The introduction of new-generation mobile payment systems of the likes of Square in the US, and its European counterparts iZettle and Payleven, which turn smartphones and tablets into credit card processing systems, is changing the business environment and creating demand for a new generation of mobile and wireless receipt printers.
These new types of mPOS systems should not be confused with old-style mobile POS terminals that have an inbuilt printer and which are still widely used for example by many restaurants.
New mobile POS (mPOS) systems such as Square can also send customers receipts by email, although this may not always be the most practical solution for every business or sales environment. Mobile receipt printers are the solution that allow businesses to take full advantage of the mobility of new generation mPOS systems.
Advantages of mobile receipt printers
Mobile POS systems like Square and iZettle are changing the way businesses think about point of sale systems. Even established retailers and businesses can take advantage of mPOS systems connected to a wireless printer and rethink the point of sale part of the sales process.
For example, large retailers or stores could have additional low-cost mobile points of sale to either help with peak demand or to provide additional or multiple queues. The ability to use a mobile printer and mPOS system also allows business owners or store owners to rethink the optimal use of space and positioning of the point of sale in general.
Wireless POS printers are also helping new types of businesses and opening up new areas, since armed with your mPOS device and a mobile receipt printer, you can literally make a sale or provide a service anywhere you can get a data connection, such as at fairs, conventions, and on the move or even outdoors.
How do wireless printers work?
There are two main types of printers: inkjet and direct thermal printers. Direct thermal printing is where an image is printed on special thermal paper as it passes over the thermal print head, which turns the paper black, producing the image. Inkjet printers create an image by spraying the ink onto the paper to create the image. The majority of smaller portable mobile receipt printers operate using direct thermal printing.
What mobile printers are available?
As is to be expected in the fast-changing technological environment, there are a range of mobile receipt printers available on the market thanks to the innovative work of a couple of companies that specialize in manufacturing portable mobile printers.
Star Micronics, a global company with its roots in Japan, and Zebra Technologies another global company specializing in printing devices, such as RFID printers, both produce a range of mobile printers, catering to different needs and requirements. The smallest devices print a 2-inch receipt and can fit in your pocket: SM-S220i (Star Micronics) or the EM 220 (from Zebra).
These types of receipt printers need to be lightweight and reliable despite their small size, especially since they may also be used outdoors. For example, the SM-S220i has a battery life of eight hours (with a printing interval of 5 minutes).