their memory. This means you can speed up transactions and not rely on memory (or scraps of paper) for item prices.

Items can be easily added to the memory by using the scale’s numeric keypad to enter its price per 100g or price by kilo, and then pressing the PLU button.

You can then determine where in the memory the item will be stored. For example, if a retail scale has 99 PLUs, items will be stored and numbered 1 to 99. All you need to do is enter the number location using the numeric keypad. You’ll then need to confirm the action - for example, on the Adam Equipment Swift Price Computing Scale, the confirm button is the tare button.

Then, during a transaction, you can simply add an item to the scale, press the PLU button and type in the location of the item using the numeric keypad, and confirm. Item weight, price and per price per kilo or 100g will all be instantly shown on the scale’s screens.

How to use tare

An extremely useful feature of any scale, yet is often overlooked, is the tare function. You may want to add items to the scale to be weighed, on a plate, tray or in a bowl. This may be particularly relevant if you’re dealing in fresh produce. The problem, of course, is that the scale will detect the weight of the plate, tray or bowl too.

Using tare means you effectively remove this unwanted weight, leaving just the weight of the item you need to weigh on the display. You therefore have a more accurate weight reading on which to base the price you’re charging.

Simply add the plate, tray or bowl on its own to the scale, and press the tare button. You’ll notice that when you remove it from the scale the display will show a minus number. Then, when you add the items to the scale on the plate, tray or bowl, the display will show the weight of the items only.

Use auto clear for added convenience

Small things can make a difference, and if you find it frustrating that some retail scales retain the pricing information on the display when an item has been removed, switch on the auto clear function.

Not all retail scales have auto clear, but if yours does it means not having to clear the previous information when you’re weighing your next item. As soon as the item has been taken off the scale, unit price will clear also.

Record transactions on your PC

Did you know that some retail scales allow you to record transactions? Again, this is a benefit of using Adam Equipment’s Swift Price Computing Scale, and could be vital for your company records, and to create receipts.

Typically, printing a receipt or record of a transaction simply requires the pressing of the print button. In the case of the Swift, the transaction can be printed as well as sent directly to your PC. You can find out more about how the Swift works by downloading the user manual from this page.

Find out more about retail scales

Now you know how to use retail scales, want to find out more? Get In Touch with us, or Alternatively…

Find out how we helped one business price items based on weight with the Adam AZextra.

Weighing in shops isn’t always about determining a price for the customer. Many shops use other scales to weigh deliveries, or to check the weight of an item simply for internal records. Bench scales are often used and we tell you all you need to know about bench scales here.

You can see our full range of retail scales here.

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