10 Ways mPOS Can Benefit Your Business

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As a business owner, the last thing you should need to stress over is your point-of-sale system. POS  systems are designed to make your daily workflow smoother and easier for business owners and employees alike. If you’re considering a mobile POS solution, be sure to look at ergonomic mobile solutions.

These solutions recognize that some businesses need peripherals beyond the basic tablet POS, such as a combination cash drawer/receipt printer. Here’s what ergonomic mobile solutions offer:

1. Convenience. With an ergonomic tablet POS plus cash drawer/receipt printer, you can accept all payments anywhere, anytime. This is a big improvement over common mPOS, which traditionally only handles electronic payments.

2. Space saver. Ergonomic solutions reduce your POS footprint significantly. With their small size and sleek profile, these platforms are attractive and unobtrusive in your retail or restaurant environment, freeing up space in which you can add tables or expand merchandise displays.

3. Assist mPOS solutions. Because these ergonomic mobile solutions rely on Bluetooth technology for connectivity, they’re fully mobile when needed and rid you of tangled wires and a jumble of dongles.

4. Full functionality. Ergonomic mobile solutions offer robust features and functionality for a wide range of applications.

5. Receipt printer. Small and compact, a built-in printer lets you quickly and quietly print a receipt as soon as the transaction closes. Additionally, sometimes single accessories are needed without a full system. In this case, you should check to see if your system can support additional printers for your bar, kitchen, and other areas.

6. Barcode scanner. If your tablet or mobile device lacks a barcode scanner, your ergonomic mobile solution easily accommodates an optional plug-and-play scanner for reading merchandise.

7. Cash Drawer. A secure cash drawer stores currency, checks, receipts and other important items. The size of the cash drawer you choose will depend on the number of cash transactions you process a day.

8. Software application. To get the greatest value of your ergonomic mobile solution, pick a software application that supports the latest payment options such as NFC and EMV. This will help you to avoid another technology upgrade in the near future.

9. Tablet/device. When evaluating tablet and mobile device options on the market, be sure to select hardware that’s designed to process NFC and EMV payments, preferable without requiring add-ons or peripherals to do so. Choose a device that’s compatible with your preferred software application. Most software applications have a preferred operating system, however if you need a software application to be cross compatible, make sure to do your research and find a web-based solution.

10. Digital receipt. More and more retailers want to deliver an in-store experience that provides digital support. There are innovative, downloadable apps on the market today that are supported by many POS systems. These apps allow your customers to receive a digital copy of their receipt on their smatphones. Some of these apps even allow functionality for customer satisfaction surveys, so retailers can always get a gauge on how they are perceived by their customers.

For more information on mPOS solutions, download our eBook: mPOS: How it’s Revolutionizing Payments

Dry Cleaning POS Software Checklist: 10 Things Not to Compromise On

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Your dry cleaning business must operate efficiently and profitably to succeed in this highly competitive market. So it stands to reason that when you are considering new point of sale (POS) software for your business, that you would settle for nothing less than the solution that allows you to operate most efficiently and maximize profits.

There are many POS software options available, but you need to narrow the field of choices to those that have the features best suited for operating a dry cleaning business.

This checklist of POS software for dry cleaners can help. It lists 10 features essential to your operations, and finding software with these features can bring you one step closer to the right solutions for your business.

  1. Intuitive Interfaces and Functionality. POS software with an easy to use interface will also benefit your business by making the task of training new employees easier and quicker.
  2. Labor Management. The POS system can help managers monitor attendance and control overtime.
  3. Peripheral Support. Make sure the POS solution you invest in today can accommodate your business’ changing needs, and can scale or be upgraded to accommodate new technology.
  4. Customer Engagement. The customer relationship management (CRM) module of your POS software solution provides you with an updated database of customer contacts, delivery information, and even how much starch individual customers like in their shirts.
  5. Delivery. Your POS software should also support mobile POS and a mobile printer to equip your drivers with tools for delivery confirmation, to print invoices and receipts, and to accept payments.
  6. Labeling and Tags. You’ll want to ensure that your receipt printer can handle wash tag printing that will be durable after the customer takes it home.
  7. Payment Processing. Your POS system should provide your customers with the convenience of accepting any of their preferred payment methods.
  8. Inventory Management. Whether you use a numbering or a barcode system, your POS software solution should include an inventory management tool that helps you track items from drop off to pickup or delivery.
  9. Assisted Assembly. If your dry cleaning business has automatic assembly systems or if you are considering it for the future, make sure your POS system can integrate with them so your business can take full advantage of this time-saving technology.
  10. Reporting. Your POS solution should provide reports in a format that allows you to keep a close watch on operations and on your bottom line.

