A few years ago, it never would have occurred to me that I would need to print anything from my phone. I still don’t need to print from my phone, but the idea that I might someday need to no longer seems quite so far-fetched. Besides, I don’t run a business—just because I have no need for an iOS compatible Blueprinter doesn’t mean you don’t. In fact, if you’re implementing mobile POS technology in your business, there’s a very good chance that you do need such a printer.
We’re at an interesting point in POS development, a point at which commerce is becoming increasingly digitalized, but paper trails are not yet obsolete—if indeed paper trails will ever become truly obsolete. A patron at a restaurant where servers can run credit cards tableside with their handhelds may still expect a receipt, for example. How is a technologically savvy business owner to deal with such expectations? With an iOS compatible Bluetooth printer, of course. And it’s not only about customer expectation—it’s also about practicality and flexibility. Giving retail or hospitality employees the ability to print receipts easily and quickly from anywhere in the store or restaurant can cut waiting times and improve the experience for everyone involved.
So we agree, printers that can be accessed via a POS-enabled smartphone or iPad are a great idea. But where do you get one? You have a few options, some of which come from Star Micronics—or will be coming from Star Micronics very soon. At the end of this month, they will begin offering the SM-T300i, an iOS compatible Bluetooth portable printer that offers three-inch printing. As of early next quarter, they will also offer the four-inch printing SM-T400i.
The SM-T300i is ideal for the retail and hospitality industries, allowing servers and clerks to print standard-sized receipts. The SM-T400i has an intriguing intended application—law enforcement. According to Star Micronics, the four-inch receipt format is ideal for issuing e-citations. Given the flexibility of the technology and the ingenuity of business owners, I’m sure it will be found to have utility that ranges far beyond law enforcement as well. The SM-T300i and SM-T400i share a “rugged and water-resistant design coupled with long battery life.” Slightly less rugged is the SM-T200i, Star Micronic’s first portable Bluetooth printer to be certified for use with Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. An important note: Bluetooth capabilities mean that while these printers work with Apple products, they don’t only work with Apple products. They are all also compatible with other operating systems, including Windows and Android. For business owners who need to be able to print from smartphones and tablets, but don’t necessarily need or want to wear a printer on their belt, Star Micronics will also offer the TSP650II BTi, a desktop Bluetooth printer that is also certified for use with iPhones and iPads.
Star Micronics is far from the only company offering iOS compatible Bluetooth printing solutions. For example, Epson offers the Mobilink series of wireless receipt, label and barcode printers. Bixolon offers mobile printers that print in two-inch, three-inch and four-inch formats. And there are others. As always, do your research before committing to any particular POS solution. What are the printing needs of your particular business, and which product best fits those needs? Be especially careful to check compatibility and make sure that the printer is certified to work with your POS operating system.
I don’t sell sandwiches or lawn care services from my smartphone. I have no need to process credit cards while standing tableside or walking through a warehouse. I certainly don’t issue citations—at least not officially. I have absolutely no need for a mobile printer. And yet, I just might consider getting one. Why? Clearly you haven’t clicked the above links yet—in addition to being supremely useful, these printers are adorable!
Written by Alex Mehler
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