For the full USB2U website please visit on a device with a larger screen.
Banner

If you’ve Still Got Budget to Spend in 2014 – We Can Help

Posted by USB2U on 19th December 2014 | Permalink

Time is ticking and if you work for a company, university or local authority and you’ve got money left in your budget to spend this calendar year then you’re going to have to get a move on and use it. It’s not unusual for budgets to be allocated on a yearly basis (on a calendar year) and typically such budgets are granted on a “use it or lose it” basis.

If this sounds like you then we’d love to help you spend your money. Our core products (Promotional USB Memory Sticks and Promotional Power Banks) are incredibly popular and can be used to support all manner of sales, marketing and educational activities. So, if you have cash left to spend then investing it now in our products rather than losing it would be a sensible decision.

We can work with you in one of two ways:

  1. We can take your order and invoice you before the end of 2014 and then deliver your USB sticks and/or Power Banks as and when you need them. We can even send them out to you in batches with different branding on each batch to reflect different activities you might want to use them for in 2015. Whether you pay for them in 2014 or on 30-day terms (meaning you’ll pay in 2015 but from your 2014 budget) is entirely up to you.
  2. We can take an order from you now and we can print, deliver and invoice your order before then end of this calendar year. We know for some companies it’s critical that goods are actually received within the budget period to allow the budget to be used. Not a problem. Even at this late stage (19th December) we can still print and deliver a wide range of promotional products before the end of the year.
USB Rush Order for 2014 Budgets

USB Rush Order for 2014 Budgets

If this is something you want to do them given the date it’s critical that you get in touch with us as quickly as possible. We are open all through the holidays (with the exception of 24th and 25th December) and we’ll still be offering our “next day” Rush Service throughout.

Don’t worry if your haven’t got all of your artwork and data files ready (assuming you need your USB sticks data-loaded) because our in-house design team can sort all of your artwork out for you and we can data-load right at the last minute (just before we ship your order).

USB2U – we do last minute .com

Share

Are Power Banks About to Charge up the Promotional Charts

Posted by USB2U on 18th December 2014 | Permalink

Every once in a while a product comes along and you just know it’s going to take the promotional gift market by storm. One of such product is the Power Bank. Like most good ideas it’s simple but brilliant.

A Power Bank is basically just a re-chargeable battery in a fancy outer case (shell). The Power Bank is charged from a mains supply or PC (via the supplied USB cable) and it can then be used as a portable back-up power supply to re-charge any portable device. The most popular use for them is to re-charge smart phones but they’re equally capable of re-charging other small devices like tablets, handheld games consoles, e-cigarettes, e-readers and electric toothbrushes!

Promotional Power Banks

Promotional Power Banks

With most of us now owning a smart phone and all of us facing the challenge of keeping these power hungry devices charged during the day a well-designed and good looking power bank is a must. If you’re an international traveller then you’ll be aware of the new security checks that mean you have to turn up at the check in gates with your devices charged and capable of being switched on – if they can’t then at best you’ll have to surrender the item, at worst you’ll miss your flight.

Wooden and Metallic Power Banks

Wooden and Metallic Power Banks

We predict Power Banks are going to be a huge success in the promotional market in 2015 because they meet a real need amongst people that are given them. They’re going to want to carry them with them everywhere and they’re likely to develop a stronger emotional attachment to them than they will to say a mug, a badge or a T-Shirt. Something that can get your smart phone working again and can help you to re-connect to your friends and colleagues, help you get your emails and catch up on Twitter has a very high perceived value.

With prices now coming in around £3 – £5 per unit (depending on model, battery power and packaging options) Power Banks are relatively cheap to buy. They look great branded up with a logo and they’re big enough to carry a strong message or strapline and there are lots of different designs and styles to choose from.

But, what makes them a real winner is the overall combination of utility, perceived value, price point, and plain old desirability – people are going to want one and when they have one they’re going to keep it and keep using it!

Share

USB2U Reviews – After 2,500 reviews on Trustpilot customers rank us as “Excellent”

Posted by USB2U on 16th December 2014 | Permalink

Do you or don’t you. It’s not a straightforward decision for any business to actively encourage reviews of your products and service on 3rd party review web sites like Trustpilot. Deep down you know you ought to give your customers a vehicle to openly and constructively comment on what you do but unless you are able to somehow “skew” the results you do leave your company open to the risk of negative feedback which in turn is likely to lead to fewer sales.

