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Archive for 2011

Just Like Christmas Presents USB Sticks Are Best Given Wrapped Up

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Suggesting that promotional USB sticks are given out in gift boxes is always contentious because everyone these days is very aware of the need to protect the environment and to avoid unnecessary packaging where at all possible.

Custom USB Boxes

Custom USB Boxes

But, if you are giving away your USB flash drives as a gift then there is a judgment to be made about whether the small additional cost of a gift box is a price worth paying – both in cost terms and also in terms of environmental impact.

There is no getting away from the fact that USB sticks make a bigger, better impact when handed out in a printed gift box. It just looks like more thought has gone into the gift and anyone given the gift is going to be more impressed with the gift and they are therefore more likely to remember who gave it to them and think positively about any brand associated with it.

Custom Flash Drive Boxes

Custom Flash Drive Boxes

Very few people would consider handing out their Christmas or Birthday gifts without first wrapping them up so it is surprising how many businesses give out promotional gifts without considering the packaging options.

There are a wide range of standard gift boxes and tins available for custom USB sticks. They can call be overprinted with a brand or message and typically they will come with a custom foam insert to hold the USB sticks firmly in place.

The incremental cost to get your flash drives supplied in a printed gift box is relatively small and it’s a price well worth paying for greater impact you’ll make.

Understandably for some businesses who have an strong environmental message to push, packaging and gift boxes is a going to be a non-starter, but for everyone else they ought to be considered.

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10 Years On Some Of The Old Classic Custom USB Sticks Are Still Popular

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

We’re now in our 10th year of supplying USB flash drives and surprisingly some of the custom USB flash drive models we used to sell right at the start of the company are still being sold today.

Oval Classic USB

Oval Classic USB

They might not be being sold in quite the same numbers that they used to but we still get the occasional order for these classic custom USB drives. Part of their enduring appeal is that they’re a little larger than many of the newer (smaller) models, the core piece that carries the print (or engraving) is made from tactile brushed aluminium and when they’re printed they look fantastic.

The slightly larger physical size of these classic USB sticks gives a little more scope for printing larger and more complex images. The outer “trim colour” that runs around the edge of the USB drive can also be changed to compliment the colour of any logo or design printed.

Harbour Classic USB

Harbour Classic USB

If you’re a fan of “old school” USB flash drives then the “Harbour” or “Oval” models that we sell will be right up your street.

If you want something a little more contemporary but you need the drive to accommodate a large or complex print then you might want to consider the new USB Credit Cards – these are super thin at only 2mm thick, they are the same shape as a standard bank or credit card and you can print on the whole surface area on both sides of the card.

Despite being only 2mm thick these USB Credit Cards are available in all the standard memory sizes up to a whopping 32GB.

Whether you order classic style USB sticks or any of our more contemporary models remember that we offer free design, free mock-up’s free samples, free 4 colour printing, free gift boxes and free delivery to any address in the UK.

If you’ve not ordered from us before you might want to check out what some of our customers are saying about us on the TrustPilot review website.

USB Credit Cards

USB Credit Cards

Interested? Give us a call or fill out the on-line quote enquiry form and we’ll get back to you in a flash!

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Expected Promotional USB Flash Drive Trends In 2012

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Well 2011 has certainly been a busy year in the promotional USB flash drive market. The popularity of the flash drive as a promotional give-away was reinforced not only by the sheer number of companies that have bought them but by a solid piece of market research undertake by the BPMA (British Promotional Merchandising Association).

Of all the people surveyed by the BPMA nearly half (45%) said they would most like to receive a USB stick in preference to any other promotional product. Usefulness was cited as the primary reason for wanting a USB stick and after a Promotional Mug USB memory sticks were kept the longest.

Having proven their “promotional pedigree” over the past few years in 2012 the expected trends for this popular produce are likely to be:

  1. Continued increase in the number of units sold – it seems people, businesses and schools just can’t get enough of USB Flash Drives.
  2. Continued cannibalisation of the CD/DVD market – these old storage products are now considered “dated” and simply don’t convey the right image as a medium for handing out data.
  3. The Twister or “Swivel” model as it is sometimes referred to is predicted to top seller again. It’s held this position
    Promotional USB Sticks

    Promotional USB Sticks

    for a number of years now because it’s a small, capless and colourful product that takes print well.

