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Reusable Labels Versus Permanent Labels: What’s the Difference?

reusable labels

The holidays are over; you’ve taken down the decorations and put away the presents. Most of them – all except for that one with the label you can’t get off no matter what you try. That’s because the seller didn’t order reusable labels for her products.

It’s frustrating – and you want to do better by your customers. But you don’t know which labels are reusable. You ask yourself, “Reusable labels versus permanent labels – what’s the difference, anyway?”

The answer: It’s all about the science. The adhesive your printer uses on the back of the label can make removal either easy or excruciatingly hard. Here’s the rundown on label types.

  • Permanent labels use a super-strong adhesive designed specifically for the material you want it to adhere to. Manufacturers and retailers like them because they won’t fall off during packing or on the shelf at the store.
  • Removable labels are easy to remove, leaving little or no residue, but the adhesive bond often isn’t strong enough to reuse again and again.
  • Reusable labels use adhesives that are easy to remove yet are strong enough to reapply several times. They’re especially useful for temporary use, such as items on sale that you want to sell at the regular price after the sale is over. They’re also ideal for gift items since they’re easy to remove for gift wrapping, but you can reapply them in case the recipient returns the gift.

To make sure that your customers won’t be cursing your name as they try to remove one of your labels, your printer needs to choose an adhesive that makes the label easily removable. And, if you want to reuse your labels (or want your customers to be able to reuse them), you’ll need to mention that when you order as well.

Reusable Stickers for Displays

Labels aren’t the only thing you’ll need to change when an item goes on sale. Most retailers use reusable stickers to cover the regular price on the shelf. That way, when the product goes back to its regular price, all the stock workers need to do is remove the reusable stickers and store them for the net sale.

Reusable stickers are also a great choice for temporary displays, such as in art galleries or for window dressing. Many retailers like to list the price or benefits of the items they feature in their front windows. Galleries (and libraries, for that matter) need reusable stickers for displays so that they can move an artwork to a new location for seasonal or thematic displays.

Repositionable Stickers Need a Versatile Adhesive

Depending on the material you want the stickers to adhere to, repositionable stickers often need a more versatile adhesive that will handle every surface you need them to cover. That’s especially true in display settings, as opposed to shelf-only or product-only placements.

For example, let’s look at what a bookseller or librarian might need in adhesive performance. If they want to feature several books in a window display, the repositionable stickers will need to adhere to glass.

However, if they want to move the books to the shelves, they’ll need the repositionable stickers to work on metal, too. But, if they also want to use them for a wall display, the stickers will need to adhere to the wall material as well. And, they’ll need to be easy to remove each time you use them.

So, be sure to list all the possible places you want to use your stickers before you head to your printer’s office or give them a call. Also, it helps to give your printer a heads-up about how long you want the stickers to last. Longer-lasting stickers might cost more, but over time, they’ll more than pay for the extra expense.

Choose a Sturdy Face Stock for Repositionable Labels

In today’s economically challenging world, it’s tempting to try the DIY route. After all, you might say, they’re just labels.

However, without an extensive knowledge of both adhesives and the various types of label stocks, you might order the wrong adhesive-stock combination for your repositionable labels.

For example, if you choose a cheap stock and a too-strong adhesive for your repositionable labels, you run the risk of not being able to peel it off when you want to remove it and place it on another product or in another location. That’s only one of the reasons to work with an experienced printer for special-use labels, such as reusable or repositionable labels.

Which Types of Products Need a Removable Label?

While you’ll generally limit reusable labels to in-house signage or movable displays, removable labels have a broad range of uses on consumer goods, such as:

  • Fruits and vegetables: If you’ve ever struggled to remove the label from a luscious tomato – and then gave up and just peeled the thing, you’ll know why it’s essential to have a removable label with a weak adhesive. It goes to the issue of how customers perceive your products’ quality.
  • Price tags: In the retail world, prices often have to go down for customers to bite. If your price tags are too sticky, removing them cleanly will be a challenge. Too strong an adhesive or too weak a label stock, and you might even leave a residue, making your product look tacky, even used.
  • Scheduled oil change decals: Since customers change their oil every three months or so, the decals that remind them they’re due for a change need to be easily removable yet stick tightly to the car’s window through all kinds of temperature changes.
  • Reusable food or beverage containers: Today’s customers are more environment-conscious than ever before. You might consider upgrading your packaging to include removable labels. It’s a great way to provide added value to your customers long after they’ve consumed the product inside.

So, whether you need a permanent, removable, or reusable label for your product, it pays to work with a printer with extensive knowledge of more than design. You need a printer who’s familiar with the science behind label choices.

The Nova Custom Label Printing team has a wealth of knowledge and experience in helping its clients choose the right labels for each use. Before you order your next labels, speak to one of our label experts to put the best face on your business. Call us today!

saved me for a last minute print, thanks nova!

Tamara Farrell Avatar Tamara Farrell
April 16, 2024

Great partners on a last minute project - turned out beautiful and the team was so helpful! Would recommend!

Maggie Dunn Avatar Maggie Dunn
April 16, 2024

The decals and signage were great quality. We had a couple of unforeseen issues, and Michael helped us to accommodate all the last-minute changes we had to make.

Bruna Tironi Avatar Bruna Tironi
April 9, 2024