Why Print Thermal?

Thermal printing is a digital printing process that produces a printed image by selectively heating coated thermochromic paper when the paper passes over the thermal print head. Meaning that when this special chemically treated paper is used and heat is applied, an image or text appears through the change of color on the paper! There are two different types of thermal printing: thermal transfer and direct thermal.

Thermal transfer printers are most often used to create labels, mainly for clothing, and barcodes because of it’s durability and speed of the images it creates and can particularly aid in the prevention of water damage. Direct thermal printing are primarily used in industrial settings because of its fast speed. A major advantage for a direct thermal printer is that the only item that needs to be replaced is the paper that is used. Even though this type of paper may be expensive, there is no requirement to purchase or store ink, and it is the only item that requires replacing in order to keep the printer running smoothly.

Overall, thermal printers are known for their high printing speeds and are very suitable for busy businesses. Because the machine is fairly simple, it rarely needs repairing and is very reliable. Due to recent technological advances, images can last for periods of 50 years or more as opposed to the distorted and faded pictures of the past. These printers also typically cost less than other printers and are generally smaller in size. Many thermal printers can sit on a desk top and take up minimal space, as well as remain quiet while functioning because they contain little or no moving parts.

To view thermal printers that Beagle Hardware offers, please visit http://www.beaglehardware.com/printers.html.

The Basics of Buying a POS System

So you just opened up a new company. Or let’s say you want to revamp the style your company has already established. What allows your business to function and run? Your point of sale system, of course! That is why it is necessary to know the basics when purchasing this very important piece of equipment.

POS systems help keep inventory up to date and can even alert you when products need to be reordered. When that time comes, some systems can even tell you the price you paid on your last purchase, as well as the average price you’ve paid in the past. These systems help you keep a detailed inventory list for the past day, month, and year. Not only can they aid in the time-consuming task of taking inventory, but many systems can also help you connect better with your client by providing their purchase history on the spot. This will allow you to be able to suggest new or upgraded products for them to consider in the future.

There are three things you should look for when purchasing a new POS system: alert ability, ease of learning, and the ability to grow.  A nice feature that POS systems now offer is the ability to set alerts for items running low. Along with this, the system can even generate purchase orders to send to vendors. Secondly, you need to take into consideration the time of your employees and how long it will take them to get to know the system. It is important that the system has all of the functions that you need, but also the ease of learning, especially if your company’s turnover rate is short. Lastly, you’ll want a system that has the ability to stay up to date with technology and be able to grow with your company.

Here at Beagle Hardware, we’ve set up a Complete POS System that can take care of all of your needs! Our system includes a POS-X Touch-Monitor, a Dell Inspiron 3000 with Windows 8.1, an Epson TM-T2011 Receipt Printer, a stainless Cash Drawer, and all cables necessary to get started. All products are new with factory warranties. We also offer add on features such as uniCenta POS software, a credit card reader, a kitchen printer and much more to even further customize your order. For more details on each product, please visit http://www.beaglehardware.com/poscomplete.html.

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A New Fraud Concern with Apple Pay

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A big concern these days for anyone with a credit card, merchants and customers alike, is fraud. We no longer explicitly trust big name companies to have completely secure measures; however, it is assumed they have more than adequate measures. Apple’s release of Apple Pay seemed well-tested, but the unusually high fraud rates that have recently come to light tell a different story.

When Apple Pay first came out, numerous banks and credit card companies were excited and eager to be in Apple’s list of chosen companies. Apple’s strategy to stay simple and clear-cut left the company neglecting to include many customer details upon signing up for the mobile program. The verification of phone numbers and addresses were not something Apple Pay required, and this is shocking considering the amount of fraud that could occur without these. Online companies, such as ourselves, know that requiring the customer’s address can catch fraud before it occurs due to time sensitivity and faulty addresses. Faulty addresses are caught in the payment process, and it normally takes a few days it takes to ship packages, so there is more time to catch thieves. However, in the case of Apple Pay, they only required basic credit card information from a user. According to a New York Times article, an industry consultant named Cherian Abraham put Apple Pay’s fraud rate at an alarming 6 percent. In comparison, a normal credit card fraud rate is at 10 cents for every $100 spent. That’s 60 times the average credit card fraud rate.

