Star Spotlight with Quetzal

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What does Quetzal do?

Quetzal is designed from the ground up for one specific group of customers: forward-thinking and stylish clothing and shoe retailers who have one or two locations with ambitions to open a few more. Quetzal POS is a cloud-based point of sale software that can be ran on Apple iPad® devices, with the ability to connect up to ten locations. The fully integrated point of sale allows users to do everything from the iPad from importing, to sales, to customer management, to visual retail-time reporting.

How is Quetzal working with Star Micronics?

Quetzal has integrated Star’s mPOP™, Mobile Point of Purchase, peripheral for a sleek, all-in-one solution for their specialty retailers. In addition to the mPOP, Quetzal has also certified support for Star’s TSP100 printers and the AllReceipts™ digital receipt app. Retailers can use both the mPOP and TSP100 peripherals to offer their customers digital receipts through the AllReceipts app, and engage with customers and manage their devices with Star Cloud Services.

What key benefits do Star peripherals bring the the specialty retail market?

Star’s mPOP and printer peripherals offer an easy solution for retailers to set up their point of sale using and iPad device. With no need for additional development or integration, retailers can get the entire point of sale up and running in no time. In addition to the easy set-up, Star’s mPOP offers an attractive, yet reliable cash drawer and receipt printer for the retailer, with the option of digital receipts being an added bonus.

“Our customers are able to get set up with any of the Star products literally in moments of opening it out of the box. It’s a very simple solution for our retailers to set up and we can complete the implementation in less than five minutes with no technical skills required.” – Joshua Stanphill, VP of Sales and Marketing for Quetzal.

Is Your Restaurant Ready for the Growing Online Ordering Trend?

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Are you looking for a new way to grow your restaurant business? Consider online ordering. According to QSR Web, digital ordering is growing 300 percent faster than dine-in traffic, and analysts project in a few years, more restaurant sales will come from takeout, delivery, and other forms of off-premises dining, than from customers who dine-in.

Restaurant competition is fierce and profit margins are tight. The majority of independently-owned restaurants that open today will not survive beyond a few years, and according to an Ohio State University study, more than 60 percent will fail in the first year.

A Cornell University study revealed restaurant survival is based on finding ways to differentiate your business from the competition and being agile enough to successfully respond to consumer trends.

Don’t become a statistic. Offering online ordering is a feature your customers are looking for, and it also elevates your digital presence, which can help raise awareness about what makes your restaurant and your brand unique and appealing.

There are three options for adding online ordering services:

  • Sign up with a third-party online order network. There are a variety of options for online ordering networks you can work with depending on your location. Investigate costs – some will charge a percentage of each order and others charge a flat fee for being listed on their websites.
  • Sign up for the online ordering service of your current POS solution (if available). This option provides the added benefit of integrating online sales with your finance report, but functionality of the online ordering application itself may be limited.
  • Integrate your own online ordering system on your own website. You can establish online ordering through your own website or app. This option locks a customer into your brand when they are ready to place orders and can build customer loyalty.

The process of receiving orders from a third-part ordering site and getting them to the kitchen can still be a pain point for some restaurants. Restaurants usually receive orders via email on a tablet in the restaurant – or on several tablets if they work with more than one third-party network. During a shift, one or more employees may be assigned to communicate the orders to the kitchen and enter them into the point of sale (POS) system. The lack of integration between online ordering sites and the POS system means the process still requires labor hours and errors can still occur when orders are transferred.

Consider the gains in efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction for your restaurant if you could download an app that would send your online orders directly to the kitchen printer where your staff could start food prep immediately and ensure orders are ready at the appropriate times. Technology solutions are available to help your restaurant bridge the gap between online orders and the kitchen.

Maximizing online order processing efficiency will enable you to truly benefit from adding this service to your business, allowing you to address this major consumer trend, reach a wider pool of potential customers, and fully develop this revenue stream.

Learn how you can easily integrate online ordering in your restaurant with Star’s TSP650IIcloudPRNT cloud printer.