In a highly competitive dry cleaning market, decisions that can impact your efficiency and profitability are too important to take lightly. Practice due diligence to ensure your new POS software solution will provide the right features, and ultimately, the right outcomes for your business.

Download our full eBook: Dry Cleaning POS Software Checklist: 10 Things Now to Compromise On.

3 Ways to Market Your Small Business for Less

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When you’re an independent retailer or a small business owner, marketing funds tend to be limited. Not only are you already competing with the big franchise retailers, but reaching and engaging with your target audience can be especially difficult because you may not have the tools and budget available to develop a massive marketing campaign like your competitors.

All is not lost! Big box or even online retail marketing will not kill your business just yet. We now have the technology right at our finger tips to reach and connect with large audiences for little, to no cost. Here are three easy ways to market your small business and engage with customers without breaking the bank!

1. Social Media

Social Media is crucial for any small business. According to Digital Trends, “people in the U.S. check their Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts a staggering 17 times a day, meaning at least once every waking hour.” With people spending that much time on social media, it is almost a guaranteed way to gain business exposure.

Since there are now so many different social media platforms available with almost all of them offering a free sign up, social media is an excellent strategy for engaging with customers and building a larger audience for your business. Social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are great for engaging with people because it allows your customers to tag you in Tweets and Instagram photos, or post directly to your wall on your business Facebook page. These social media platforms are also effective at encouraging potential shoppers to visit your website or even better, initiating conversation with customers because it allows you to integrate “call-to-actions” such as clickable links, photos, polls, lead-generation cards, and more right into your posts. This is especially great for retail because you can create social media posts about a special product, and then lead shoppers right to the website to purchase; and it’s free!

If you’re struggling to gain a good social media following, remember to communicate with your customers that you are active on social media. Utilize your social media pages to advertise sales, contests, and special promotions. If people have a reason to follow you, they will!

2. Create Content

When owning a small business, whether that be a clothing store, coffee shop, or salon, it can be tough to compete with big name franchises that already have such a large base of loyal customers. How can you help your customers be confident in the fact that your coffee tastes better than Starbucks, or that you have the scoop on the next big fashion trends that Macy’s has yet to start selling? Create content!

Owning a website or blog for your business is the best way to communicate your knowledge with customers and increase the amount of customers visiting your store. Your website or social media page is usually the first thing a person looks to when taking interest in your new business or product, so why not fill them with your abundance of knowledge for what you do?

Creating content or having a blog is a great way to communicate what’s new and trendy with your customers. For example, if you own a clothing boutique, starting a fashion blog is the perfect way to draw consumers to your website. It shows shoppers that your store not only has the best new clothes and accessories, but that your store knows what fashion trends are going to be the ‘next big thing’.

3. Digital Receipts

It seems so simple, right? Every customer is going to receive a receipt at the point of purchase. Now think about how you can use those receipts as a marketing tool!

We’ve all seen the surveys that big box retailers tell you to fill out at the bottom of the receipt to win a $500 shopping spree, and we’ve all ignored them and thrown those receipts away at one point or another. Today, with your shoppers armed with smart devices, you have a better chance at engaging with customers by going digital. There are a number of digital receipt solutions, but Star Micronics’ AllReceipts® offers a free, convenient digital receipt app that is beneficial for retailers and for shoppers.

While many digital receipt solutions require the customer to give up personal information such as their email address or phone number, AllReceipts allows the retailer to directly connect with the customer without needing any of their personal information. AllReceipts has features and tools such as Customer Survey, Flip, and Engage NOW that allow retailers to receive instant feedback from shoppers, provide their customers with promotions and coupons by utilizing the back side of the receipt, and encourage customers to visit their website or social media page. AllReceipts is a great marketing tool for retailers and allows them to offer their customers a digital receipt option, all while engaging with customers and encouraging them to come back to their store. What’s more, AllReceipts is free for retailers to install with any Star Micronics receipt printer.

