What’s Next for Cannabis Retail?

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Cannabis legalization is not just creating more business opportunities for recreational dispensaries, but for the point of sale industry as well. Star Micronics has found ourselves rapidly gaining popularity among the cannabis point of sale market and are looking forward to what lies ahead.

First, it’s important to consider the fact that the legal cannabis market is growing quickly with no intention to slow down. The legal cannabis market was worth an estimated $7.2 billion in 2016 and is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 17%. This is more than 8 times the growth rate of the beer and liquor store market in the U.S.

While the cannabis market is growing, there are still issues with marijuana businesses and traditional banking, which means it has mostly been a cash-only industry. While this can serve as an inconvenience for those who frequent recreational cannabis dispensaries, it helps us point of sale folk to keep in the market by providing receipts printers and cash drawers for these businesses. With more states beginning to legalize recreational marijuana use, we can predict that more people will begin to heavily invest in this market, and smaller dispensary businesses will soon be able to fold into larger companies.

In addition to the issues that cannabis businesses face with banking and financial services, recreational marijuana dispensaries are required to practice “seed to sale” tracking compliance. For those unfamiliar with this term, the “seed to sale law” requires every marijuana producing plant to be tracked through each stage of its life, from cultivation to the point of sale.

With this in mind, software developers are working to create point of sale systems that help dispensaries to easily manage their seed to sale tracking, as well as perform other daily functions that your average retailer would need. For this detailed and complicated task, there is simply too much risk of human error for dispensaries to not use a retail management solution. This is where we begin to see the cannabis market booming in the point of sale industry.

So, what can we predict for the future of cannabis retail?

In the recent U.S. election, California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada all passed measures legalizing recreational marijuana. While there are still tax and licensing provisions that will not take effect until January 2018, we can expect a major growth in legal marijuana sales, with California forecast to dominate the market. California, being the oldest medical cannabis state and the largest cannabis consumer population, is predicted to reach $7.6 billion in annual marijuana sales by 2020.

Similar to the online ordering trend among restaurant take-out and delivery services, we may be looking at the future of remote ordering for cannabis sales. California delivery startup, Eaze, has procured more than $25 million in multiple rounds of funding in the hopes of being the largest provider of on-demand cannabis delivery.

With the advances of technology and innovation in legal cannabis sales, Star Micronics is very excited to continue to provide support for this emerging market and see our partners grow along the way.

5 Reasons Retailers are Moving to Web-Based Applications for POS

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Web-based applications have changed the IT landscape because they require little upfront investment, update frequently, and businesses typically can use the hardware they already own. This affordable alternative to traditional, on-premises POS software keeps databases and information secure, with around-the-clock access from any location or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Although their applications apply to virtually all markets and industries, Web-based applications have had a particularly large impact on retail point of sale (POS). Consider these five reasons: Can your POS system do this?

1. Effortless Scheduling. A Web-based application means you can access back office functions from anywhere, anytime. This empowers managers to update schedules and view time off or vacation requests quickly and easily from any mobile device. Employees can view their work schedules and request time off through an easy-to-use interface, even when they aren’t in the store.

2. Easy Inventory Access. According to retail advisory firm IHL Group, inventory errors cost retailers $1.75 million every year. The number one reason these errors occur is because of internal process failures, which can be prevented by a Web-based application. Inventory is tracked in real time, instead of updating hourly or daily. Employees can easily see which items are on-hand, in-transit or on-order. This is especially important if you’re managing stock at multiple stores because it allows managers to place an order for all the stores from one location.

3. Order Online, Pick Up in Store. People are seeking out an omnichannel shopping experience so it’s no surprise that the “buy online, pick up in store” is becoming even more popular. It’s the perfect solution for people who want the instant gratification of getting their item the same day, while saving on shipping costs. Web-based application inventory management is updated in real time, so customers can see what’s in stock while they are shopping. It also allows them to select a different location if their item is out of stock, and have it shopped to the closest store for pickup.

4. Offsite Access. Traditional POS systems may require you to be on-site to work on back office functions or review reports, but a Web-based application lets business owners and managers access the system from anywhere with Internet access. Web-based applications store data in the cloud, so it’s open 24/7 for managers to run reports, schedule staff, and manage inventory from home while on a businesses trip, or late at night.

5. Save a Webpage (Like an App) to a Mobile Device Home Screen. Business owners and managers can save a shortcut to their Web portal – like an app – right to their smartphone or tablet so they can log in with just a few clicks. This technology, which brings their entire operation right to their fingertips, is compatible with iPhone® and Android™ OS platforms. Customers can also take advantage of your store’s Web-based application for easy, one-click ordering (if available). Having your store’s webpage available on a customer’s home screen will help ensure your store will always be their first stop.

