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Magazines Archives - 2011 September

Innovative Epson – Making game changes that benefit tech-savvy retailers
Story 2 - Cover Story

Keeping a keen ear to the ground, Epson Singapore continues to deliver printing solutions that meet the needs of tech-savvy retailers today. Jolene Klassen finds out how Epson faces up to the challenge to ensure that it has the right solutions for retailers of all sizes across the region.

The challenge: India’s retail market — a sector that accounts for over 20% of the country’s gross domestic product, and is dominated by mom-and-pop stores, or kiranas, despite double-digit growths in the country’s organised retail sector. Combined with a population of 1.1 billion and the possible opening up of the country’s retail sector to foreign direct investment, the country’s retail industry looks set to spur further growth both in India and the region.

In a bid to provide a form of administration for retailers and kiranas alike, the local government regulations have mandated that all retail businesses are required to provide receipts with clear and concise information of items purchased, as well as retain a copy of the transaction for their own records.

More specifically, for drugstore retailers, detailed information such as the name of the medication and dosage has to be recorded accurately on the receipt, in order to be compliant with the government’s regulations.

And when the smallest size for most serial impact dot matrix (SIDM) printers — a popular choice in the Indian market due to its robustness in withstanding the harsh environment and climate — is “more than what they needed”, while receipt printers were “too small for their requirements”, Epson Singapore’s general manager of business systems, Ng Ngee Khiang quips: “We had to come up with something in between.”

The solution: To develop a printer that bridges the gap between the two requirements.

“In some retail applications, the range of receipt printers, which are usually up to three-inch and a maximum four-inch in print width, could not satisfy their requirements of five- or six-inch receipts … That’s when we designed the 60-column Epson LQ-50 dot matrix printer,” he elaborates.

Billed to take the place of handwritten receipts, while providing itemised purchases, the new six-inch SIDM printer is counter space-friendly, about 30% smaller than other Epson SIDM printers, and offers twice the print size than that of regular receipt papers.

“The LQ-50 is designed exactly for small spaces and to bridge the gap between the print requirements. Retailers who do not have much space in their stores would appreciate the smaller footprint of the LQ-50, especially so if they do not require the full-print width of an 80-column SIDM,” Ng explains.

Despite its compact size, which spans 10.38 x 9.45 x 6.02 inches, the LQ-50 enables for a six-inch print area on fanfold and five-inch print area on roll media. Additionally, the printer is designed to handle both fanfold and roll media, allowing companies to cut costs in procuring specific paper types, and retain their fixed forms and company branding.

Combined with the flexibility of installing a printer stand, which holds paper neatly under the printer, or the roll-paper holder that can be attached to the printer, users can be assured of continuous printing.

The LQ-50 is also equipped with a 24-pin print head that provides highquality prints, and a Microsoft Windows OS driver for language options. While packed with features that aim to deliver the highest-quality print, the LQ-50 is also extremely durable, with a mean print volume between failure (MVBF) rating of 20 million lines, and a mean time between failure (MTBF) rating of 10,000 power on hours (POH). The Energy Star-certified printer also ensures low power consumption, saving additional costs in the long term.

The result: Since its launch last May, the printer has already won over small proprietors in Pune, India.

Manish Chandan, the owner of Chandan Stores supermarket in Pune, India, shares that since the family business started almost 50 years earlier, the company has developed a long-standing relationship with its customers. Although the retailer has only one store, Chandan reveals that he is looking to open a few more branches in the future.

In order to streamline and simplify its billing process, Chandan Stores has replaced two of its three billing counters with the LQ-50. “We liked the product because of its features, and all that in a very small size. We were very impressed with this product. The [after-sales] service is good — just a phone call away — which is important for the retail industry. It is ideal for its compact size and the service, which is very important to us.”

Another retai ler , Kanaram Chaudhry, owner of Manmoti Supermarket in Pune, India, also reveals that prior to using the LQ-50, he would manually record billing details into a diary, which took up a lot of time and inconvenienced his customers.

“So when I decided to buy a printer, I found that a lot of brands had printers that are big but I did not have much space to accommodate those printer sizes on my counter. Then I saw the LQ-50, which is suitable for my store because of its compact size, without compromising on the quality. I have been using this for the past eight months and am satisfied with this product, as I have not encountered any problem so far. It is good for retailing, especially grocery stores with space constraints. This printer is perfect for my shop,” Chaudhry quips.

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2011 Sep Stories:

Managing during economic uncertainty: What Asian retailers need to do to hold up

Innovative Epson – Making game changes that benefit tech-savvy retailers

NRA Show 2011 showed significant signs of growth

Asia’s retail powerhouses – China and India, the emerging global powerhouses; Down but by no means out

ICSC RECon Asia 2011 – Industry leaders to convene in the world’s fastest-growing retail market this November

Mall Group expands supermarket business outside its own malls

More global retailers have taken to the cloud in the past 12 months, says report

Asian consumers are turning to m-commerce

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