4 Solutions to Overcome Mobile Printing Challenges

Software eBook

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

The Value of Digital Receipts

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Receipts are crucial for various reasons, including tax deductions, issuing refunds or reimbursements, reconciling credit card and bank statements, providing proof of service, and more. However, as our world continues to embrace the transition to all things digital, having a shoe box full of paper receipts or a stack of them in your wallet is no longer desirable for consumers (was it ever?). Instead, well-executed digital receipts are now the preferred solution.

Although digital receipts are invaluable for retailers and customers, the reasons why vary. For retailers, they offer access to key customer data that can be used to drive a number of business decisions including which items to stock and when, tailoring marketing and promotional efforts, and more. For consumers, they provide a safe, easy and convenient way to store and manage all their receipts in a single place. As mobile devices solidify their stake as shoppers’ primary companion, a digital receipt solution is important to stay competitive.

What’s wrong with email?

When shoppers opt for emailed in lieu of printed receipts, they might not realize they are entering into the world of unsolicited email marketing. With privacy and anonymity being a top-of-mind concern among consumers today, a digital receipt solution that takes users’ email for self-serving marketing purposes creates distrust and apprehension among shoppers, making it an ineffective solution.

… Or taking a picture of the receipt?

Similar to the lack of discretion from digital receipts that demand an email address, digital receipt solutions that require users to take a picture of their printed receipt are ineffective and outdated. Think of this approach as the equivalent of holding a microphone to a speaker to record a song – would you really prefer a crackly, muffled version to the nice crisp sound of a digital audio file? It’s unlikely. Additionally, when taking a picture of a printed receipt, consumers don’t necessarily have the option to photograph the back side, therefore creating missed opportunities for marketing departments and stress for loss distrust and prevention departments.

Check out Star Cloud Services eBook to learn more about the value of digital receipts: The Value of Digital Receipts

To learn more about Star Cloud Services and AllReceipts™, please visit www.starcloudservices.com.

Desi Burrito Teams Up with Star Micronics and NirvanaXP to Deliver All Natural Indian Food ASAP

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Desi Burrito is the first Indian drive-through restaurant, providing fresh and flavorful fast-food with many healthy options for people who want to grab a quick, but healthy bite. As a brand new concept, Desi Burrito was looking for a POS system that they could get up and running quickly and would coincide with their innovative business idea. Star Micronics’ mPOP™, combination receipt printer and cash drawer with NirvanaXP’s POS system was the perfect fit to get Desi Burrito up and running in record time.

Desi Burrito, being the first of its kind as an all natural, Indian drive-through, did not want to waste any time in getting their business off the ground. Desi Burrito sought out a quick and seamless POS solution from NirvanaXP, due to their all-in-one POS business model and compatibility with iOS mobile devices such as an iPad® or iPhone®. In search of a solution that was easy to install and attractive to customers, NirvanaXP suggested Star Micronics mPOP™ to Desi Burrito as a wireless all-in-one mPOS system.

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“Smal businesses are often looking for a POS solution that is easy to set-up, and takes up as little space as possible. The mPOP’s compact size was the main consideration, but the fact that it doesn’t need a separate printer is huge! Its accessibility and seamless set-up won over Desi Burrito right away.

– Kris Parikh, CEO & Founder of NirvanaXP

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“Star Micronics’ mPOP was the perfect solution for Desi Burrito. The mPOP with NirvanaXP allowed us to have our business up and running in no time. It’s compact design and Bluetooth set-up made the mPOP the ideal POS solution for our restaurant.”

– Sujal Mehta from Desi Burrito

Download the full success story here: Star_Desi-Burrito_Case-Study

Finding the Right mPOS for Your Food Truck

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It’s food truck season, folks! The warmer seasons are the best time to grab an outdoor bite from your local food truck or food stand. We see them popping up more and more as the weather gets warmer, and people flooding them to snag some quick and tasty street food. This often times results in crowded trucks with long lines, making business very hectic for cooks and cashiers. Luckily, Star Micronics has the perfect mobile point of sale technology for these businesses, making their job all the more easy, while also keeping customers happy and satisfied with their service.