Bottom line: Competing with large franchises can be difficult to do when you’re an independent retailer or a small business, but there are tons of free tools out there to market your business. Star Micronics recognizes this and that is why we want to help you be a better retailer!

For more information on AllReceipts®, please visit www.starcloudservices.com.

Bac’n Me Crazy Improves Customer Wait with Star Micronics and Wholly App

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Bac’n Me Crazy is a gourmet food truck based in Charleston, SC that specializes in out of this world dishes that are loaded with bacon. Bac’n Me Crazy was one of many food trucks in the Charleston area that was searching for a way to help their customers avoid the crazy and unpredictable South Carolina weather, and create a smoother workflow for employees. Wholly App and Star Micronics teamed up to provide Bac’n Me Crazy with the ideal solution for their food truck.

Bac’n Me Crazy, one of the most popular food trucks in Charleston, SC, was searching for a way to make ordering not only easier for the customer, but for the employees as well. The unpredictable east coast weather made standing in line at an outdoor food truck an undesirable prospect for customers. Always putting the customer first, Bac’n Me Crazy sought an online ordering solution from Wholly App that would help to make the ordering experience more convenient for customers, and create an easier and smoother workflow for employees.

By installing Wholly App’s solution with Star’s TSP650IIBTi printer and WebPRNT, Bac’n Me Crazy was able to not only create a better ordering experience for customers, but improve the overall daily workflow of their business. Wholly App was able to create a customized solution for Bac’n Me Crazy, allowing customers to order from their phones, and receive an alert when their order is ready. When the customer ordered, the order would be sent directly to the Star printer using WebPRNT. WebPRNT eliminates the need to install any drivers, and enables printing from Wholly App’s native application built specifically for Bac’n Me Crazy. Star’s TSP650IIBTi has the durability to withstand the rush hours, and offers ultimate mobility with its Bluetooth feature, allowing employees to move the printer throughout the truck as necessary.

AR-160129982 “This solution has been a dream come true for us,” says Jason Broz, Founder of Bac’n Me Crazy. “Wholly App and Star Micronics’ solution allowed us to increase our business and make the lives of our customers easier – which is really the most important thing to us.”

“When developing this app for Bac’n Me Crazy and thinking of printing options, Star was our first choice,” says Mike Werner, Found of Wholly App. “The TSP650IIBTi with WebPRNT made our job so much easier by providing a mobile and durable solutions that could print orders right from the app.”

 

Download the full success story here: Star – Bac’n Me Crazy Case Study

4 Solutions to Overcome Mobile Printing Challenges

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Point of sale (POS) is no longer limited to the traditional, fixed model. Merchants have tried and proven the benefits of mobility. They can complete payment transactions in-aisle of tableside, and set up additional checkouts for line busting.

Here are four common challenges merchants face with mobile printing and the solutions that will help you overcome them.

Challenge 1: Printing from an iOS, Android, or Windows Native App

With most legacy applications, many POS printers and printer brands could be used by just installing the right Windows driver. Since iOS and Android operating systems do not have a print engine to support drivers, the printer functions need to be integrated inside the POS software, thus limiting the choice. Fortunately, these companies have usually integrated the best of breed printers which make for an easy choice.

Solution: SDK Integration

A software development kit (SDK) helps software engineers or developers to speed up the process to support special features (like printing) in software applications. The printing SDKs needed to create applications are usually available for developers to download from the printer hardware manufacturer. For example, iOS applications traditionally use Objective-C or Swift programming language, while Android uses Java.

An advantage to SDK integration is that the application your software engineer or developer creates can give you more complete control of printing, such as adjusting print formatting, controlling the cash drawer, or checking the status of the printer. It also enables additional, innovative features to be added to the print application such as digital receipts and other cloud services.

Challenge 2: Printing from a Web Browser Application

Advanced Web standards, such as HTML5, give developers the ability to build Web-based applications with nearly the same level of features as native (local) applications. Web applications have the added advantage of allowing live, automatic updating so that customers always have the most up-to-date version of the software since the application lives in the cloud.