  4. Memory will get cheaper and the default promotional USB drive given away by the end of 2012 will have at least 4GB of storage compared to the typical 1GB drive that is given away now.
  5. USB 3.0 (also dubbed SuperSpeed USB) will start to gain momentum during 2012. Intel’s entry into the market in early 2012 will mean that most PC’s from the summer of 2012 will ship with USB 3.0 on-board. This will drive demand fore USB 3.0 peripherals and storage products.
  6. Custom (fully bespoke) USB flash drives will grow in popularity as the price differential between them and a “standard factory” design reduces.
  7. More customers will take advantage of pre-loading the USB flash drives with their own content (sales brochures, media files, web links etc.)  before the USB sticks are handed out.

Unfortunately we also expect to see more fraud and more sales of “masked” and sub-standard USB flash drives. The growth in the market is encouraging more companies to try and cut corners and buy from sites like Alibaba or direct from China. This is fine if you have the time to undertake appropriate checks and you’re confident you have a way of getting your money back should things go wrong otherwise it can be very risky. Don’t become a fraud statistic in 2012.

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Promotional USB Flash Drives Will Be In Short Supply During Chinese New Year

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Chinese New Year is coming at us like a steam train and pretty soon it’s going to be too late to avoid the mayhem it causes to the promotional USB flash drive market.

We say it every year and every year we end up with disappointed customers who wanted a specific USB flash drive and in a particular pantone matched colour. In 2012, the Year of the Dragon, the holiday break is going to be even longer than normal with lots of factories closing from the 6th January to the 4th February – during this period nothing gets produced and nothing gets shipped. Nada, zip, nothing!!

Even when the factories return to work it take a week or so before things start to get back to “normal” but there are always the inevitable backlogs to deal with so typical leads times of 7-10 days can be stretched to several weeks.

Promotional USB Flash Drives

Promotional USB Flash Drives

If you know you have an event, show, seminar, press launch or any other activity for which you need printed or promotional USB flash drives during January to mid-February then you need to be placing your orders now! Don’t put it off because Christmas is looming or you think you’ll be able to “sort it out” in the New Year because you might find you can’t.

Having been through the trauma of Chinese New Year factory shut-downs for the last 9 years we now do all we can to ensure continuity of supply to our customers even it the supply is limited to a small number of flash drive models and colours. But, with a limited supply in the market and lots of customers chasing the stock the tendency is for the prices to shoot up (partly because UK print costs are higher and partly because of usual supply/demand economics) – so, whilst you may find some stock your model choices, colour choices and memory size choices are likely to be very limited and you’ll end up paying a premium for your failure to plan ahead.

Without wishing to sound like a broken record we strongly urge anyone who is likely to want printed USB sticks to plan ahead now and get any order(s) in early. You don’t have to pay for them when you order them, you’ll get exactly what you want and you’ll save yourself money – pretty compelling arguments to get any internal (early) approvals you might need.

Understandably this is not always possible but at least armed with an understanding of the issues/challenges you can hopefully find a way to work with the situation.

If you are too late then don’t forget that USB2U hold thousands of USB sticks in stock and can deliver them (printed) in as little as 24hrs – you may have to compromise a little on model and colour but at least you’ll have something!

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The Promise of USB 3.0 Looks More Certain in 2012

Friday, December 16th, 2011

USB 3.0 or SuperSpeed USB as it is often referred to has gotten off to a bit of a sluggish start but the announcement this week by the USB Implementers Forum that Intel’s new “Ivy Bridge” 7 Series Chipset has achieved USB 3.0 certification is likely give it a real shot in the arm in 2012.

Superspeed USB has been so named because it delivers a 10 fold increase in data transfer speeds compared to the current USB 2.0 standard but to achieve these speeds everything from the PC, to the cable to the peripheral or storage device connected to the PC must support the USB 3.0 standard.

Whilst we’ve seen a number of smaller PC manufacturers launch PC’s with USB 3.0 on-board the lack of any Intel based

USB 3.0

USB 3.0

solution has held the market back. The market needs Intel to deliver 3.0 support to drive competition and to bring USB 3.0 prices down.

Some sceptics have also suggested that the Intel has been dragging its heels to allow its own high-speed connection technology called Thunderbolt to get established. Thunderbolt is twice as fast of USB 3.0 and is a joint development with Apple on whose products it is already being shipped.

Mainstream PC’s with Intel’s Ivy Bridge chips onboard and support for Superspeed USB 3.0 are expected to start hitting the shops in May/June 2012. From this point on things will start to get interesting because all of a sudden USB 3.0 will be within reach of most people buying a PC, in fact within a few months it will be the de facto standard on any PC purchased.