Of course the whole point of a trusted and independent 3rd party review site is that it does give an unbiased perspective on a business from real customers who have actually experienced the service (and or products) being sold. This then helps to inform other prospective customers and assists them in making their own buying decisions. So arguably if you do get poor or negative reviews and lots of them then you probably deserve it and prospective customers will and should take heed.

At USB2U we’ve amassed 2,500 reviews in a couple of years. Of course not every customer will leave a review but all are encouraged to do so and we don’t vet any before they are posted. Inevitably when you get this many reviews you’re going to pick up the odd one or two where we’ve dropped a catch and quite rightly our customers have let us know. Whilst we don’t like getting poor reviews (who does) where the customer is making a fair and reasonable point we do everything we can to put things right and learn from what went wrong.

USB Sticks from USB2U

USB Sticks from USB2U

Where review sites like Trustpilot are frustrating is when the results are “manipulated” by competitors. Some companies can achieve a certain “trust ranking” or score by just asking a handful of selected customers to post comments – this gets them a high ranking and then they stop. It’s interesting that we have competitors ranked closely to us who barely ask for (or get any reviews) but claim to be global companies with thousands of customers. Equally we know of others companies we compete with whose ex-staff have claimed they actively manipulate the results and reviews. Tut tut!

The problem with this is that the temptation to “manipulate” the results on sites like Trustpilot is high because the stakes are high – businesses live or die on their reputation and nowhere is a reputation more visible and exposed than on a high profile review site.

At USB2U we’ve always taken the view that we want lots of real reviews from real customers and because of this our team are encouraged to ask customers to post reviews. We obviously always hope for great feedback but we know that in an imperfect world we won’t always get things right. When we screw up we fix it and we focus on delivering a great experience. After 2,500 reviews and with an overall ranking of “Excellent” and a “Trust Score of 9.6 out of 10 we’re reasonably happy. Clearly there is still room for improvement but at least anyone looking at our reviews can be confident of their legitimacy.

Share

Best Time to Buy Your Promotional USB Flash Drives is NOW

Posted by USB2U on 9th December 2014 | Permalink

As Christmas approaches you’re no doubt thinking about your own shopping and what presents to buy for friends and family. In the run up to Christmas personal shopping tends to take centre stage. Even if your job is to source promotional products for your company for 2015 it can be difficult to focus on work acquisitions when the pressure to make sure you get “just the right” gift for you loved ones looms large.

However to ignore the buying opportunity in the market now for items like printed USB memory sticks (printed with your company logo on) is likely to be expensive. Maybe not expensive for you personally but expensive for your company who will pay more for any USB sticks purchased in January rather than December.

The smart, savvy buyer will know that the pricing of USB Memory Sticks follows broadly the same trend every year and they will pick their moment to get the maximum return for their spend. There are two “windows” every year when pricing is low and that is now (in the run up to Christmas and the end of January) and in the summer.

USB Flash Drives

Promotional USB Flash Drives

Pricing is historically low now because there is less demand (the Christmas effect). The factories in China that manufacture flash memory have already sold and shipped their Christmas stock and as a consequence there is an over capacity of production capability and stock. But, leave it too late and things take a dramatic turn and the reason is Chinese New Year.

In 2015 most USB flash memory stick factories will stop taking orders in mid to late January in preparation for their annual two week closure to celebrate the New Year. So, there is a buyers “sweet spot” from now until mid-January. As you might expect the laws of supply and demand are driving this and as we get closer to the factory closures the prices and panic levels rise!

Our advice, and we say this every year, is to buy now. We understand that not everyone has budgets released until the New Year but we can work with you on that. We’re happy to take orders now and lock in your price at today’s rate and only invoice you next year when your budget is available. If you’re good for terms (and we offer terms to the majority of our customers) then you won’t even have to pay for them until February 2015!

Go on – get ahead of the pack and bag yourself a bargain and reduce your stress levels at the same time. Trust us – buying promotional USB flash drives at any point around Chinese New Year is not for the faint hearted.