In addition, the New York Times article stated that banks are also to blame because of their silence and lack of further precautionary measures and fraud defenses. Many banks and establishments trusted that Apple Pay would be aware of any fraud issues, and they also wanted to remain in good graces with Apple. Efforts to direct flagged credit cards were flawed because many banks directed callers to customer support centers rather than fraud prevention centers. The system to register credit cards has flaws, and neither the banks nor Apple are claiming failure.

Smart thieves can take advantage of this system by using stolen credit card numbers into iPhones and then using Apple Pay with those phones. Innovation is one thing, but when it becomes a hazard to security and an open invitation to fraud, Apple may need to reevaluate its security measures and demand stricter bank standards. They can begin to better prepare banks for Apple Pay and all the troubleshooting that accompanies a new kind of credit card.

According to PointofSale.com, since Apple Pay’s introduction, iPhone 6 customers have the option to use their mobile device to pay for goods and services at more than 220,000 Apple Pay partner merchants, which include retailers, financial institutions, restaurants, amusement parks and even vending machines. This staggering number of places leaves even more room for mistakes to occur, and all any customer needs is a smart phone and a bank account-real or fake. Gartner Research predicts that mobile payments will only continue to grow at a 35 percent growth rate until 2017, and this will bring 450 million global users. Those large numbers are going to bring Apple Pay’s security threats to an even brighter light, and the company should make sure they have lasting global fraud strategies in place. The technology has gotten easier to implement, to use, and to hack.

How can merchants and customers who want to be innovative and use Apple Pay keep their credit cards safe from fraud? A website called MainStreet.com, listed a few options to help protect customers using Apple Pay. First, research good banks before you choose one, and find a bank that has progressed with EMV chips and other new technologies. Look into their security measures and make sure they have the proper steps needed to deal with any fraud. Another two strategies are to set up transaction alerts and sign up for card and transaction monitoring services. These will help you notice any abnormalities that occur on your card or any large purchases that you don’t recognize. You should also stay on top of new cards, and get your card enrolled in Apple Pay. Any additional enrolled cards on Apple Pay will then trigger red flags for fraud. Lastly, it is important to pay attention to your credit card statements and assume you are not exempt from having your card stolen. With recent credit card breeches, the best way to protect yourself is by being proactive and careful.

 

Profile on Stage Neck Inn

Night-front-of-inn-thThis beautiful, family owned and operated, boutique resort is located on Maine’s beach front in York Harbor. We talked with Peter Foster, who is part of the family ownership and works daily at the Stage Neck Inn to learn more about their inn and how they use Beagle’s printers.

When was your business founded, and how many employees do you have?Peter from Stage Neck Inn

“The Stage Neck Inn is the fourth hotel that has sat on this peninsula of land. At least three generations of old hotels have sat here; two hotels burned down and one was torn down. The Grand Old Hotels of the past that sat on the property had up to 300 rooms. Back then air conditioning did not exist, so in the heat of the summers the wealthy people from the cities used to come up here to get away and enjoy the refreshing ocean breezes. These elite vacationers used to bring their ‘help’ with them too. The Stage Neck Inn today is situated on the peninsula where the old servant’s quarters were, the closest point to the ocean. The Stage Neck Inn was built in early 1970’s, and in 1982 the current ownership began running it. There are 65 full time employees and around 130 full-time employees during peak season.”

Is there a fun or interesting story about your business or your town?

“This part of the country [Maine] is very old, so a lot of weird things used to happen around here. Historically, the wealthier people lived inland. The peninsula our Inn is built on is called Gallows Point, in the very old days they used to bring criminals to hang them here. In later years, the peninsula became an area where drying stages were built to dry fish caught around the coast of York. The ‘neck’ from Stage Neck Inn could be from the neck of land that juts out into the harbor which our Inn sits on. But it could also be in reference to the hangings, you can take it either way.”