When thinking about finding the right mPOS system for your seasonal food truck or food stand, there are a few key considerations. Are you looking to solve the issue of line busting? Are you trying to create a more efficient workflow for your employees? Do you want to save space in your compact location by switching to a more mobile printer peripheral?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, Star has the solution for you!

Kitchen Printers

If you’ve ever ordered from a busy food truck in the middle of the summer, you can see that it can be a hot and hectic environment for cooks. The “old-school” process of writing down orders and passing them off the cook becomes inefficient when handwriting is hard to read, the cooks are very busy, or when the order gets lost or damaged in the transition between order-taker and cook. Using a POS system to input orders and send them to an impact kitchen printer makes for an easier workflow because the order is being taken and entered into the POS in real-time. The order can then be sent directly to the impact printer, eliminating miscommunication between the “front of truck” and “back of truck” staff. Impact printers are also often times noisy, making it easier for the cook to know when a new order is coming through, and the paper remains durable in hot environments.

Receipt Printers

Just because your customer is ordering food on-the-go, doesn’t mean they don’t need their receipt. A thermal POS printer is necessary for food trucks for the obvious – to provide a proof of transaction, but the key for food trucks is to keep the printer mobile. A Bluetooth thermal desktop printer or a portable printer is the best solution for food trucks. When working in such a small location, things can get tight. With a Bluetooth enabled thermal printer, you can move your printer daily throughout the truck to wherever space allows. Portable printers are also a viable option for receipt printing because it not only allows you to move throughout the truck, but to move outside of the truck for a line-busting POS solution.

Multi-Function Printers

Again, when trying to navigate a food truck on a busy summer afternoon, space can be limited. For those who are looking to really save counter-space, a multi-function peripheral might be the best option for you. Star Micronics’ latest mPOP™, all-in-one mobile point of purchase combines a cash drawer with a two-inch receipt printer, and a 1D barcode scanner to create the perfect mPOS solution for small spaces. Using Bluetooth connection, the mPOP can also be repositioned in the food truck or food stand in order to maximize counter space, and can be operated on-the-go using a tablet or mobile device.

To find the right mPOS solution for your food truck, visit www.starmicronics.com.

The Benefits of EMV

Following the October 1, 2015 deadline created by U.S. credit card issuers MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express, the liability of EMV compliant payment processing systems has shifted in the U.S. Prior to this shift, one of two parties would be held responsible in the case of fraudulent credit card transactions – the payment processor or the issuing bank. Now, whichever party is the least EMV compliant in a fraudulent credit card transaction  – the merchant or the card issuing bank – will be liable for the consumer losses.

While business owners and shoppers tend to see the shift as a negative, it turns out that there are many overlooked benefits to the EMV shift for both businesses and consumers.

As mentioned, the Oct. 1, 2015 deadline is strongly encouraging businesses to switch to EMV compliant payment processing systems in order to avoid being held liable for fraudulent credit card transactions. While switching to a new EMV compliant POS system may be expensive, it can potentially save businesses from losing hundreds to thousands of dollars in credit card fraud. What’s more, this switch gives business owners the opportunity to not only become EMV compliant, but to consider switching to a more modern and mobile POS system.

Tablet-based POS is becoming more prevalent in businesses, especially small businesses. The reason being is that tablet-based POS is usually inexpensive and can scale or expand to your business. Tablet POS is also a sleek and attractive option for small business owners, allowing them to keep a modern check-out and save precious counter space at the point of transaction. The benefit of upgrading your traditional cash register or POS to a mobile or tablet POS system, is that most mPOS systems are already EMV compliant, making the shift to EMV as smooth and inexpensive as possible.

Now, let’s talk about some of the benefits of EMV for shoppers.

Since the shift to EMV compliant payment processing, there has been an obvious push-back from shoppers all over the U.S. This is mostly due to the fact that dipping the EMV chip of your credit card takes significantly longer than the simple swipe of a magnetic stripe reader. While this can be a nuisance, the EMV chip is a major benefit for consumer shoppers as well.

The reason you have to wait an extra 5 to 10 seconds for the chip reader to process your payment is because each transaction with your EMV card is a unique one. When dipping your card into the chip reader, the terminal performs many stages of complex processing to create a unique transaction each time your EMV card is used for payments. This requires dozens of pieces of data to be read in order to create this unique transaction, resulting in a slightly longer wait time. But the benefit is, that if the card information gets copied and attempted to be used for another transaction, the information would not be usable, and the card would just be denied.