Share

Don’t Send a Christmas Card – Send a USB Card

Posted by USB2U on 5th December 2014 | Permalink

Will your business be sending Christmas Cards to your customers this year? It’s a long standing tradition for businesses but how many that continue to send them really stand back and evaluate the benefit they get popping a Christmas card in the post every year. After all with postage costs increasing all the time (even for 2nd class mail) it’s not exactly cheap anymore.

Having said that is sending a card really about reinforcing the relationship with your customer, telling that you still appreciate their continued business and hoping that they’ll continue to trade with you or is it merely good manners. If it’s the latter then whilst it’s a noble gesture is it a gesture you can really afford in today’s financial climate – doesn’t every penny of business expenditure need to be fully justified and accounted for. Too much like a Bah Humbug sentiment for you?

USB Cards for Christmas

USB Cards for Christmas

If you one of the tens of thousands of businesses that are going to send a Christmas card to their customers this year (regardless of the cost and regardless of any payback they might deliver) then you might just want to stop and consider for a minute whether you should send a USB card instead. A few years ago this option would have been a non-starter for most but with prices plummeting over the last year you can now get fully branded and personalised USB Cards for about the cost of a regular Christmas card!

The benefits of a USB Christmas Card over the regular type are:

  1. They can be fully personalised with your company brand, logo and message – we can even put a unique message or name on every card for you.
  2. They are only 2mm thick and very light so they can be sent out in a standard sized envelope for minimal cost (lots of cards now attract “large letter” postage charges)
  3. The real value add of a USB Card is that they can be loaded with loads of information about your company, you can put your own personal greeting on the card (video, audio message, PowerPoint message – all sort of things)
  4. Most cards are at least 4GB which means they’ll offer great storage options to the recipient meaning they’ll probably keep and use the card after Christmas is over. So unlike conventional cards that will end up in the bin in early January a USB card is not necessarily for life but it will have a life and use well after the festive season is over.

It’s not too late to order these for this year – at USB2U we carry thousands in stock and we can print and deliver in as little as 24hrs. We can even management the fulfilment for you as well if you want.

Share

USB Condom – Keeping you Safe

Posted by USB2U on 4th December 2014 | Permalink

Come on own up how many times have you had unprotected power ups from a 3rd party USB port. You know the scenario your smart phone is on its last legs and you urgently need to connect it to something, anything, just to give you a quick blast of power to satisfy your hunger for more social interactions.

Of course we all know that plugging our smart phone (or tablets) into any random USB port just to give it a power boost is risky (don’t we?). The problem is that when you connect your phone or tablet into using a USB cable you’re not just saying “please charge me” you’re also saying (whether you realise it or not) oh I while I’m connected feel free to help yourself to whatever data you fancy on my phone or tablet!!

Any USB cable that you use to charge your smartphone is designed to do two things – transfer data and transfer power. At the moment you can’t get one without the other because both functions are built into a single six strand cable. Even more worrying is that the data-transfer is two way so not only do you put your data at risk of being copied but you could find that malware is transferred to your phone or tablet – Oh the price of a quick, cheap charge!

It’s not impossible to see a scenario where some unscrupulous people might deploy fake charging stations purely to harvest data from unsuspecting users.

There are two simple ways to protect yourself:

  • Don’t ever plug your smartphone or tablet into any PC or charging station (via USB) unless you are absolutely sure that it’s safe to do so.
  • If you absolutely have to plug in to a 3rd party source the use a USB Condom.
Xipiter USB Condom

Xipiter USB Condom

What on earth is a USB Condom I hear you asking yourself! Well, some very clever people at Xipiter have developed a handy little device that you plug your USB cable in before you connect it to any untrusted PC or charging station. The USB Condom (aka SyncStop) blocks access to the data wires in a standard USB cable but still allows the power cables – effectively it puts a safe sheath over the end of the USB connector, hence the reference to it as a “Condom”.

Xipiter is currently raising funding via KickStarter so if you want to jump on board early the go check them out. In the meantime have fun but stay safe when charging.

Share

Are you paying enough for your Promotional USB Memory Sticks?