With Intel’s support in 2012, USB 3.0 will move into the mainstream and the peripherals and cables that we use with our PC’s will also start to move over to the new Superspeed standard. It won’t happen overnight because un the short term USB 3.0 products will inevitably carry a price premium but within a couple of years USB 3.0 will just be the expected standard and referred to not as USB 3.0 but USB.

For the Promotional USB Flash Drive sector there is unlikely mass change to USB 3.0 flash drives simply because in the short term (next 12-18 mths) they will carry a price premium that most companies won’t want to pay for a “give-away” product. Equally, there is little point paying for a premium high-speed product until you are sure that most people you give them to are able to benefit from the higher speeds on offer. We’re some years away from the ubiquitous use of USB 3.0 and until that time or until the factories stop manufacturing USB 2.0 sticks the standard for promotional USB flash drives will be USB 2.0 – after all, these will still work on USB 3.0 PC’s they just won’t work at the high data transfer speeds.

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Merry Christmas from the Team at USB2U

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Wow, this year has been fantastic – It’s been great to see so many customers return to us during 2011 and for thousands of new customers to place their orders for promotional USB flash drives with us. Thank you. We really do appreciate your business and the faith you continue to place in us to deliver your flash drives.

With Christmas fast approaching we’d like to wish everyone a fantastic festive holiday and a great New Year! Hopefully we’ll see you all again in 2012 with lots of new orders for promotional and customised USB flash drives.

Happy Christmas from USB2U

Happy Christmas from USB2U

We have some exciting new products and services to announce in January so please do keep an eye on our web site or better still follow us on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/usb2u) for all the latest news, industry analysis and some great offers!

In addition to some new products and services that we’ll unveil early in 2012 some core things about the service we provide won’t change including:

  • Free UK Delivery**
  • Free Design and Mock-up service
  • Free 4 colour print**
  • Free standard gift boxes
  • Free data-load of up to 200MB
  • Low minimum order quantity of 25 pcs
  • Your own dedicated account manager
  • Some of the best prices in the UK/Europe

All of this is backed up by our meticulous attention to detail, our determination to be the absolute best at what we do and our absolute commitment to ensure our customers are happy with the promotional USB flash drives we supply.

We intend to let our hair down and have a bit of fun over Christmas – hopefully you can do the same and after the festivities are over we’ll look forward to working with you all again.

**Excludes our UK rush service

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Fake Goods (Including Fake USB Sticks) Flood The Market

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Tell us something we didn’t know. Today the BBC quoted the Home Office Minister Damian Green as saying fakes cost British firms billions of pounds each year and admitted those behind them were very hard to catch.

“If it seems too good to be true – it probably is,” he said.

“It’s a business that costs Britain £1.3bn a year and it’s really serious at this time of the year when people are doing lots of shopping, especially online shopping.”

The general thrust of his message is that “across the board someone somewhere is trying to con you by trying to sell you some counterfeit goods.” In doing so they will attempt to evade duty and VAT and potentially put consumers at risk by importing potentially dangerous and unregulated products.

Unfortunately we’re seeing more and more of this is the promotional USB memory stick market.

Some suppliers (and we know this because we often have to pick up the pieces) offer what they claim to be Grade A, Hynix or Samsung flash drives only to then supply flash drives that are assembled using recycled or Grade B flash memory chips. Sometimes they’ll also have cheap flash controllers inside and increasingly they’re being made using “masked” USB flash memory chips – this is where a rejected flash chip of say 600MB has been “masked” to look like a 1GB!

Externally these fake and substandard flash drives look great and they might even come with a lifetime guarantee but, it’s only when you use the flash drives that you’ll notice how slow they are, how many failures you get and how data seems to magically “disappear” after its been loaded (this is common with masked flash drives). They also have a nasty habit of failing after just a couple of months and if you try and claim against the lifetime guarantee you’ll often find you can’t get hold of the company you bought them from.

Suppliers (and we use this term loosely in this context) get away with sending out these flash drives because they know in lots of cases they’ll be given away at trade shows and people won’t care if a few fail (ironically it can be a very high percentage that fail but because they’re given away free no real data is collected).

Our advice is really just the same as the Minister’s – “Check, double check and check again to make sure what you are buying and where you are buying from is the real deal,” he says

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Daily Christmas Offers From USB2U – Check Out Our Advent Calendar

Monday, December 5th, 2011

We’ve decided to get into the Christmas spirit early this yeas so in the run up to Christmas we’re running a whole series of special offers and prize giveaways. All of the details of the offers and the offer codes will be revealed on our Advent Calendar.

Our advent calendar is dead easy to use – simply click on the window that matches the date to reveal the offer of the day. There’s no registration needed – you simply claim your offer or gift by mentioning the Gift Code when you send you quote request in or when you speak to one of our account managers.