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How do you use the product (s) you have purchased from us?

“We run your Micros POS printers, and we mostly buy refurbished printers. Epson printers that sit behind in the kitchen have no service agreements, so we buy refurbished printers that will work well when others get melted by a hot pan or something. Beagle’s turnaround is great, we like that we can overnight shipping service! We’ve used that a few times and it’s worked well.”

Check out Stage Neck Inn:  http://www.stageneck.com

 

 

The New Natural Vitamin C Paper

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An innovative kind of receipt paper was recently developed by a Wisconsin-based company called Appvion Inc. This company calls the paper Alpha Free paper, and it uses Vitamin C as an image developer instead of phenols and urea-based compounds like BPA. This new approach to thermal receipt paper will be safer for food, the cashiers and customers who come in contact with receipts, and the environment. It is a great new natural alternative! 

Cashiers who have a lot of exposure to chemicals in receipt paper may be interested in this new paper, especially pregnant women and environmentally conscientious retailers. It would be an ideal paper for restaurants, convenience stores, and co-ops looking to provide a healthy and green alternative to other thermal papers. 

This paper could be preferred to papers such as BPA that can disrupt hormones, and BPS may have some of the similar effects. However, BPS paper is yet to be tested for these. The new Vitamin C paper is encouraging for retailers and consumers who are looking at the long-term benefits of having a paper with no chance of harming cashiers and customers. It could be used on everything from luggage tags at airports to receipts at a farmers market. Customers who look for more natural components in their products will be excited to hear about a product such as Vitamin C paper. Stores that pride themselves on their green image can also capitalize on the benefits of the paper.

The paper is only one sided, due to the chemicals removed from it. However, the white backside is great for placing promotions and coupons. Vitamin C paper also has great imaging and the colors come out strong and clear. It also has a nice yellow hue from the Vitamin C, and this bright color is a clue to customers that their paper is safe and free of chemicals. Thermal paper that is recycled would often contain chemicals, but Vitamin C paper would not. When the paper is recycled, it has no chemicals to pollute landfills or get into groundwater.

At Beagle Hardware, we are now offering Vitamin C paper! You can purchase 50 rolls for the low price of $98. It’s compatible with both Epson TM-T88 printers and Star TSP 100 printers. You can find more information and purchase the paper here: http://www.beaglehardware.com/paperthermal.html

Understand the Checkout to Understand Your Customers

 

Despite all of the attention that online shopping gets, most purchases are still done the old fashioned way; at the store in a checkout line. The following infographic nicely lays out some key data points about the customer experience that can give us insight on how to tailor our businesses to their wants and needs. All results are based on a survey on habits and preferences of American shoppers at checkout.

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click to enlarge (credit to Entrepreneur.com)

Now let’s break down a few of the more important data points on the infographic so we can get a better understanding of what it’s trying to convey.

  • 67% of customers prefer to shop in stores rather than online. This is good news for those who are trying to compete with big ecommerce companies like Amazon.com, because it shows that people would still rather come into your store than log in on a website. It does however mean that it is up to the retailers to create a positive overall shopping experience, but the world is your oyster.
  • 76% would enjoy checkout more if they received personalized coupons. Target does this very well. When a customer checks out, Target will print coupons of items that are related to what was purchased; and its something that all retailers should think about implementing, especially considering the 76% just mentioned.
  • 18% think there is nothing that can be done to make checkout more enjoyable. This is possibly the most important piece of information on the graphic. This means that there is an overwhelming amount of customers who think that companies can and should improve checkout. It also means that it’s up to the business to decide how to make that happen; but again, this can be done in countless ways, you just need to get creative.

The rest of the information is valuable too. So don’t skip over anything because this infographic is a very valuable piece of knowledge that all companies with a POS system should acknowledge.

Also, check out our coupon printers if you want to get a head start!

Will Apple Pay Change How POS is Done?

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Photo Credit to NY Times

Last week during Apple’s annual release event the company announced that the new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch will come with NFC (near-field communication) technology which allows people to pay for their purchases using their phone. By doing so, Apple is joining companies like Square, and PayPal, along with Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile’s joint NFC payment method, Softcard (formerly Isis Mobile Wallet) in an effort to own the digital wallet.

