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Archive for the ‘promotional flash drives’ Category

Buy Your Promotional USB Sticks Now Whilst Prices Are Cheap

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

If you’re looking to buy promotional USB memory sticks for use in early 2014 then you might want to think about buying them now.  The reason is simple – they’re cheap at the moment but the current dip in prices is unlikely to last.

We’ve been supplying promotional USB sticks for the last 11 years and we see a fall in prices around this time every year and every year we advise customers to take advantage of the opportunity to buy early and save themselves a chunk of money. For budgetary reasons, sign-off reasons and because it just seems too early, many customers cannot commit to buy and understandably some sceptics think we’re just trying to drive sales (which of course to some degree we are).

The reality is that December always sees factory prices fall – it’s because it’s the “quiet period” when flash products for Christmas goods have already been manufactured and sold and it’s a few weeks ahead of the Chinese New Year when prices rocket because of the China “closedown”.

Promotional USB Memory Stick Prices Set to Rise

Promotional USB Memory Stick Prices Set to Rise

This year the impact on prices is even more pronounced because USB memory sticks and flash memory are traded in US Dollars ($) and at the moment the USD ($) is falling against the GBP (£) – over the last couple of months its dropped nearly 10% against the GBP (£) which has a direct impact on the price paid for Promotional USB Memory Sticks.

By way of illustration you can currently buy 500 x 8GB promotional USB sticks for well under £3.00 per stick!! To be clear that includes the printing (or engraving), a dataload and a simple white gift box for each USB stick. There are no other “hidden” costs of delivery costs. Less than £3.00 each for an 8GB USB Stick!

History suggests that between now and late January the core price of USB sticks will increase by 10% and of course if the USD ($) recovers then this could add another  5% – 10%. So, worst case the 500 X 8GB sticks could end up costing another £300 more in 4-6 weeks time.

So, if you can buy your promotional USB sticks now, or at least get your order in now then not only will you save yourself a few pounds but you won’t be rushing around at the last minute (in the midst of all the Chinese New Year madness) trying to find a supplier that can deliver the sticks you want, when you need them and for the budget you have.

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Buy Your Promotional USB Sticks Now Whilst Prices Are Cheap

USB Memory Sticks Replace CD’s and DVD’s but is Cloud Storage the Next Shift

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Over the last 10 years USB memory sticks have evolved from being an early adopter, niche product, to the default way in which many of us now back up and carry our data around with us. CD’s and DVD’s are now all but dead with USB sticks being the default option albeit “cloud based” back-up solutions are starting to challenge the need for any form of physical medium.

The move from CD’s to DVD’s to USB memory sticks is a paradigm shift not unlike the move from film based photography to digital photography but how long will it be before the dominance of USB sticks is threatened.  The huge growth in the sale of tablets and smart phones (neither of which typically have USB ports) combined with faster and more reliable broadband and 4G solutions could accelerate the move from USB sticks to cloud based back-up solutions like Drop Box.

But, one area where the sale of USB memory sticks remains strong is in the promotional gift sector. Companies looking for a relatively inexpensive give-away with their brand/logo printed onto it are increasingly choosing promotional USB memory sticks – the primary reasons for this are:

  • USB Sticks have a high perceived value
  • They are well received and highly regarded as a promotional give away
  • Unlike pretty much any other promotional product they can be pre-loaded with lots of useful information in the form of promotional videos, sales brochures, tech sheets, price lists and links to Social Media and web sites.
  • They’re inexpensive – prices start at less than £2 per USB stick (fully printed or engraved and pre-loaded with data)
  • There a lots of different models and designs to choose from and they all look excellent printed up with a logo/design
  • They can be combined with a wide range of accessories and attractive gift boxes – all of which reinforce any brand printed on them and all add to the perceived value of the “gift” when handed out.
  • When brochures and other sales material that is normally printed and handed out is save electronically onto them then significant costs savings on print and distribution can be made.
Promotional USB Memory Sticks - The Popular Twister Model

Promotional USB Memory Sticks - The Popular Twister Model

So whilst USB sticks will come under increased pressure from cloud storage options for now at least their future as a promotional gift seems pretty much assured – after all you can’t really generate much excitement and warmth when you hand out a URL for your customers  to go and download your sales material.

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USB Memory Sticks Replace CD’s and DVD’s but is Cloud Storage the Next Shift

Cheap Promotional USB Sticks Can Be a False Economy

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Everyone likes a bargain and it’s no different when people are shopping around for promotional USB memory sticks. The problem is when you get the prices back from the various suppliers you’ve approached how can you be sure that you’re really comparing like to like. We’re in our 11th year of supplying USB sticks and other USB products and at times we find it hard so if you’re buying them for the first time it’s incredibly easy to get bamboozled and quite frankly it’s easy to get ripped off.

Of course everyone you get quotes from is going to say that they are only supplying “new”, “Grade A” top quality products with a guarantee that’s as long as the sentence handed out to Bradley Manning by in the US this week. But, the reality is that whilst USB flash drives might look the same on the outside it’s what under the skin of them that really matters. So unless you are willing to take your USB sticks apart when they arrive it really is an act of faith that you are getting what was promised when you placed your order.