Increasingly, retailers are opting for Web-based applications due to their ease of use, the expanded capabilities they offer, and the enhanced customer experiences they can help provide. Web-based applications are an affordable alternative to legacy POS systems that can help move your business toward greater efficiency and competitiveness.

4 Reasons to Use Bluetooth Technology in Restaurants

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In the restaurant business, one of the most important things to do is to keep your customers satisfied. One can do this by making sure their customers are receiving the correct order and in a timely fashion, but by also making sure that their staff is equipped with the technology to provide customers with a unique and satisfying experience. By enabling Bluetooth point of sale technology, restaurant owners can take their customer experience to the next level by creating a smoother workflow for employees, and a convenient way for customers to order and pay. Here are the top four benefits of using Bluetooth POS technology in your restaurant.

1. Simple Set-up

One of the biggest benefits of using Bluetooth point of sale technology in your restaurant is the simple set up. With Bluetooth enabled receipt printers, users can eliminate the need for messy cables, and simply pair their tablet or mobile device with the Bluetooth printer to easily print kitchen orders or receipts. Another benefit of wireless Bluetooth over WiFi connectivity for your point of sale is that you no longer have to worry about outages due to network connection issues.

2. Table-side Service

By pairing a tablet or mobile device with your receipt or kitchen printer, this allows for servers to take customer orders right there at the table and send the orders directly to the printer. Restaurant owners and managers no longer need to worry about the server forgetting to enter the order after taking it, because it is all being done in real-time. Additionally, Bluetooth POS technology allows restaurants to equip each table with their own tablet device, so customers can sit down and order as they please without needed to wait for their server in a busy restaurant.

3. Improve Order Accuracy

By enabling table-side service in your restaurant, you are ensuring improved order accuracy. As the server is taking the customer’s order, they can simultaneously send the order through the point of sale system to the kitchen for preparation. This means that there will be less miscommunication between the customer and the server, and between the server and the kitchen staff. There is less chance of there being missing item from the order or having an order placed incorrectly. The server can also remember to upsell add-ons or suggest a new item, because the full menu is right there in front of them as they enter the customer’s order. This not only improves customer satisfaction, but can result in an increase in revenue for the restaurant owner.

4. Pay at the Table Capability

When providing the convenience of table-side ordering to your restaurant guests, it is important to compliment that with table-side payment capability. Ordering and paying for food either online or through a mobile application is quickly gaining popularity, and consumers are now looking for this same convenience when dining out. With pay at the table capability, customers can simply swipe their card and receive their receipt right at the table, or pay through a mobile app offered through the restaurant without having to wait for the server to bring the check, return to collect the payment, and then print the receipt. Again, allowing customers to pay at their own convenience will help to increase customer satisfaction and allow restaurants to get more tables in and out more quickly, resulting in a reduced wait time and increase in revenue.

Sabor POS and Star Micronics provide a point of sale solution for restaurants that utilizes Bluetooth technology in order to guarantee total workflow efficiency and an increase in customer satisfaction. Learn more about Sabor POS and their support for Star’s TSP100IIIBi, TSP650II BTi, and SP700 BTi printers, and the all-in-one mPOP™ peripheral for restaurants.

Download our success story here: Star_Castrillo_Case-Study

Star Spotlight with Shift4

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What does Shift4 do?

Shift4, the first card-present payment gateway and the largest independent payment gateway in North America, is now launching their mobile point of sale system. Shift4 decided to take a different appraoch in building their mPOS solution and wanted to put a focus on the enterprise market. Shift4 offers specific solutions to hospitality, retail, food and beverage, eCommerce, and most other industries which are scalable from a single store to an international enterprise with franchise and company-owned locations.

How is Shift4 working with Star Micronics?

Shift4 is a software-as-a-service provider that was seeking the perfect hardware to compliment their solution. They decided to go with Star Micronics base on their reliable and advanced printer models. Shift4 has integrated throughout Star’s entire line of point of sale peripherals including desktop thermal and impact printers, portable printers, and the all-in-one mPOP™ peripheral. Shift4 currently supports Star Micronics’ SM-S220i, SM-S230i, and SM-T300i portable printers, the TSP650II BTi and WebPRNT thermal printer, the SP700 impact kitchen printer, and the mPOP™.

What key benefits does the mPOP™ bring to Shift4 customers?

Shift4 values customer communication and keeps in close contact to make sure that all of their customers are satisfied with their solution. The mPOP offers a compact solution that can work with any mobile device. Having the printer and cash drawer combined into one peripheral is a huge benefit in the mPOS space, and it is simple to operate.

