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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.
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.
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 our eBook: How Printer Software Technology is Evolving to Accommodate mPOS
Brianna Moriarty is the Partner Development Manager at Star Micronics where she works with channel-partners to grow their business and develop new markets. Brianna has a background in marketing and uses this to help VARs and ISVs to establish a go-to-market strategy and create co-marketing campaigns. She enjoys following the latest social media marketing trends and creating content for retailers and SMBs.