Customers rely on information on labels when making a purchase, so it’s important the label is of good quality, resilient and suitable for the purpose. It should look good, too. Our range of laser labels in sheets, Barcode labels in rolls, mobile printers, direct thermal labels, shipping labels, thermal transfer labels and ribbons have you covered for your retail label needs.
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Choosing the right label printer for a retail store

Retail label printing can be complicated, but it will be a much easier process for those who have taken the time to learn a bit about the technology before committing to what amounts to quite a hefty purchase for most buyers.

There are three ways you can print labels:

  1. Sheet label printing
  2. Direct thermal printing
  3. Thermal transfer printing

Pros and cons of sheet label printing

The first option, sheet label printing, is “cheap” in the sense that you don’t need to purchase a dedicated retail label printer, and can simply use your current laser or inkjet printer to print onto A4 sheets with pre-cut labels.

This apparent economy crumbles, however, when you need to print only a small number of labels, or where the labels need to be printed quickly. If your printer has a history of jamming, label sheets are more likely to cause a jam, and the jam can be more difficult to solve than a regular paper jam.

Pros and cons of direct thermal printing

Direct thermal printing is an economical option suited to most label printing situations, except those where labels are infrequently replaced and are constantly exposed to direct sunlight or other heat sources. Unless covered by plastic, direct thermal labels are also not suitable for situations where they could get splashed.

The big advantage of direct thermal printing is that it’s suited to use with handheld portable wireless printers, so floor staff can print labels directly without having to request and collect them from an office.

Pros and cons of thermal transfer printing

Thermal transfer printing is the right solution when you need to print very high volumes of labels (rare in a retail environment), where labels are likely to be exposed to direct sunlight for extended amounts of time, or where some degree of waterproofing is required.

Direct thermal printing is less suited to high volume printing than thermal transfer printing because the direct thermal printing method generates more friction and heat, which means in a high volume situation the print head will be likely to wear out faster.

It is important to know that thermal transfer printing can be more expensive than direct thermal printing when printing low volumes of labels, but it does also give superior results for a wider range of applications.

The best choice of retail shelf label maker for a typical retailer

In general, most retailers should opt for direct thermal label printers because these printers offer good economy and will suit the typical retail environment. Those who operate at outdoor markets or who use outdoor shelf displays may want to consider thermal transfer printing instead.

The second factor in choosing a retail shelf label printer

The next thing you need to consider is who will be doing the retail label printing. Large department stores and supermarkets will normally opt for hand held printers, and this is certainly the most convenient option for retailers of any size.

For those in the small to medium category, handheld units may be a bit costly, as you’re typically buying multiple printers which means more IT assets to keep track of and more label restocking (it’s more budget-friendly to feed one label printer compared with feeding 10). The small size of handheld printers can also make them a tempting target for thieves.

Desktop retail label printers are way less convenient, but also a more economical choice for many. It’s also a more secure option because it’s located in a back office and not being carried around all over the store.

If you can afford the cost and you have decent in-store security, we recommend handheld label printers for the convenience and versatility they offer.

Get your retail label printers from DAL

We’ll give you the best deal – that’s guaranteed – and we offer flat rate shipping nationwide. International customers can also buy their printers and print supplies from DAL. Please contact us for details if you are buying from outside Australia.

Customers also choose us for our reliable return policy, prompt service, and positive attitude. You’ll get the best value with DAL, so buy your next label printer from us and see the difference for yourself.
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