“In mobile point of sale, it’s important to have a solution that is versatile and doesn’t take up a lot of space. The mPOP combines the cash drawer and receipt printer into one compact form factor that it perfect for mPOS needs.” – Jeremy Fried, System Architect at Shift4.

 

Star Spotlight with Vend

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What does Vend do?

Vend is America’s leading retail POS software, inventory management, ecommerce & customer loyalty platform for iPad®, Mac, and PC. Vend has customers in over 150 countries and prides itself on providing seamless point of sale solutions for retail, food and beverage, coffee shops, and more. Vend’s ecommerce and sales operations features make it easy for retailers to provide the perfect shopping experience for any customer whether in-store or online.

How is Vend working with Star Micronics?

Vend works with Star Micronics’ printer peripherals to bundle a sleek, yet reliable point of sale solution for any retailer. With certified support for Star’s TSP100 and TSP650IIBTi desktop printers, SM-S220i portable printer, and all-in-one mPOP™ peripheral, Vend offers solutions for large or small retail environments. Vend has also recently added support for Star Cloud Services’ free digital receipt solution and customer engagement tools. Star Cloud Services, along with Star’s AllReceipts™ digital receipt app, allows retailers to offer their shoppers the option to claim a digital copy of their receipt and gives them the ability to later engage with their customers through the app.

How is Vend working with the new Micro Receipt?

Star Cloud Services recently released a new feature called the Micro Receipt. The Micro Receipt allows retailers to print only the AllReceipts QR code on the paper receipt, saving up to 80% on paper compared to the original. While only the QR code and optional store name and time stamp will appear on the paper receipt, once scanned within the AllReceipts app, the customer will have gained access to the full, itemized receipt in the app. Vend is the first to integrate the new Micro Receipt, allowing their retailers to get a longer lifecycle out of every Star Micronics printer.

“We think there is great potential to introduce this new solution, specifically the Micro Receipt, to our customers,” says PE Perruchot de la Bussiere, General Manager of Channel and Business Development for Vend. “With this innovative solution, we will be able to work with resellers and find new customers together.”

Star Spotlight with Appetize

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What does Appetize do?

Appetize is a modern enterprise point of sale platform that is specific for sports and entertainment, education, and professional industries. Designed from the bottom up with multi-site and multi-business units in mind, Appetize is deployed in over 15,000 business units with the most complex setups. Offered with a full site of features, Appetize offers a simple solution for mobile ordering and accepts payment methods of cash, credit, EMV, NFC, Apple Pay, RFID, Bluetooth, and many more.

How is Appetize working with Star Micronics?

Appetize works with Star Micronics’ printer peripherals including the TSP650IIBTi desktop receipt printer and the SM-S230i portable receipt printer. Appetize has Star printers in nearly all of their enterprise locations. To name a few, Appetize and Star provide POS solutions for the Golden 1 Center (home of the Sacramento Kings), U.S. Bank Stadium (home of the Minnesota Vikings), over 40 Live Nation properties, and many more.

How has Appetize teamed up with Star and Elo?

Appetize is also bundling their point of sale solution and Star peripherals with the Elo I-Series. This bundle appears mostly in bar, concession, and restaurant environments where hardwired functionality is needed.

The Appetize, Star, and Elo bundle provides a simple, fully integrated POS that includes a touch screen monitor for Android. This solution, with the I-Series flip-stand, can transform into a fully functional self-service kiosk, or used as a traditional point of sale system.

“We work with Star because it combines the best of modern and enterprise on the hardware side,” says Kevin Anderson, Chief Strategy Officer at Appetize. “When it comes to printers and the types of environments that Appetize is typically in, which is high pressure and high volume, we need a hardware that is reliable”

Star Cloud Services Introduces the Micro Receipt

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Star Cloud Services (SCS) is proud to introduce the Micro Receipt service, available to use with the AllReceipts™ or Itemize app.

What is the Micro Receipt?

The Micro Receipt is a printed 2D barcode (QR code) paper receipt. This QR code can be scanned by any smart phone using the AllReceipts or Itemize app to claim a digital copy of the full length, itemized receipt. The Micro Receipt allows retailers to create a reduced paper receipt, printing only the store name, time stamp, and the AllReceipts QR code.

Who can use the Micro Receipt?

The Micro Receipt is an additional service offered by Star Cloud Services. Star Cloud Services is free to install for any retailer using a Star Micronics thermal receSCS certifiedipt printer. SCS can either be easily downloaded with the Star futurePRNT Windows driver or integrated with the StarPRNT SDK for iOS and Android. In addition to the Micro Receipt, Star Cloud Services offers a full suite of digital receipting and customer engagement tools.

