Guide to Choosing Your Plastic Card Printer

October 30th, 2020 | Price Sign Display, Price Sign Printers

Finding the Best Retail Card Printer

Plastic card printers are essential and useful for retail businesses. If your business needs a plastic card printer, how do you choose the right option? Different printers have unique benefits and abilities. The right choice depends on what your business needs.

To help you find a high-quality plastic card printer, we’ve put together this helpful guide. Let’s explore first, the types of plastic cards retailers may need to print:

– Gift cards

– Loyalty cards

– Price signs

– Membership cards

– Message cards

– Name badges

You may be a retail business that needs to print a variety of these examples. In that case, you will need an adaptable plastic card printer that can meet your demands. For example, if you’re a florist, you can print high-quality loyalty cards for your customers. They allow you to add a personal touch by printing message cards, care instructions that come with each bouquet, and name badges for all your staff. They can also help to highlight offers with detailed price signs.

Another way these printers could help a business increase their profits and connect with customers is gift cards. The secret to gift card printing is being able to customise your designs. This gives you total freedom over how you represent your brand. Unique gift cards allow you to attract new customers and reward loyal ones. But, of course, gift card printing isn’t the only use for plastic card printers… 

What Type of Card Are Your Printing?

Every printer will have technical features that mean it can match your requirements. These include speed, volume, and single or double-sided printing. So, to find the right printer, ask yourself what you need it for?

A loyalty card is massively different from a name badge or a price sign. You need a printer that has the technical capacity to print the design and type of plastic card that your business wants. Although they all may be plastic cards, they’re very different. Once you establish what cards you want to print, finding a printer becomes much simpler.

For retail shops, plastic price signs are very important. They allow you to highlight offers and important information. But having detailed price signs can be crucial for some retailers such as butchers. At Reward It, our Xtended price sign printers have helped many local butchers produce detailed price signs to ensure nutritional and allergen information is clear.

Once you know what type of card you’re printing, you need to work out how many cards you’re going to be printing and how often?

printed gift and loyalty cards

Printing Volume: How Many and How Often?

Estimate how many cards you want to print per day. Then you can work out how many cards this will be a week, month, and year. This is important as you need to purchase a printer that can meet your demands. Do you need a high-volume of cards to rotate or a small number you update infrequently? Estimate the number of cards and make the best decision for your future.

An example of a retailer who will need to print a high-volume of plastic cards is supermarkets. Supermarkets have lots of staff, products, and customers. They will have to print more name badges, price signs, loyalty and gift cards than a corner shop. Both are retail businesses but have very different printing demands. Even if they’re printing similar plastic cards, the volume needed varies so much that both will likely need different plastic card printers.

When printing a high number of cards per day, certain printer features can reduce the amount it’s able to print. This is why printing speed is something else you need to consider:

Printing Speed

Printing speed can be a crucial factor that will help you to make the right decision. For example, If you like to introduce newly designed gift cards frequently or need to update name badges regularly, you may need a fairly fast printer. One that is also highly responsive, so you can print a name badge after only a couple of seconds. You don’t want to waste any time or keep anyone waiting.

The most important question to ask yourself is: will a slower printer impact my business? You should also consider whether a faster printer can print the cards you need. Here are two common features to look out for that will affect printing speeds:

Hopper-Fed Printers

Hopper-fed printers allow you to print a large volume of cards at one time quickly and efficiently. Manual printers take longer to print cards. This is because you need to feed and change the cards into the printer by hand.

The good thing about manual printers is they’re cheaper and a good investment when printing individual high-quality cards. For example, they’re great for gift card printing when you print out a single gift card for a customer in-store. Whereas a hopper-fed printer is better for large batches of cards as you don’t have to spend time feeding the materials into the printer yourself.

Batch Printing

If you’re printing identical plastic cards, batch printing is the ideal option. Having a printer that can print in large batches saves you time and effort as long as you want all the cards to be identical.

As well as printing speed, you need to know whether you want to print single or double-sided cards…

Single or Double-Sided Printing

Unlike what you may think, you don’t need a double-sided printer to print on either side of a card. But using a single-sided printer may take more time, it depends on the technical features of the printer you have. The big difference between the two types of printers is customisability.

With a single-sided printer, it can print a unique design on one side of the card and a standard design on the other throughout a printing run. Whereas a double-sided printer can print different designs on both sides of the card even when they’re different from the rest of the batch. Buying a single-sided printer may save you money but you need to make sure it can do what you need it to.

Work out what you need and make a decision with this knowledge. A double-sided printer could be the best investment to make as it will save you time with its efficient printing process. This includes being able to print in large quantities at one time without having to manually feed the cards.

This decision between single and double-sided is also crucial for the design and colours of your plastic cards:

Card Design: Monochrome or Colour

The biggest design choice for your cards, no matter the type, is choosing several colours or monochrome. For photo name badges, colour is going to be important to improve the clarity of the image. But you may also want to include a vibrant logo or informative graphics. Choosing the right colours can also simplify your design elements and make them clearer.

Monochrome or black printing is great for simple designs such as QR codes and barcodes. You can also adapt existing cards to add monochrome words or infographics. This makes them a cost-effective printing solution. Monochrome printing also doesn’t have to be boring, add vibrant colours like gold, red and green to your plastic card designs.

We hope this guide has helped you to understand what you need to look for when buying a printer. To find out more, get in touch with our team today:

Contact Us Today

Give us a call on +44 (0)20 8266 1600 or fill in the enquiry form on our contact page today.

Written by Charlie Ashby

Display expert. Knows all there is to know when it comes to printers and price sign displays for retailers

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