The Green Sheet Online Edition
February 09, 2009 • Issue 09:02:01
A mobile printer for the payments jungle
During every interaction mobile merchants have with potential customers, they are being judged. When making sales, door-to-door salespeople's appearance and manner is as important as the products they sell.
Great sales pitches and killer products are likely undermined by crumpled shirts and bad haircuts. The same applies to the POS devices mobile merchants use to accept payments in the field.
Demonstrating professionalism with sleek new terminals is a no-brainer. But what about portable receipt printers? Many customers expect receipts at the POS to verify that purchases are correct; it seems paramount that portable printers also be compact, well-designed and reliable.
Zebra Technologies Corp. touts its new Economy Mobile 220 (EM 220) as having just those qualities. The EM 220 is a lightweight, pocket-sized, thermal receipt mobile printer with one-touch media loading, integrated card reader and light emitting diode screen. Zebra considers it an entry-level, low-cost device ideal for micromerchants and field service workers.
According to Luis Rosales, Senior Product Manager at Zebra, the company is targeting three vertical markets with the EM 220: retail, government and the mobile workforce.
In retail, the EM 220 is designed for line-busting applications such as table-side payments for restaurants, event sales, and parking and rental car businesses. Government applications include citations, fines, and meter and
As for the mobile workforce, Rosales heard from businesses that they didn't need the more rugged and complex mobile receipt printers that Zebra sells. What they needed was a printer that was small and light, "especially for people who have to carry the device for long periods of time," Rosales said.
"And especially for customer facing applications where the printer has to look small and nice and neat, not like a big industrial device."
Field service workers such as roofers, plumbers and water heater repairmen could use the receipt printer for proof of delivery or payment on delivery applications. "For example, somebody who is repairing or installing something in the household where they can take a payment right there or leave a receipt for proof of service," Rosales said.
Two for one
Rosales believes the two-piece, mobile solution is superior to the one-piece payment terminals that integrate receipt printers into POS devices.
"If you drop the hand-held and you break it, you still have the printer and you can replace the hand-held easily and continue," Rosales said. "If you have a one piece device like a payment terminal ... if the device breaks, you are out of the printer as well."
The EM 220 is compatible with handheld terminals, such as those supplied by Motorola Inc., that run on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Mobile operating system. But Rosales said Zebra provides a software development kit to assist companies in producing applications to configure payment terminals to function with Zebra's printers.
Zebra Technologies Corp.
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