If the POS software is Web-based, the issue isn’t which mobile device the application is running on. Most Web-based solutions are device agnostic: if the device can connect to the Internet, it can usually use the application. In this case, it’s necessary for the printer to receive data directly from the Web-based application.

Solution: WebPRNT

Star’s JavaScript-based WebPRNT technology allows complete control of any Star WebPRNT Ethernet interface printer. Developers can use Star’s JavaScript library and Builder API to integrate a Web-based application with a WebPRNT printer. In addition, this functionality can be extended to Bluetooth printers by using the WebPRNT Browser with little to no changes.

Challenge 3: Printing from a FileMaker™ Project

FileMaker Go is a free app that runs FileMaker applications, such as those for POS and retail management solutions on iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod Touch®. Traditionally, it has not been possible to print from applications such as FileMaker Go to point of sale and mobile printers.

Solution: PassPRNT

Star’s PassPRNT application solves the problem of printing from FileMaker applications. Any FileMaker Go project, native iOS or Androud application, or Web application can send the receipt in an HTML format to the PassPRNT application using a URL Scheme. The PassPRNT native application then formats the receipt for the printer and sends it to any Star Bluetooth printer paired with the iOS device. The operating system can automatically switch from the FileMaker application to the PassPRNT application and back, making seamless, “one-tap” printing possible.

Challenge 4: Continuing to use a Legacy Windows Application with Newer Mobile Hardware

In some instances, a merchant may want to update its hardware to be more mPOS compatible, but also wants to continue to use their legacy system running an OS such as Windows or Linux. Examples may include a PC upgraded to a Microsoft Surface, or a desktop serial or parallel printer upgraded to a network or Bluetooth POS printer.

Solutions: Update Hardware and Drivers

Most legacy applications can be used on the latest Windows 8.1 or 10 tablets. But like any new installation, the new hardware needs to be set up, meaning new drivers, and new configuration. Network printers (either LAN or WLAN) are usually recommended for mPOS system, however new Bluetooth printers are often as powerful and easier to set up. In this configuration, the old cash drawer can be connected to the new printer. However, if the decision is made to use a mobile printer, more modifications are needed. Since 90% of all cash drawers are usually driven by a POS printer, if a portable printer is now used, you will need to update your cash drawer to a wireless one, or integrate DK-AirCash to bring the old drawer to an Ethernet or wireless configuration.

To learn more, download out eBook: How Printer Software Technology is Evolving to Accommodate mPOS

Sunshine Daydream Offers Groovy Digital Receipt Solution to Customers with Star Micronics’ Help

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Sunshine Daydream Hippie Shop is a psychedelic shopping boutique, located in St. Louis, Missouri. Sunshine Daydream offers an array of merchandise from clothes, to home décor, to smoking accessories, and more. Already a user of Star Micronics TSP100 LAN printers, Sunshine Daydream has decided to implement Star’s AllReceipts™ digital receipt app in all four locations, allowing customers to store and manage their receipts digitally on their smart phones.

Sunshine Daydream, already a user of Star’s TSP100 thermal printers with Microsoft RMS, was looking for a way to better connect with their customers. After seeing a live demo of the AllReceipts app, they immediately saw the value to the solution. Allowing customers to view their receipt digitally was a feature that Sunshine Daydream was previously looking for, but was very expensive to add to their Microsoft RMS platform. AllReceipts free digital receipt app was the perfect solution.

AllReceipts digital receipt app provided Sunshine Daydream with a way to engage with customers and receive their direct feedback on their shopping experience. The app also allows Sunshine Daydream to manage their POS directly through the app, seeing receipt recalls, printer status, and if the cash drawer had been left open for too long. What’s more, the AllReceipts app came at no additional expense for Sunshine Daydream, and the installation took less than two minutes; they were able to go live with the app instantaneously!

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“Star’s AllReceipts app was the perfect digital receipt solution for Sunshine Daydream. Aside from it costing us nothing, the install was easy, and it allows us to receive direct feedback from our customers, and manage our devices digitally through the app, which was a huge plus!”

– Jay Trudeau, Owner of Sunshine Daydream

Download the full success story here: Star_Sunshine-Daydream_Case-Study