How to Choose the Right Print Solutions for Retail Stores

Anyone who has been at a car rental counter, for example, and witnessed how the simple job of printing out a rental contract can turn into a nightmare can confirm: There are always situations in which the issue of printing makes employees break out in a sweat.

Printing is not just a nice-to-have at some workplaces, for many its economically vital and yet all too often prone to failing. This doesn’t just apply to car rental branches, but any retail company where, say, delivery labels are regularly printed or even at airports where boarding passes or luggage tickets are just as important. Fast, uncomplicated printouts ensure smooth workflows and are crucial for satisfied customers. Slow printouts are painful – for employees and customers alike.

So, printouts in retail and service companies must be one thing above all: fast and uncomplicated because making sure each customer does not have to wait is key. Print solutions for retail stores and service providers can help achieve this.

print solution retail
Print solutions for retail stores and service companies must therefore ensure one thing above all: fast printouts for satisfied customers

Let’s take a look at the special requirements that printing in branches of retail or service companies often encounter and what print solutions for retail should offer!

A Solution for Low Bandwidths

In our experience, many branches – nationally and internationally – are still located in rural areas where bandwidths are sometimes low. If these branches are supplied with IT infrastructure via their head office(s), bandwidth bottlenecks quickly occur when transmitting large-volume print data. The result: printouts are slow or not delivered at all, leaving employees and customers annoyed.

ThinPrint’s first release version, ThinPrint Engine 1.0 solved this issue more than 20 years ago by compressing print data. Even today, this feature is still needed in many customer projects. The adaptive compression, streaming technology and connection-oriented bandwidth control of the ThinPrint Engine, which has been continuously optimised over the years, now ensures fast print outputs in thousands of branch offices in trade and services, regardless if it’s for brick-and-mortar locations or an offshore oil rig.

Printer Management & No IT Expertise Necessary

A constant in printing in branch offices, whether retail or service, is the unavoidable administration of printers and printer drivers. Yet not every branch has the luxury of its own team of IT experts. If there are any, they tend to be located in the head office and want to manage the printers and printer drivers of all the branches from there with as little effort as possible.

The common scenario: When an employee logs in to the system, he or she wants to use the printer in his or her vicinity. This poses enormous challenges for IT, especially in cases where employees commute between different branches. In these and other cases, the ThinPrint Hub –an uncomplicated and fortunately inexpensive printing appliance – is helpful. It can be plugged into the branch’s network and will then automatically ensure that the entire print infrastructure is “read in” and made available to the admins at the head office. No IT knowledge is required to set up the Hub and all are remotely manageable via an easy-to-use management console.

With the help of the ThinPrint Engine, all printers are supported, including label printers, barcode printers, thermal printers and also normal printers for invoices or delivery notes that are frequently used in retail. The important thing here is that all the necessary functions are covered for each printer.

Self-Service Printers – Power to the People

It is also possible for employees to select the printers they need themselves using our ThinPrint Self-Service portal.

IT admins are free to decide if they want to grant their teams this ability. If employees frequently commute between different locations this feature is certainly helpful. The IT staff are relieved from unnecessary tickets this way and the employee gains independence. Any printing management solution worth its salt should offer this, especially if they focus on retail.

Secure Printing Without a VPN connection

VPNs cost money. And they aren’t an insignificant cost factor when a company has a number of different branches either. With ThinPrint, secure printing is also possible without a VPN connection. We name this feature the ThinPrint Secure Tunnel, and it enables the connection from the ThinPrint Client in the branch office to the print server in the head office. This allows printing in masked networks (NAT) even without a VPN tunnel. For this, a ThinPrint Client must be placed in the branch office. This can be a desktop, a local print server or preferably a ThinPrint Hub. It accepts the print jobs, decompresses them, decodes them and then distributes them to the correct printers. Just like magic.

Mobile Printing with iPhone or iPad

In the meantime, there are more and more employees, especially in the retail and service industries, who do not work on a desktop but are on the move with a mobile device such as an iPhone or iPad, working in a session and sometimes commuting between individual branches. ThinPrint provides the Mobile Session Print feature for this type of work. With this function, employees can print their documents from the session on locally available AirPrint printers.

Conclusion: Service Providers and Retailers Need a Fast and Functional Print Management Solution

Retailers and service providers are still dependent on uncomplicated, regular print output. Without the use of suitable print solutions for retail and service industries, it is difficult to meet the increasing demands.

Do you need competent support in your company when it comes to printing? Then take advantage of the free print consulting taster offer. In a non-binding, 15-minute online call, we will get to know your IT environment and will be happy to draw up a more detailed, customised print consulting offer. Our consultants can also help you find the right print solutions for your retail store.

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Northcott Rosanna