Download our full eBook here: Star_Online-Ordering_eBook

Gorge Greenery Grows Their Business with Star Micronics and Green Bits

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Gorge Greenery, the only Clean Green Certified recreational marijuana dispensary in the Columbia Gorge, prides itself on providing the highest quality cannabis products from the best producers and growers in Oregon. Gorge Greenery was able to find a simple, yet reliable point of sale solution for their upcoming dispensary through Green Bits and Star Micronics.

Gorge Greenery had no choice but to install a cloud-based point of sale system in their dispensary. A cloud-based system was the best option for Gorge Greenery to keep their initial investment at a reasonable cost, while also having the ability to access live sales information and reports from anywhere, at any time, without remote access software. “Our ability to remotely log-in from anywhere via the cloud was key,” says Kirsten Cook, Owner of Gorge Greenery.

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After researching their options, Gorge Greenery found Green Bits’ point of sale software with Star Micronics’ peripherals to be their best option. Green Bits application suite along with Star’s Bluetooth printer is what won over Gorge Greenery.

The ability to operate the point of sale on mobile devices and Apple iPads® that function seamlessly with Star’s TSP650IIBTi printer, was a true selling point for Gorge Greenery. The Green Bits software allowed dispensary management to easily see customer sales, state compliance, inventory management, and sales analyses reports all on one, easy-to-use platform.

The Green Bits and Star Micronics point of sale system was a huge benefit to Gorge Greenery. The solution gave them the ability to keep track of sales and analytics by bud tender in order to see which employees are performing well, compared to which ones could use further training. Gorge Greenery can now also keep track of cash management, inventory control, and hourly sales reports which in turn help them to efficiently schedule and decrease their labor costs.

 

“This technology allows us to present and expedite a professional experience to our customers. We are able to streamline the point of purchase process by four-fold. The Green Bits iPad-based system with Star’s wireless printer has helped us to reduce clutter, resulting in a huge increase of impulse sales at the point of purchase.” – Kirsten Cook, Owner of Gorge Greenery.

Download the full success story here: Gorge-Greenery-Case-Study

Top Retail Blogs to Follow this Holiday Season

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With Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us, retailers are in “holiday season” mode with special promotions, seasonal marketing campaigns, long hours, and hectic customer requests. Now more than ever, retailers need to pay attention to the holiday retail trends, and look for any tips they can find on how to make this season a little bit easier for everyone.

SMB retailers require actionable insights that are retail-centric for the nitty gritty of the daily management of their stores. In our years of working with hundreds of ISVs, VARs, POS providers, and retail stores themselves, we’ve come to also appreciate the retail influencers, insiders, and thought-leaders that inspire us to perfect our craft. Star took a look at some retail blogs and put together this list of the best retail blogs to follow this holiday season.

Here are just a few that we recommend checking out:

1. Vend

Aside from the fact that Vend is one of the best blogs for retailers to follow, they have dedicated an entire series of blog articles to holiday retailers with their “Vend’s 2016 Holiday Retail Boot Camp” series. The twelve-part blog series includes tips on how to improve your store and increase sales during the holiday season, all while answering of the what, how, any why on where to begin!

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2. Retail Geek

For a non-traditional holiday retail blog, be sure to check out the Retail Geek. This site hosts weekly podcasts with hosts Jason “Retailgeek” Goldberg and Scot Wingo. Their last two podcasts have focused on the holidays with a holiday preview and cyber holiday recap. Many of their podcasts also feature reputable guest hosts as well.

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3. Shopify

Shopify is another point of sale company that is killing the holiday retail blog game! Shopify boasts tons of great blog articles for retailers that vary from retail tips, to management strategy, to inspirational posts. This holiday season, they are helping out retailers with articles like: Seasonal Staffing 101: How to Prep Employees For the Holiday Shopping Rush and How to Cater to Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers.

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4. Signal

The holiday season is the perfect time to capture customer data because store traffic is generally increased. But, what do you do with data once the sleigh bells stop ringing and the holiday hype is over? Signal offers tons of articles that focus on data capture, sharing, and onboarding for the SMB retailer.

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5. ShopKeep

ShopKeep is the perfect blog to follow if you are an SMB retailer looking to compete with “big-box” retailers this holiday season. ShopKeep offers tons of tips and guidance on how to boost those retail sales. With the holidays underway, this is the best time to check out their blog and see how you can exceed your sales goals and increase traffic to your store.