Already, there have been reports suggesting that Apple has finalized agreements with major credit card companies Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. The agreements state that the financial groups are getting involved and that their card networks will soon be supported by the Apple Pay system. Credit card companies are not the only ones who stand to gain from Apple’s near-future software update. VeriFone is possibly the biggest name in the NFC payment technology space. The fact that Apple is promoting NFC as a legitimate method of payment has the potential to be huge for VeriFone, and indeed other companies that not only offer but accept akin designs.

As we’ve witnessed from similar past ventures (i.e. Square, PayPal and Softcard), success in this realm is much easier said than done. All of these companies have at one point offered NFC payment technology and found it to be extremely difficult. Apple is not immune to risks, and Apple Pay will not come without its own set of difficulties. For the update to work it must win over two sets of clients- customers and merchants. For either side to make the switch, Apple needs to make paying with its device’s better. Better is to say simpler and more rewarding than swiping a traditional credit card. Some critics believe that Apple is trying to solve an issue that isn’t all that big of a deal in the first place. That is, the time that it takes to pay with a credit card. Others point out the slow adoption rate by some merchants. By the time Apple Pay is released, less than 3% of merchants will have the ability to accept payments that use the feature.

Every innovation has concerns that are inherent, that’s the name of the game. Apple’s innovations are no different. However,  because of Apple’s history of success, those of us who stand to gain from potentially increased efficiency and privacy of payment should pay close attention to the role Apple is trying to play in the POS industry with their upcoming release of Apple Pay.

 

 

Mobile Payments Explained

 

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Image Credit to Mobile Marketing Magazine

Point of Sale is not stuck on paper or plastic- as long as there are companies doing business, they will also need ways to do it better, faster, or with more convenience. One such way is with an idea that has gotten a lot of high-profile attention recently: mobile payments.

Mobile payments utilize the on thing people may carry more than their credit card: their smartphone. Well known companies like Google and PayPal are trying to get a head start in the mobile payment markets, but not without competition from start-ups like Paydiant, LevelUp and Isis. Mobile payments can be done through applications on the phone, like buying online except you’re doing it on site. They can also be done with Near Field Communication, which requires the mobile device to be in close proximity to the scanner. This uses RFID’s, or Radio Frequency Identification. The RFID tag emits a small unique signal. A scanner reads this signal and processes the tag that emitted it.

Some businesses have mobile payments through store-branded apps, Starbucks being an
example of this. However, many businesses can utilize mobile payment platforms that try to make the reality of pay-by-phone accessible to more merchants and consumers. Many of the mobile payment platforms include the low profile scanner. Big businesses and investors are keeping an eye on mobile payment platforms,seeing as they can offer exciting new opportunities when it comes to analytics, customer loyalty and marketing. Though consumers and merchants have concerns about the privacy and usability of mobile payments, many are also excited at the opportunity and convenience they can present.

There will always be need for point of sale technology, and mobile payments may be the new look for point of sale. Contact Beagle Hardware for payment system solutions.

Butter Bakery Cafe Customer Profile

 

Butter Bakery Café, a café in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is neighborhood-based, family-run, and is now in its eight year. They have a great presence in the local community, and strive to be a generous and welcoming café. A partnership with Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative connects them with young adults who live above the store in Nicollet Square. The café serves as a work site and a mentoring opportunity for youth who have been homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless.

The café was recently featured on Square’s “Let’s Talk Minneapolis!”. The video (http://vimeo.com/76470869) involves small business owners having an in-depth discussion about business techniques, and the dialog is moderated by Square’s founder Jack Dorsey and CFO Sarah Friar. The Butter Bakery Café has used Beagle Hardware’s Square products to fit their small business model. “I trust Skip’s ability to find the right items at the right price.  And, I know Beagle Hardware has my back when I need a little help to make it all work right!” Dan Swenson Klatt, the owner of Butter Bakery Café, said.