To learn more about the EMV shift and mobile payment solutions, check out Star Micronics eBook – mPOS: How its Revolutionizing Payments.

 

3 Ways to Retain Customers Using AllReceipts™

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More often than not, when you walk into a store to buy something, chances are, you’ve been there before. Customers tend to return to their favorite stores when looking for particular items for a number of reasons. Perhaps the location is convenient for the shopper. The store always happens to have what the shopper needs. Maybe the shopper just likes to stick to what they’re comfortable with. Whatever the reason may be, there is a reason that shoppers continue to return to the same few stores for their particular shopping needs.

With AllReceipts™ digital receipt app, you can ensure that your store always retains its shoppers and builds customer loyalty!

AllReceipts™, digital receipt app from Star Micronics, allows customers to digitally store and manage their paperless receipts. But what’s more, AllReceipts™ also allows for retailers to personally engage and communicate with their shoppers to give them a unique and personal shopping experience. These three great features offered by Star Cloud Services, a subsidiary of Star Micronics, allow retailers to better engage and connect with their shoppers to retain customers and build shopper loyalty.

  1. Engage NOW and Messages. Engage NOW and Messages allows retailers to better engage with their customers by giving them the ability to communicate relevant information whether that be promotions, discounts, new arrivals, coupons, or taking the customer directly to their website or desired social media page. With Engage NOW and Messages, the customer can simply tap on the store name, and the retailer’s customer message or website will then appear on the screen.
  2. Receipt Flip. With Receipt Flip, retailers can take full advantage of the entire receipt space by customizing the back. Yet another way to engage with customers, receipt backs can be used to display terms and conditions, store policies, watermark, promotions and marketing material, and more. Simply upload your content into the dashboard to start getting the most out of your receipts.
  3. Customer Survey. The Instant Customer Satisfaction Survey feature allows retailers to receive real-time feedback from customers. When claiming a digital receipt in the AllReceipts™ app, customers are prompted to provide feedback on their experience, which is relayed to the retailer’s user-friendly survey dashboard, allowing them to see how many customers have claimed receipts and the satisfaction level of the service received.

To learn more about the AllReceipts™ digital receipt app, visit www.starcloudservices.com or www.allreceipts.com.

7 Must-Have Kiosk Technologies

Self-service technology, including kiosks with kiosk printers, continues to increase in popularity in a wide range of vertical markets. Retailers of all types, as well as quick service restaurants, gas stations, parking lots, casinos, telecommunications companies, transportation providers, and other organizations are implementing these solutions.

However, capitalizing on the self-service trend and consumers’ affinity for kiosks in any application – retail or otherwise – necessitates strategic kiosk printer selection. Choosing the right kiosk printer is a matter of understanding the business environment, and customers.

There are seven ‘must-have’ kiosk technologies and accessories that you will find essential, depending on the application:

  1. Presenter. A presenter increases security and supports customer privacy by ensuring that receipts are delivered only to the right person;  if forgotten, they remain inside the kiosk where unauthorized parties cannot access them. The presenter also offers other benefits that make it worthwhile. Perhaps most importantly, the presenter prevents paper jams from occurring if receipts are inadvertently left in the printer. This, in turn, decreases the incidence of operating interruptions that cause customer service delays, and have a negative impact on the customer experience. What’s more, with a presenter, there is no opportunity for receipts or other collateral to fall to the floor if it is not delivered to the intended recipient. The end result is reduction in litter, and cleaner-looking store, restaurant, or other business environment.
  2. Bezel. The bezel is an alternative to the presenter. Typically positioned between the kiosk slot and the printer, it acts as a guide to push paper out of the kiosk. If the best kiosk printer for your application is not designed to accommodate a presenter, or there is another reason why a presenter would not work with a particular kiosk printer model (e.g., space constraints), a bezel is a viable solution.
  3. Paper status alerts. Kiosks are typically left unattended for extended periods of time. However,you’ll need to know immediately when a kiosk printer requires more paper. Select a kiosk printer that displays alerts when it is low or entirely out of paper.
  4. Printing status alerts. Insist on a kiosk printer that’s capabilities include a visual alert to inform customers that their collateral has been printed and is ready for pickup.
  5. Digital receipt support. Star Micronics’ offers AllReceipts™, the perfect digital receipt application. Additionally, since the printer is constantly connected to a cloud service, customers will have easy access to a device management service. More information can be found on www.starcloudservices.com and www.allreceipts.com.
  6. Drivers. Kiosk printer software drivers must be compatible with a given kiosk’s operating system, be it Windows®, Mac®, OPOS, or JavaPOS.
  7. Software Development Kits (SDK). An SDK is necessary if the kiosk printer works on a mobile operating platform – i.e., Android™ or iOS. There is a huge incentive to also offer a digital receipt solution at an unattended kiosk. It reduces the use of paper and helps customers to keep product and retailer information on their mobile devices.

