When it gets busy inside the Adrian gift stores in Buhler this holiday season, store owner Vicki Adrian plans to tap into the latest technology to quickly alleviate any lines forming at the register.
"It's the coolest thing ever," Adrian said of the technology, which includes a small device she plugs into her iPad2 tablet computer to ring up a credit card sale anywhere in the store. "For people who don't need things gift wrapped, I'll be able to zap them with the iPad and be done."
Adrian, who recalls the days of the "old knuckle buster Visa machine" that created a carbon copy of a credit card, is happy to stay up with emerging technology for her business.
Adrian first used the Square Card Reader -- developed by the Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and available online and in a number of retail stores, including Target and Walmart -- at her booth at the Kansas State Fair in September.
"It's just one-inch square and plugs into your iPad or your smart phone," she said. "It's quick and convenient. I felt like it worked very smoothly at the fair. I had no issues or concerns, and no concerns were expressed by my customers."
The device also is used daily by nail technician Brenda Waters at her independent salon, Polished Nail Salon, inside the Bella Studios at North Pointe Center, 2803 N. Lorraine.
"I've used it since May," Waters said. "I learned about it through one of my clients, who's using it at their business."
She ordered the card reader -- which plugs into the earphone port on her Android phone -- and downloaded the computer application to run it online for free.
Her customers use their shiny new nails to sign the receipt on the touch screen of her phone.
There are nearly a half dozen different card readers on the market that attach to laptops or phones -- some in the form of phone cases or holsters and others as plug ins -- that enable sales any place that receives a phone signal.
For most, individuals or small retailers pay a per-transaction fee. Larger users pay a monthly fee, as well as a per-transaction charge.
Waters pays per transaction.
"It's a small fee," she said. "There's no monthly fee and no contract. If I don't want to use it anymore, I don't."
"Monthly fees on a credit card machine are almost prohibitive for a small business," Waters said. "Before this, I could only take cash or checks. It's a lot more convenient for customers, and I don't have to worry about returned checks."
While it won't print paper receipts, Waters can send a receipt to customer's phone or an email address.
"It usually sends a text a few seconds after they pay," she said. "And I always tell them to watch their credit card for the bill. After the first time, it comes to them with the name of my studio."
"I've had good success," Waters said. "I've had no complaints from customers and it seems very secure."
She likes to stay up on technology for her businesses, Adrian said, and believes the iPad, which she always has with her, "has changed retailing forever."
"I've been in a couple of online classes on new ways to use the iPad," Adrian said. "There's things that aren't available yet, but are right around the corner, that will be useful. I'll not only be able to ring up a transaction, but I'll be able to find things in the store."
And the benefits don't stop there.
"We serve food at all our events," Adrian said. "In the future we'll be able to put a QR code next to a dish and immediately download a recipe. You can link to a video on how to tie a scarf. We just put up a video on how to make Red Velvet Martini cupcakes. I'm a huge fan. I can see it being used in so many different industries besides retail."
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