Star has made it easy for retailers to know which point of sale software has certified Star Cloud Services. Simply look for the “Star Cloud Services Certified” logo on any POS software page or on the Star Micronics Software Partners page.

Benefits for the retailer

Retailers are now looking for an eco-friendly and simple alternative to offering lengthy paper receipts. The Micro Receipt allows retailers to reduce the paper size of the receipt up to 80% from its original length. With the Micro Receipt, retailers can actually include more information on the receipt while saving on paper! In addition to the transaction information, SCS allows retailers to utilize the back of the digital receipt with its Receipt Flip service. Receipt Flip enables users to include coupons, promotions, terms and conditions, and more on the back side of the digital receipt. Once the receipt is scanned in the AllReceipts app, the shopper can use the Flip feature to access these promotions or conditions.

Retailers can now include store information, coupons, promotions, terms and conditions, bar codes, and more, all while saving on paper!

Benefits for the shopper

People are beginning to be less accepting of lengthy paper receipts. It’s no secret that long paper receipts can be obnoxious and inconvenient for the shoppers. Often times, shoppers are opting to received email receipts as opposed to the standard paper receipt. The only problem with email receipts is that they are not anonymous. Once a retailer has your email address to send a paper receipt, they can then access more of your personal information, or spam your inbox with unwanted emails.

Star Cloud Services digital receipts are 100% anonymous for the shopper, and the AllReceipts digital receipt app doesn’t require users to give any personal information upon download. With the customer engagement tools such as Receipt Flip and Engage Now, customers can choose when they want to engage with the retailer, rather than being bombarded with emails.

In addition, users only need to scan their receipt once in the AllReceipts app, and the receipt is kept as a digital copy forever. You never have to worry about misplacing or accidentally throwing away a receipt! On the flip side, if the shopper does need to hold on to the paper receipt, the Micro Receipt takes up significantly less space in they shopper’s purse or wallet due to its vastly reduced paper size.

Learn more about the benefits of the Micro Receipt at www.starmicronics.com/star-micronics-cloud/micro_receipt or www.starcloudservices.com.

Star Spotlight with iVend Retail

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What does iVend Retail do?

CitiXSys develops technology and omnichannel retail solutions with the iVend Retail suite. The solution consists of about seven modules that has the terminal POS, mobile POS, e-commerice, loyalty, and more, all in one solution that works right out of the box. iVend Retail is designed to address the challenges faced by omnichannel retailers today.

How is iVend Retail working with Star Micronics?

iVend Retail certified Star Micronics’ mPOP™, combination cash drawer and receipt printer peripheral, in order to provide their retailers with a compact, sleek, and attractive contemporary offering. Star’s mPOP has been integrated with iVend Retail’s terminal POS and mPOS solution to deliver their customers an all-in-one, out of the box offering with a hardware component. The mPOP and iVend Retail solution has been hugely popular within the footwear and apparel retail industry due to the mPOP’s sleek look, and it’s ability to compliment the retailer’s image and brand.

What key benefits and features is the mPOP bringing to iVend Retail customers?

CitiXSys has recent released iVend 6.5 with the new POS designer. This solution allows the retailer to take advantage of the slick, mPOP device and tailer the point of sale screen to match. The mPOP and iVend solution also offers a highly functional and reliable solution for the retailer that requires no technical knowledge to operate.

“The main attraction of the mPOP to our customers is that it gives a sleek, compact look in the store,” says Paula DiSilva, VP of Sales for Asia Pacific for CitiXSys. “They’re looking for a larger footprint in brick and mortar stores and need something that will blend in nicely with their brand.”

 

5 Reasons Retailers Want Ergonomic mPOS Solutions in 2017

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Mobile point of sale (mPOS) solutions have ranked on retailers’ list of “nice to have” technologies since their introduction several years ago. However, for most merchants, mPOS solutions are “must-haves” for 2017. Here’s why.

1. Convenience. Customers are no longer willing to stand in long lines to complete sales transactions. They want options that allow them to pay for their items quickly, and that allow them to pay from locations other than the stationary checkout lane. With mPOS solutions, retailers can accept payments in store aisles, at temporary checkout stations on the sales floor and, in the case of sidewalk sales, in front of the store itself. Additionally, retailers that sell merchandise in other environments, such as craft shows or farmer’s markets, can securely process credit card payments when mPOS solutions are in their technology toolbox.