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Square’s new products include the Square Register and Square Stand, and these products have been noticed by the POS community. Beagle Hardware’s Square Stand Kits allow you to print paper receipts, daily sales reports and summaries right from your iPad using Square Stand. The countertop Square Stand POS kit includes a compatible Star TSP143 USB Printer, APG Cash Drawer, an extra Square Credit Card Reader (for iPad, iPhone, or Android), cash drawer cable that connects to the back of the printer, 2 thermal paper rolls, and installation support. Customers simply provide the Square Stand, the iPad and a Square account.

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“When I decided to move to the Square Register program, I naturally thought of Beagle Hardware and Skip (Beagle Hardware’s President) to locate the equipment I would need,” Swenson-Klatt said.

When it comes to Star printers, the Star TSP143 USB Printer is included with the Square Stand Kit, and it simply plugs into the USB dongle on the Square Stand. This all-in-one printer includes every part you need in just one box! It has an internal power supply and new futurePRNT receipt design software. You can redesign and enhance your receipts’ logos, coupons, and bar codes. It has an eco-friendly footprint. The automatic instillation and “Drop-In & Print” paper loading are must-have features too.

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If a printer is needed in the kitchen to print orders as they come in, the Star TSP742ENG will work perfectly with Square Register software. It simple plugs into the router used for the Square Register. It’s a low-cost, high quality printer. It prints on plain paper and can print 1 or 2 copies. Printing at 4.5 lines per second, this printer paves the way for future POS printers, and it can take the kitchen heat!

For a portable printer, the Star Mobile Bluetooth printer is a great option. You can bring it anywhere your phone goes! This Bluetooth printer is compatible with Windows, Android, and iOS devices like the Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The printer is also compatible with the square register and its compact size and lightweight design make it great for queue busting in retail and hospitality to home delivery invoicing. It has “Drop-In & Print” paper loading and can print at 80mm/second. Trying a Square printer could greatly expand your POS and business opportunities.

Bluetooth Ipad Printer

“From early conversations about design of the space and how the network could function in our new shop to running cables and testing the printers, Skip has been able to come up with solutions that fit my business,” Swenson-Klatt said.

Prior to opening up the café, Swenson-Klatt worked in education teaching young adults, and now he teaches in a different environment: his store. He continues to educate his crew and helps further develop their talents.  “My sisters and brother and I all shared a desire to bring great coffee and bakery in a space that was meant to serve its neighbors,” Swenson-Klatt said. “We have grown and adjusted and learned how find that sweet spot where what we do is what our neighbors want us to do.”

A Tiny Chip With So Much Potential

 

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For many years, European countries have used a technology that the U.S. has only just begun to consider. This technology is called EMV for its initial card backers: Europay, MasterCard and Visa, and these cards contain a chip that can be used to identify their authentic user. This chip is paired alongside a PIN number the customer punches in before each transaction or a signature. This extra security measure will likely be adopted by many companies in the near future, especially after the recent Target stolen identity incident. According to Discover Financial Services, the EU has completely migrated to the new technology of EMV, and the region has seen an 80% reduction in credit card fraud while the U.S. has witnessed a 47% increase.

Credit card fraud is a real problem, and counterfeit cards can be eliminated with additional security precautions.  The U.S. has had a strong online infrastructure for years and saw no reason to adopt EMV technology. In contrast, EMV cards are the standard in Europe.

Retailers, especially smaller corporations, may have to worry about fraud more than larger corporations. This is because if fraud occurs, smaller businesses will have a harder time staying afloat. Companies that produce products like VeriFone handheld credit card scanners, know that now is the time to switch.

VeriFone has implemented this technology into a few of their products, one of which, the VeriFone VX570, we sell at Beagle Hardware.

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The VeriFone VX570 Credit Card Machine works globally, so it is compatible with cards containing EMV technology. These capable printers come with a 1-year warranty, have dial-up and Ethernet interfaces, and are equipped with a thermal printer and a triple-track card reader that lets you process any magnetic-stripe cards. Their use of EMV technology allows these printers to be a great first step towards nationwide EMV implementation.