Please refer to our below eBook: A Guide to Selecting the Right Kiosk Printer for more tips on kiosk printers.

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Star Micronics and LOCFOOD Equip Mexico City Cuisine to Operate at Home & On the Road

Mexico City Cuisine, located in Vista, California, offers full catering services for everything from formal dinner parties and corporate events to casual gatherings and weddings – in addition to having multiple food truck locations. Mexico City Cuisine recently made the switch to Star Micronics’ mPOP™ all-in-one cash drawer and printer peripheral POS system paired with LOCFOOD’s CRAVE Vend mPOS software.

The mPOS bundle provided Mexico City Cuisine with the most practical option for both in-store and off-site locations. The mPOP™ paired with CRAVE Vend software provided Mexico City Cuisine with a mobile solution compatible with the iOS iPad® devices that were already being used for customer transactions. Mexico City Cuisine found the mPOP™ to be the best given its modern, sleek, all-in-one design, and its simple Bluetooth connectivity set-up. What’s more, CRAVE Vend mPOS software paired perfectly with the solution to create a complete mPOS package, allowing Mexico City Cuisine to use the solution in any of its various locations.

 

MexCityCuisineLogo3 “Star Micronics’ mPOP™ is the perfect solution for us at Mexico City Cuisine,” says Leo Garcia, owner of Mexico City Cuisine. “The all-in-one, compact design of the mPOP™ paired with the CRAVE Vend mPOS software allows us to use the same POS system in both our store and food truck locations with zero inconvenience.” 

 


“CRAVE Vend originated from seeing Mexico City Cuisine employees use iOS devices in their daily transactions,” says Thuc Luu, Founder of LOCFOOD, Inc. “We are so pleased to have been able to design a full mPOS software to be used with tablet and other mobile devices, and to work with Star Micronics to create a full mPOS bundle that is easy-to-use for retailers and restaurateurs.” 

 

 

Download the full case study here: Star_Mexico-City-Cuisine_case-study

Star Technology Day Recap

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Star Micronics would like to thank everyone who attended our very first Star Technology Day event hosted in Mexico City! Star Micronics had a wonderful time catching up with our customers and partners, and showing off all of Star’s newest technology. We’d like to share some of the highlights from the show for anyone who may have missed out.

IMG_2506While Star has a reputation for attending a variety of trade shows and events throughout the year, this was our very first Star-hosted event for distributors, resellers, end-users, and software partners. We were very excited to host our own event and showcase some of our newest products and technology.

Star Micronics spent the day showing off our newest TSP100III thermal receipt printer, now available with Wi-Fi connectivity and simple “Push ‘n’ Connect” WPS connection, making it the easiest wireless set-up in the industry. Also featured was Star’s all-in-one mPOP™, mobile point of purchase solution with built-in cash drawer and printer peripheral for tablet POS. Star was also showcasing our very own digital receipt application, AllReceipts™, which allows customers to store digital copies of their receipts, and provides more customer engagement for retailers with new features such as Engage NOW and Receipt Flip.

Star was proud to host a number of our software partners, allowing them to demonstrate their POS and mPOS software in conjunction with Star products. Software partners included GoNet, iPOS by Ivan, iZettle, Pacific Soft, MSP, National Soft, MyBusiness POS, SkyPOS, and Touch Bistro.

Thank you again to all who attended and we look forward to seeing everyone next year!