Thermal Price Labels for Consignment/Resale Stores

Price Labels and Tags on Rolls

'Thermal' (or 'Direct Thermal') is a type of printing technology which uses heat to turn thermochromic paper (the thermal label) black in the specific areas where heat is applied by the print head (forming numbers, letters and characters). There are special printers which can print two colors (black and red), but they are more costly and not commonly used in consignment shops.

Printing terminology can be confusing, because a 'thermal printer' can be a receipt printer or direct-thermal printer or a thermal-transfer printer (which uses similar thermal technology employing heat-sensitive ribbons instead of heat-sensitive paper).

Receipt printers do not print price labels and label printers do not print receipts.

BCSS, Labels and Hang Tags

Adhesive labels commonly used in resale stores measure from 2.25" x .5' in a barbell-jewelry label to a 4" x 4" shipping label. The most common size is 2.25" x 1.25" (which some stores stick onto their designer hang tags). Cost is about $8 for a roll of 2100 labels (when purchased in quantity). At less than 1/2c each, thermal labels are less costly than sheet labels or specialty labels like Dymo labels.

The printer looks for a gap between 'sticky' labels to know where one label ends and the next begins.

Non-adhesive labels of course are 'non-sticky' and are typically called 'hang tags' because they have a hole in one end for 'hanging' on items like furniture, clothing and accessories. A hanging device (like a plastic loop, ring or string) is passed through the hole and attached to items - usually with a tagging gun.

BCSS can print on a 2-part tear-off tag which has a 'stub' on one end (with Item ID, Description and Price) and a tear-off section with the barcode (optional), Item ID, Category, Description, Details, Price, Store Name, In Date and Discount Prices.

Barcodes on price labels are optional and can be printed on all tags supported by BCSS When barcodes are printed, there is of course less room for other information, so smaller tags cannot include as much information as larger tags. For example, there isn't enough room for Store Name on sizes 2.25" x .5" and 2" x 1".

The printer looks for a gap between 'sticky' labels to know where one label ends and the next begins.

Canadian Labels

WR Display provides a limited number of label options for use in Canada. Please refer to the manual for information.

BCSS and Printers

BCSS is configured to work with Zebra (2824, 2844, G-series), TSC (244, 245, 247 and DA210) and Dymo (LabelWriter 450 - not recommended but usable - reviews).

Label printers can have 2" or 4" 'mouths'. With a 2" printer only horizontal labels measuring 2.25" or less in roll width can be used. With BCSS that limits the number of possible sizes and types of labels to 6. With a 4" printer, 15 sizes and types are possible with BCSS.

Years ago BCSS was originally configured for the Zebra 2824 (2") and the 2844 (4") printers. Over time the printers proved to be troublesome and Zebra support was worse than nonexistent. Fortunately TSC (Taiwan Semiconductor) came along with their 225 (2") and 244/245/247 (4") TDP models with far fewer issues and much better support, along with a 2-year warranty (vs 1 year for Zebra). Today's model is DA 210.

The TSC DA 210 printer (9 x 6 x 11) is $349, and 2550 2" x 1" labels are $7-8. Printing cost is less than printing sheet labels because labels are cheaper, there's no ink or ribbon and fewer labels are wasted (from paper jams, out-of-ink runs, smeared labels, etc). It is also considerably easier to print one or several labels.

BCSS is not configured to work the TSC TTP models.

Cost Considerations

Price labels can be printed with BCSS using a standard laser-style (ink) printer and sheet labels. The choice of labels is limited to one adhesive label (Avery #5160) and one 4" x 1" hang tag. Of course an ink printer is cheap, but the ink cartridges have little ink in them and are expensive, so sheet-label printing is not economical for printing a few hundred labels or more per month. Moreover the cost of the labels is higher than the cost of thermal labels.

The trade off with thermal labels is the cost of the printer ($300+) but there are no ink cartridges and it is most assured that anyone currently printing thermal price labels might rather close their store than revert to printing sheet labels. It's much easier to print one or a thousand labels with thermal printers, the labels look more professional and there are no hassles with out-of-ink runs, paper jams, smears and all else that comes with sheet-label printing.