Today, retailers have the choice of a traditional POS terminal or new and innovative tablet POS which has taken great strides in recent years to provide the flexibility and mobility increasingly required within retail environments. However, it has been hindered by concern for communication and connectivity issues with cable-free communication being affected by certain obstacles, such as brick walls.
Retail technology has to operate in often very diverse and challenging environments. As a result, the more traditional cabled POS terminal has been the preferred option resulting in more expensive installations. This situation is further compounded by the fact that tablet POS receipt printers need network connections and cabling for reliable printer connection and tablet charging when cable-free communication is not considered suitable.
Faced with these issues, multisite operators have been reticent to take advantage of the flexibility and cost-savings associated with mobile tablet POS. Blanket decisions could not be taken across estates in terms of POS solutions with each venue having to be tailored according to the location, type of venue and volume of transactions. Managing an estate of multiple tablets and paired Bluetooth devices means that it can be operationally difficult to maintain the right connection between the right peripherals and devices.
However, the undeniable advantages of a tablet POS terminal are too attractive to ignore:
- Lower cost hardware
- Lower cost software
- Use of consumer devices meaning less training and a familiarity for employees
- Compact footprint combined with lower costs will allow for a higher number of POS stations with shorter transaction times
- Modern, stylish hardware design for today’s retailers
- All the known advantages of mobile POS Cloud–based software
- Mobility to carry out the transaction/order
- The ability for customers to use their own devices
- Pre-order on retailers’ apps possible
So how can retailers successfully combine the advantages of tablet POS with the reliability of cabled POS terminals?
Star Micronics has always led where others have followed when it comes to mobile tablet POS, partnering in 2009 with Square who famously started the move in the US towards greater flexible card payment technology with credit card payment simplification. Since then, Star has pioneered change within the POS printing industry partnering with undoubtedly the largest selection of tablet POS software houses and integrators today.
It goes without saying that in recent years, software houses and retailers of all sizes have increasingly veered towards Apple iOS POS solutions due principally to aesthetic and perceived quality / ‘Apple solutions just work’ mentality. With this in mind, Star has introduced the new TSP143IIIU with a unique key feature – the printer can communicate and charge simultaneously and directly with an iPad or iPhone.
As well as working with a traditional POS terminal, the Star TSP143IIIU USB printer can connect directly to an iPad or iPhone using the Apple–supplied lightning cable for reliable USB communication as opposed to previous iOS wireless-only technologies. As a result, the usual Bluetooth or WiFi / wired LAN setup issues around pairing, network infrastructure, connectivity, etc., are eliminated from a hardware perspective. No other stand-alone POS printer can achieve this today.
Simplicity itself, the iPad / iPhone can talk directly to the printer just as a USB printer talks to a traditional terminal, providing retailers with the reliability required in high volume transactions or environments where wireless communication is difficult. This unique printer will now allow multisite operators to make blanket decisions across their estates by successfully combining the flexibility of tablet POS with the reliability of cabled POS terminals.
The key benefits of the POS Terminal printer are:
- The option for a (mobile) tablet to be used as a fixed countertop solution
- Zero setup costs – literally plug-in & print with only 1 mains cable required
- The retailer’s choice of operating systems is now complete with Apple iOS being as practical as Windows or Android
- No extra cable is required, as the iPad / iPhone lightning cable for charging and for handling data can be used
- Retailers can experience a reduction in hardware costs given that a USB printer is less costly than a LAN, WiFi or Bluetooth printer and tablets are lower cost than traditional POS terminals
- Tablet charging issues are avoided with Star’s TSP143IIIU providing 2.4A
- Lower operating costs thanks to more stations with ensured printer connection stability
- Connection to a cash drawer as standard
- Works with most software solutions but it is advisable to check with your software provider.
Star’s success with a large number of software houses has been achieved by its attention to detail regarding SDKs and documentation, enabling easy integration. Our experience is that many software solutions already work with the TSP143IIIU whilst others can easily integrate with the new SDK, knowing that it covers all products in the renowned TSP100 range.
The TSP100 series will remain the principal tablet POS printer series of choice due to its vast connectivity models including Bluetooth and WLAN, while the TSP143IIIU features as the only USB printer on the market today that can communicate directly with Apple devices. Supported operating systems, as well as iOS, include Windows, MAC, Android and Linux.