USB2U Advent Calendar

USB2U Advent Calendar

To give you a taster of what’s going to be on offer the daily deals will include

  • Unlimited data-loading on your USB sticks (any size of data will be loaded by us using our professional data loading machines) – we usually charge for any data over 200MB so if you have particularly large files to pre-load onto your USB sticks this an offer that is well worth watching out for.
  • Special discounts on certain memory sizes or types of USB flash drive.
  • Free pantone matching – match the body colour of the USB stick to one of the colours from your logo or choose a colour that will help your logo stand-out. Colour matching usually costs around £50 so if it’s something you’re interested in then keep an eye out for which window this will be behind.
  • Free 16GB USB Flash Drives with every order.

If you don’t think you’ll remember to go to our Advent Calendar everyday then you could follow up on Twitter where we’ll be posting out the offer of the day every day!

Now’s a good time to buy your promotional USB Flash Drives because not only will you be able to take advantage of these cracking deals but you’ll avoid the scramble for USB sticks that takes place every year in January when the factories in China that produce them close to celebrate Chinese New Year.

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Public sector strike closes 85% of schools – how can branded flash drives help?

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

    The majority of UK schools have closed today due to the national public sector strike. Whether you agree with the action or not, this has left working parents desperately seeking childcare and a way to keep them occupied with meaningful education activities. One of the tools that some progressive schools have used to minimise the impact of this is to upload home learning activities onto school Branded Flash Drives. This will allow pupils to access personalised learning tasks and return them for marking.
    There are plenty of other reasons why Brand Memory sticks are so valuable for schools:

    • It allows students to transport information between home and school without the need to carry heavy and expensive text books.
    • Internet research can be stored on the Branded Memory Stick saving on printing.
    • It allows schools to keep their own networks and storage space to a minimum. Some schools only have dumb workstations, with no local memory so Branded Memory Sticks would allow the information to be stored.
    • Staff can take information home to mark and check and auto correct.
    • Branded Memory sticks are a great incentive / reward for pupils for achieving certain milestones.
    • PTAs could consider selling the memory sticks to parents as a fund raising activity.
    • It helps students embrace technology, which will be an important part of their future careers.
    • Each Branded Memory stick can have pupils name or a unique serial number printed on, so if they do get misplaced they can be returned.
    • If the information to be stored on Branded Memory Sticks is sensitive a password or encryption can be added.

    As this lists illustrate there are many advantages for schools and colleagues embracing Branded Memory sticks.

    USB Flash Drive on Public Sector Strike

    USB Flash Drive on Public Sector Strike

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    Drive Your Sales With USB Keys

    Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

    Are your sales are faltering or just in need a bit of a boost? Have your got a new product or service that you’re about to launch or perhaps you’re looking for something to help draw potential customers to your stand at a show or event?

    If any of the above apply to you then one of the best ways to increase the awareness of who you are, what you do or sell and hopefully drive your sales is to give your customers (and prospective customers) something for free. Ideally this “something” needs to be relevant, it needs to have a perceived high value and it needs to be useful enough for the recipient to want it and to want to use it on an on-gong basis.

    USB Pens

    USB Pens

    There are of course plenty of promotional products to consider including caps, mugs, pens, toys, chocolates, keyrings, umbrellas and T-shirts but the most popular promotional product of 2011 has been the USB flash memory drive – A survey carried out by the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) on behalf of its members earlier this year found that 45% of the respondents considered the USB sticks the best to be the best product with 64% ranking them the most useful (64%).

    USB flash drives not only look fantastic when printed or engraved with a logo but they can also be pre-loaded with sales and marketing material, dynamic links to web sites, media files, presentation files and so on.

    USB Flash Drives

    USB Flash Drives

    USB flash drives are a little more expensive than some of the other available options and they won’t be the right choice for every product, trade show or PR event but continued re-use which in turn generates brand awareness, brand loyalty and which then hopefully creates a brand advocate is exactly what you want.

    Combine this effect with the benefits of distributing large amounts of sales and marketing material without the usual print and transportation costs and you begin to understand why USB flash drives are so popular.

    Equipping your sales force with branded flash drives to hand out as they met their customers is a nice touch and a great way to enable them to “thank” their customers for their previous support.

    There are loads of great looking USB flash drives to choose from these days and the lead time to get them is now a matter of days rather than weeks so, if you are looking give a “shot in the arm” to your sales before Christmas or you need help with a product launch then USB Flash Drive Keys might just be the answer.

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