You’ve made the big switch to a mobile point of sale system. You’ve already gotten the major things taken care of; you have a card reader, you have a cash drawer, and you’ve picked up a barcode scanner because anything that makes your inventory tracking easier is worth picking up. Now you’re down to just one last item: a receipt printer. On one hand, you have the ability to give customers their receipts digitally using sophisticated hardware from companies like Shopify, which has the added benefit of allowing you to market to them later. But on the other hand, most people expect the business they visit to have at least one printer already. In the end, you have to tally up the pros and cons, and as it turns out the only con is that you’ll have to spend money on something you might not use constantly. The pros are so much more than that the answer is pretty clear. Read on for the five reasons you definitely still need a printer at your checkout station.
Customers Don’t Want to Give Their Emails
A digital receipt is a perfect way to snag someone’s email for marketing purposes, claims Fil Entrep, but that strategy is one that many consumers have gotten wise to. If they don’t want to get your promotional material they may refuse a digital copy of their receipts. If they still want a copy at all (after all, if they paid with a card, most online banking services will itemize expenditures for free automatically) then you’re put in the position of either printing one out or needing to have an employee hand write a receipt. There’s simply no way to make yourself look good when you’re hand writing a receipt. It looks unprofessional and can really reflect poorly on your business. Having the printer on hand just in case is a great way to save face when those odd situations crop up.
Businesses Need a Paper Trail
On top of your everyday customer needs, sometimes you’ll sell something to someone buying it on behalf of another business, or with an expense account for a business. Often these purchases work on reimbursement. It will be far easier for that customer to have a physical receipt they can take over to their business’s accounts department when they get back to work. A digital receipt would have the purchaser running around trying to print out their whole bank statement just to get back a $20 dinner, or a much more expensive air conditioning unit, for example.
Returns Work Better with One
Ideally, no one will ever bring anything back to your store. You’ll have no need for your returns policy and the code you keep for it will be covered with dust an inch thick. However, in the real world, you will occasionally get someone bringing something back, if only because it was given as a gift and it’s the wrong size, color, or just plain not for them. When this happens it’s much easier to have the actual receipt on hand than to search through sales records from days or weeks before.
It’s Still Considered a Business Essential
There are a few things that Entrepreneur lists as still being important: printers, card readers, and cash drawers are the big three. What you don’t need is an old-fashioned $20,000 point of sale terminal. The other staples can stay put for now. This means that you have to not only do what’s best for your business’s survival, but also what looks best for your business’s future growth. You don’t want to look understaffed or under equipped; you want your business to look sleek and modern so customers can be confident that your business can get the job done. This is another case where how something looks is just as important as how it acts. You might only need the printer once in a blue moon, but if you need it and you don’t have it, your reputation is going to take a hit because, come on, everyone has a receipt printer.
Being Flexible Is the Key to Staying on Top
Just like there’s now a market for iPad stands that really kick in and let a customer and an employee share a screen for a quick process (a new business essential, according to an Entrepreneur tech article), you need to make your own way in the business world. Your business should be ready and able to provide the consumer with whatever they want, especially if what they want is as simple as a printed receipt. You can protect your image and through example, drive home to your employees that the customer comes first. Being rigid isn’t the way to get what you want. Being flexible is the way to show your customers that your business can roll with the punches, whatever may come.