Better Printing Options

In today's high-demand retail economy, the ability to deliver good customer service has never been more important. A noisy, slow printer can disrupt customer interactions at the point-of-sale (POS). Forward-thinking retailers are looking to thermal and hybrid printers to offer consumers a rapid and effective POS experience.

According to IHL Consulting, the printer market has increased by eight percent in 2005, driven by hybrid and thermal receipt printers. Thermal printers are designed to enable retailers to include high-quality bar code data directly on receipts, which expedites and simplifies merchandise return processes. These printers also assist in building brand identity through logos or creating other print enhancements that draw the customer's attention. Some thermal printers also have the ability to group similar items on the printed output, regardless of the order in which the items were scanned during the transaction process, creating a more readable receipt.

Retailers large and small are realizing the advantages of the latest printers. Zagara's Marketplace, a family-owned grocer, is taking advantage of NCR's RealPOS receipt thermal printers. Zagara's recently implemented a 15-lane POS system that will handle customer service, front-end checkout, including express lanes and transactions at the deli, café and liquor store. Software includes NCR Advanced Checkout Solution (ACS), and hardware includes NCR RealPOS 80c terminals with the NCR DynaKey cashier interface, NCR RealScan scanners and NCR RealPOS thermal receipt printers. "NCR has provided us with a solution that is flexible, highly dependable and streamlines our transaction processing," says John Zagara, owner of Zagara's.

The appeal of the electronic check and check conversion (in terms of providing retailers with faster access to funds while reducing the risk of fraudulent transactions), coupled with the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (Check 21), has created a wider acceptance for hybrid receipt printers. These printers utilize direct thermal technology to generate receipts and impact technology for the check acceptance function.
In addition, The RIS News and IHL Consulting 2006 Store Systems Study found that 55 percent of food/grocery and mass merchants/warehouse clubs are planning to implement check imaging in upcoming months. Goodwill Industries, for one, has selected the Epson TM-H6000II multifunction printer with TransScan digital check imaging and PC America's Cash Register Express software as part of a 100-store, 300-register rollout. The rollout began with Goodwill's flagship division in April 2005 and will continue rolling out to four other Goodwill divisions throughout 2006.
Retailers also are taking notice of better graphics and additional functions offered by new inkjet receipt printers. With these new tools, retailers can print coupons and logos on receipts with graphics stored in the printer's memory. The challenge with these new printers is to print quickly and cost-effectively.
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