Posted by USB2U on 2nd December 2014 | Permalink

We know it’s a bit of a strange question but it’s a question posed in all seriousness. If you’re primary objective when going out for quotes for promotional USB memory sticks is to get the best possible unit price then you need to do so with a very clear understanding of the potential risks you are taking.

Buying purely based on price and price alone is risky and it’s particularly risky when it comes to buying flash drives. The problem with these particular products is that it’s not what on the outside that counts which means you can be sent (or shown on a website) lots of lovely images of USB memory sticks printed with a logo on but what you’re looking at is the outer case only. The case (or shell as the factories refer to it) is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and pretty easy to be made to look good. But, the real value is what’s on the inside – if you want you USB sticks to perform and last (or even work from the get go) you need to make sure that under the skin are good quality components, e.g. Grade A flash memory and Grade A Controller chips.

The big problem is that even if you ask for re-assurances that the cheap price you’ve been given includes Grade A components the stock answer tends to be “Yes we only ever use Grade A components” – so how do you know? How really know when comparing prices that you are comparing on a true like for like basis? The honest answer is you don’t know and you won’t know until your order arrives and even then you’ll only know if you thoroughly test them and you know what tests to do and how to interpret the results.

Capless Twister Style USB Memory Sticks

Capless Twister Style USB Memory Sticks

To avoid being scammed (because this is what it is) we strongly recommend that you buy from a trusted supplier (check 3rd party review websites, check Goole Earth to see where their offices are – you’d be surprised how many so called “leading suppliers” operate from a back bedroom, check companies house and check the Terms and Conditions of supply and what options you have to return your order if things go wrong!).

Remember that when you buy promotional USB memory sticks with your brand/logo on they immediately become mini ambassadors for your company and as such you want them to look good and perform. What you don’t want is for them to fail, to corrupt any data loaded onto them or even worse to damage any PC or Mac they are plugged into!

It’s incredibly tempting to always go with the cheapest price you get but like most things in life you ultimately get what you pay for and saving a few pennies on something that is going to carry your brand is not always the best option.

At USB2U you’re in safe hands. We’re in our thirteenth year of trading (most of them selling USB products and specifically printed flash drives), we’re based in Northampton in the UK, over 2,500 real customer reviews (good and bad) on Trustpilot, thousands of reference customers across all industry sectors, a dedicated team of 20 staff, a QA process that is second to none and we don’t take any payment up-front when you place your order and for a significant proportion of our customers we offer 30-day payment terms!

Share

Unlike our USB Credit Cards the Real Versions are taking a Hammering Today!

Posted by USB2U on 1st December 2014 | Permalink

With Experian predicting that consumers will spend £451,000 a minute today it’s a pretty safe bet to say that credit cards are going to take the brunt of the punishment! Let’s hope the website of the leading retailers (and the payment companies that handle the on-line transactions) can cope today otherwise we’ll be in for another day of frustration and carnage.

If your shopping today is restricted to buying promotional USB flash drives for your company’s next marketing campaign then hopefully we can help you with a slightly more relaxed shopping experience. We’ve got over 100 different styles of memory sticks on our web site and lots of them we hold in stock in the UK so we print (or engrave) them to order and deliver them in a day or two (not weeks). By managing most of our orders in the UK we have much greater control over the quality of the finished product and more importantly we don’t expose quite so many customers to the risks of flying in their orders from China.

With the political turmoil in Hong Kong escalating we’re getting increasingly nervous about the knock on effect on our time critical shipments. Our levels of anxiety are not helped by the extra scrutiny that Chinese customs are now enforcing on all shipments! Equally the regular delays to consignments entrusted to international freight handlers like UPS are making life just a little difficult. Now is not a good time to be a “just in time” importer or a shopper trying to bag a pre-Christmas bargain!

USB Credit Cards

USB Credit Cards

Our advice is to de-stress your life (and to some degree ours) by ordering your promotional flash drives from the range we hold in the UK. This includes our USB Credit Card model which we can offer in a range of different memory sizes and which we can print in full colour on both sides (with full colour bleed to the edge of the card). They come in a range of different memory sizes and not only can we turn them around in just 24hrs but we can also pre-load any data you might have onto them as well (at the same time).