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6. Square

While the holiday season usually brings in the highest profits of the year for retailers, there is still a ton of work that needs to go into an effective seasonal marketing plan. Square’s blog has tons of articles to help retailers with their holiday marketing plans. From email marketing, to trendy window displays, Square can help you get the most bang for your buck this holiday season.

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7. Lightspeed

Lightspeed takes holiday blogging to a whole new level! Like most retail blogs, Lightspeed’s holiday blogs offer tips and guides for retailers on how to get through the holiday season with the most ease as possible. Including articles for inventory management and Holiday tax treats for small business, Lightspeed has something for any retail business.

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Time is ticking! Visit any of the recommended blogs above to start gathering tips and pointers on how to get the most out of this holiday season for your retail business.

 

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Electronic NFC Payments Continually Increase in Popularity

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Who is using it?

Millennials are embracing the use of their phones and mobile near field communication (NFC) technology at the checkout lane. Now is the time for small business owners to accept that reality and harvest the benefits by adapting their point of sale system.

Picture this. A consumer is in a hurry to grab a quick bite to eat on their way to a meeting. While driving through town, the consumer sees a local restaurant and decides it would be a good place to pick up lunch. Getting back on the road with as little time disruption as possible is important. After a quick meal prepared by the merchant, the consumer soon realizes he left his wallet in the car, but notices that the restaurant accepts mobile payments. Without hesitating, the consumer pulls out his phone at the point of sale and uses it to pay for his meal. After a speedy meal and transaction, both the merchant and consumer are happy with the exchange.

Consumers and shoppers are always looking for the smallest queue. NFC technology effectively cuts back the wait time since people with smaller purchases can complete their purchase faster. There’s no more waiting a half an hour just to buy a single item. Thankfully, there’s also no more searching through purses (or man purses because… it’s 2016) for oversized wallets filled with tons of credit cards or cash. With the advent of technologies like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Android Pay, wallets are succumbing to the Internet of Thing (IoT), a past time that consumers are likely not to miss.

Where are they being used?

contactless-lead-1355413251According to a Business Insider article, there are approximately 2.5 million point of sale systems equipped with NFC readers that are being used in the United States alone and Apple Pay is looking at a lot of growth. Mobile payment systems are being used in local retail stores, restaurants, for public transportation, and inside convenience stores when consumers are making a quick or small purchase. As long as the point of sale hardware or credit card reader displays an NFC logo, that means Apple Pay and other mobile payments are compatible at that retail location.

 

Barclays is now leading the finance industry with newly announced ATMs. The new machines offer cardholders contactless access to their accounts via mobile key points at the ATM, according to multiple news sources. These new machines utilize the same kind of near field communication technology, and prompts user authorization to allow the debit card stored on their device to be used for banking.

Why are they using it?

In 2014, PayPal disrupted the payments industry where users could pay across platforms with a single touch, without the hassle of entering usernames and passwords. A year earlier, companies like Venmo began the downplay of entering credit card numbers on small screens. Innovative technology continually changes our world, and millennials are adapting by using these services to help create a smooth initial transaction at checkout. PayPal and Venmo revolutionized the way younger consumers interact with their finances, and larger tech companies notice the switch in consumer behavior and react by scaling use of mobile payments.

In addition to the mobile payment phenomenon, millennials are now using more coupons than previous generations and they are accessing these on their mobile device. Imagine allowing customers to not only use their phone for coupons at the point of sale, but for payment as well. The two go hand-and-hand because with every mobile payment, there is an opportunity for the merchant to access the customer digital world by offering digital receipts and coupons, ultimately driving more return customers.

Small businesses can believe in the post-cash payment era because it all comes down to speed, ease, and simplicity. Using a phone to pay for goods provides a better solution for consumers who don’t like to carry cash or consistently forget their wallet, and it provides a faster and easier workflow for the retailer who wants to keep their lines moving.

Learn more about Star’s digital receipts and coupon solutions at www.starcloudservices.com.

Rob Hom

Marketing Intern