2. Access to Information. Increasingly, consumers are using their smartphone while shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. According to a recent survey by mobile loyalty firm SessionM, 90 percent of respondents said they research products on their smartphones; 54 percent search for price comparisons; 48 percent search for product information; and 42 percent check reviews online. Equipping sales associates with mPOS devices allows store employees to access the same product information as shoppers, and it allows them to engage shoppers at the point of decision.

3. Endless aisle capability. Today’s consumers want what they want, when they want it – and if it’s not available at your store, shoppers will turn to your competitors to get it. mPOS solutions can prevent this from happening by providing endless aisle capability. Endless aisle capability allows customers to access an establishment’s e-commerce store, find the item that is out of stock in the current brick-and-mortar location and order immediately. Customers can shop endless aisles and arrange for the item to be delivered or picked up at the store, thanks to mPOS.

4. Space saving. Traditional POS technology occupies a lot of room on retail counters; the bulkier the equipment, the more difficult it is for store employees to operate in tight spaces. Bulky tech equipment is also less aesthetically pleasing. By contrast, ergonomic mPOS solutions have a small footprint and a sleek appearance, as well as require only minimal counter space. This paves the way for a more attractive store, with more room on the counters to display merchandise.

5. Support for a top-notch customer experience. Retail in 2017 is all about providing customers with the first-class customer experience they have come to expect and demand. mPOS solutions contribute heavily to that experience by allowing retailers to offer efficient customer service, payment flexibility, access to the widest possible range of merchandise, and a higher level of customer engagement.

mPOP your way 3When you plan for a new mPOS, a complete retail solution is more than a tablet. Easy-to-integrate peripheral components, such as a 1D or 2D barcode scanner, receipt printers, scales, customer displays, and cash drawers, are vital to the retailer’s mPOS success. Star Micronics’ mPOP™, Mobile Point of Purchase, is the first “hybrid for tablet” POS and is an ideal solution for tablet and mobile device-based POS. It affords the above-mentioned benefits and so much more. To learn about mPOP™ and other POS options from Star Micronics, visit www.starmicronics.com.

 

 

Download the our eBook: 5 Ways Ergonomic mPOS Solutions for Large Retailers Increase Sales and Boost Customer Satisfaction

5 Benefits of Liquor Store Point of Sale Systems

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With over 42,000 liquor stores across the U.S., liquor store owners are constantly faced with finding new ways to stay ahead of the game. This can be as simple as upgrading to a point of sale system in place of an old and bulky cash register. Installing a POS system in your liquor store will not only open up opportunities for creating customer loyalty, but it can help with the overall management of your business. Here are the 5 of the biggest benefits that a POS system can bring to your liquor store business:

1. Simple Transactions

With an easy-to-use POS system, liquor store owners and operators can simply enter pricing based on single, multi-pack, and cases to automatically ring up the customer’s order without manually entering pricing. This also allows employees to automatically include discounts or coupons based on items sold, or the category of items. For non-scannable items, users can create fast, preset pick keys to ring up popular items.

2. Inventory Management

Point of sale systems allow liquor store employees to use inventory management features on single or multi-store locations, and provides multiple methods for adding, adjusting, and counting inventory. Print barcode labels when receiving new inventory, and let the POS track sales when scanning or entering items for check-out so you know when you begin to run low on specific items.

3. Employee Scheduling

Easily use your POS system to track employee’s clock-in and clock-out times, and track sales by department, store, and various date/time ranges. Store owners can use this information to conclude which employees are selling the most products, and which employees need further training. This information can also be used to track when your store is getting the most traffic so you can schedule an extra cashier for those times, and keep the lines moving.

4. Manage Reports

With a fully integrated point of sale, liquor store owners can easily run reports to monitor discounts and refunds, and track sales by item, brand, type, or date/time purchased. Store management can also gain instant access to inventory reports from any browser that includes current sales and inventory, or reorder reports to maintain static or dynamic levels of stock.

5. Customer Loyalty

By using a point of sale system in your liquor store, you now have the ability to capture important customer data and purchase history information. Many POS systems include automated VIP club pricing to help reward frequent customers, and offer a CRM to track customer buying history, and to target marketing efforts.retailcloud Additionally, digital receipts open another way to engage with customers through the point of sale. By adopting a digital receipt app for your customers to use, store owners can now offer their customers tailored discounts and promotions through the receipt itself. Learn how to start offering your customers digital receipts with Star printers. at www.starcloudservices.com.

Make your POS more than just a place for customers to complete a transaction, but a tool to crease a smoother workflow for your business, and an opportunity to engage with customers, and create customer loyalty.

Learn more about retailcloud’s POS for liquor stores at www.retailcloud.com.