As a finishing touch they can be supplied in a leather like printed (or embossed) wallet. These add only pennies to your order but they’re a great way to elevate the overall impact the cards make when they are handed out.

USB Credit Card Wallets

USB Credit Card Wallets

Share

Where Can You Get Printed or Engraved Flash Drives Delivered in 24hrs

Posted by USB2U on 19th November 2014 | Permalink

Pfft – we spit in the eye of delivery promises of 6 days. If you need your flash drives printed, data-loaded and delivered quickly then quickly is what we do! We don’t mess around talking days we prefer to talk in terms of hours. So, if you find yourself (for whatever reason) of needing some last minute promotional drives then firstly don’t panic and secondly pick up the phone and call us (or submit a quick quote enquiry via our web site and we’ll get back to you in 15 mins or less).

We’re based in Northampton in the UK. We hold tens of thousands of different USB sticks in stock in a wide range of styles and memory capacities and we print or engrave IN-HOUSE. No outsourcing to a local printer, no restricting you to one type of product and limited memory size options – we always have stock and we control the process from start to finish using our own team and as a consequence we can (and frequently do) take orders in the afternoon for delivery the next day across the UK, Europe and the USA. Don’t believe us then check out the reviews from thousands of happy customers on Trustpilot (many of whom will make reference to how blown away they were with the speed at which we delivered their order). Here are just a few examples from the last few days:

Beyond the ordinary!

We needed some premium usb sticks in presentation boxes for an event. The production team were even able to make up x100 usb sticks and boxes within 5 hours! To meet our tight deadline – which is beyond what is advertised on their website. I am very grateful and they look superb.

Great service and very speedy turnaround

Very impressed with the service from USB2U. Within 24 hours we had our USBs – they look great, the process was very easy, and everyone we dealt with was extremely happy. We’ll definitely buy from them again.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy !

The ordering process was very simple and the attention to detail excellent. It was an urgent requirement and the sticks arrived promptly.

So, if you have been challenged to find someone who you can trust to deliver a last minute requirement for USB memory sticks with your logo printed on them and with your data files pre-loaded onto them then please do get in touch. It doesn’t matter if your based in the UK, the USA or Timbuktu providing UPS deliver there on a next day service and providing you get in touch reasonably early in the day (ideally before 2pm) then we can normally help.

USB2U - Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks

USB2U – Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks

Share

New Home Sales Supported By USB Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 17th November 2014 | Permalink

Over the last couple of years it’s been interesting to see how many estate agents and builders have started using USB flash drives as a way of marketing their houses and new developments.

We’re not suggesting for a minute that this is part of a trend that will see all marketing of home move to flash drives in preference to traditional paper brochures, the web and the local newspaper but, they clearly do have a place in the mix of marketing options available. After all, we have to assume that where they have been used that they’ve been successful because in many cases the same agents and developers come back time and time again to place repeat orders.

Large national builders with lots of housing stock to move are using USB flash drives with their logo printed on as a “hand-out” or “give-away” in their shows homes or at prime sites where there is a good footfall of people that match the demographic of their target customer – think major housing developer with promotional staff handing out flash drives in the hundreds at the exit of Dockland light railway stations (which just happen to be adjacent to a development they are marketing!).

USB Sticks for Property Developers

USB Sticks for Property Developers

By pre-loading the flash drives with lots of interactive media including individual property details, prices, floor plans, video clips, links to their website and social media pages together with lot of information of the local area (amenities and schools etc.) the developers are able to impart lots of information quickly and relatively cheaply and they do so in a way that is easy to receive.

The real beauty of putting all of this on a flash drive rather than just printing it (apart from the obvious weight, costs and environmental benefits) is that people find it incredibly hard to throw them away – brochures that are handed out have a nasty habit of being stuffed in the next bin but flash drives, particularly those that have a reasonable amount of storage space on them are typically kept and used!

So rather than being an expensive marketing gimmick developers and agents have quickly learnt that used correctly and with the right amount of information pre-loaded onto them, that promotional USB sticks can be a strong addition to any sales and marketing program.

Arguably the same is true when selling any high value product but the housing market, and specifically the sector involved in the sale of new developments to your city types is one that has tapped into the opportunity with some gusto.

Share