Merchants’ awareness of how mobile printing can contribute to an enhanced customer experience is increasing. Barbara Bruning, senior major account manager with Brother Mobile Solutions, says it’s time for retail IT VARs to look ahead to 2016 and 2017 when more merchants will follow early adopters of true mobile receipt and label printing, and to offer solutions with features they need now and options to add capabilities as their businesses grow and change.
Bruning recently demonstrated the RJ 3150, from its Rugged Jet series, for Business Solutions. Brother introduced the printer with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatibility and has since added AirPrint, which gives Apple and Brother users the ability to print directly from a Mac or iOS device.
“From a channel perspective, this meets a lot of needs,” Bruning said. Small businesses may first use Bluetooth to deploy mobile devices, but later want to upgrade to wireless. She says it can benefit VARs to look for devices with connectivity options built in.
Brother has also built options into its TD-2000 series of desktop thermal printers. The base of the printer is small and mobile; users can choose to add a battery or touch panel and display. “As your customers’ requirements change, you can add to it,” Bruning explained. It can be used as a standalone unit; data can be stored in the printer so it doesn’t have to be connected to a PC.
One application for the printer is a grocer that offers buy online, pick up in store. The associate preparing the order can enter the customer’s name and how many packages are in the order, and the printer can print labels that clearly show the customer — and the associate — it is the proper order and it is complete.
She adds that the TD-2120 in the series can print at 300 dpi, which allows for small characters, foreign characters, or jewelry labels — more options for VARs to offer to their customers.
When selling mobile printers, Bruning advises talking with your customer to understand how they intend to use the printer and how they could use it in the future, and then use this to help them select the solution that’s right for them. “It protects the investment for the customer,” she commented.