There are a few basic things you can do to protect yourself and your company – after all it’s going to be your company’s brand that’s printed on the USB sticks so if they do fail then it’s going to be your brand that takes the hit and not the brand of the USB supplier!

Our advice is as follows:

Buy Local – Of course we’re bound to say it but we strongly recommend that you buy from a local reputable supplier that has a proven and visible track record of delivery and happy customers. There are loads of review sites around today including sites like TrustPilot so use them to check what other customers are saying.

The added advantage of buying local (as opposed to buying directly from China) is that if things do go wrong then you have recourse in the UK. Trying to get a refund or resolution to a problem from a Chinese supplier you spotted on the web can be challenging to say the least!

Company checks – Do some basic checks on the company you’re planning to buy from. If you have access to Experian or Equifax run a company search. Check them out on Linkedin it’s surprising what information it can throw up.

Check the Terms & Conditions on Supply – Some companies write into their conditions that they can undersupply by as much as 5% of your order and you have no recourse.

Warranties – a lifetime warranty sound great providing the company offering it is still going to be around in 6mths or a year to honour it.

Basic Checks to do when your USB sticks arrive:

  1. Insert one into your PC or Mac and check the properties to make sure it’s the correct memory size.
  2. Load files onto the USB stick close to the stated maximum capacity of the USB stick
  3. Remove the USB stick and plug it into another PC and make sure the files you loaded are still there
  4. If they are not then it’s likely that you’ve been sold a “masked” USB stick– this basically means your say 2GB stick is only a 1GB stick that has been made to look like a 2GB. Send them back!

If you’re loading large images or videos it’s also worth checking several to make sure they have loaded properly – If the sticks have been made using cheap sub-standard components then images can have lots of white lines across them and videos either won’t work or will be very jerky.

In summary when deciding where to place your order for promotional USB memory sticks don’t just go by the headline price unless you do so in the full knowledge of the possible consequences. Ideally choose a company that has an establish pedigree and can point to lots of repeat business and will offer guarantees and warranties on their products that have some meaningful recourse.

Buying on price and price alone is an easy option but to do so is to ignore the complexities and risks of what should, on the face of it, be a simple and safe transaction.

USB2U - Your Trusted Supplier for Promotional USB Memory Sticks

USB2U - Your Trusted Supplier for Promotional USB Memory Sticks

 

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Cheap Promotional USB Sticks Can Be a False Economy

Promotional USB Cards with a Removable USB Stick

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

One of the more popular promotional USB products to hit the market over the last couple of years has been the USB card. The early versions of these were all credit card shaped but they were much thicker than a standard credit or bank card at around 4-5mm. The latest versions are now super slim at just 2mm and they can be printed in full colour across the whole surface of the card (front and back) which makes them an ideal marketing tool.

Compared to standard USB memory sticks where you can typically only print on a small part of the stick the USB cards look great because every square millimetre of the card can be printed on and because the surface is nice and flat the results look stunning!

Different Styles of USB Cards

Different Styles of USB Cards

But it’s not just the thickness of these cards that has changed. The new cards are now available in a range of different shapes; squares, circles, ovals, triangles and rectangles. These new options throw up all sorts of interesting branding ideas – we’ve already produced USB Maltesers on the circular USB cards, USB condoms packs on the square USB cards, car badges on the oval cards and name badges on the mini rectangular USB cards!

The innovation hasn’t stopped with the increasing thinness and shape of the cards – we now have a new version of the USB credit card where the USB connector can be removed from the “host” card and used like a mini USB stick. Like all of the other cards this new version is only 2mm thick and can be printed in full on both sides but the USB element slides out from the card – don’t worry, it slides back in again as well and its precision engineered so when returned to the “host” credit card it won’t accidentally fall out.

USB Credit Cards

USB Credit Cards

Arguably these cards are a little easier to use than the standard ones that have a “flip out” mechanism which some people find a little fiddly until they are used to how they work. The “slide” option is certainly more intuitive but as ever a lot of it is down to personal preference.

At the moment the slider option is only available on the larger credit card version but we expect to introduce some other shape options soon.

If you’re interested in seeing what your logo or design might look like on any of our USB cards then simply drop us an email (sales@usb2u.co.uk) with your artwork and we’ll work up a range of different mock-ups for you – no cost and no obligation!

 

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Promotional USB Cards with a Removable USB Stick

USB Flash Drive Prices Rise by around 15%

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Sterling has been on the slide for the last couple of weeks and reached a 31-month low against the dollar on Friday. This was before the announcement by Moody’s of it downgrade of the UK from the much coveted AAA rating. Today sterling has continued its slide and it’s a brave man that would predict where things are likely to end up by the end this week.

Whilst a weakened sterling is good news for exports its really bad news for imports. Given all USB flash drives are manufactured in China and traded (paid for) in US dollars it’s particularly bad news for any business or educational body looking to buy printed or engraved USB memory sticks right now.

What makes things worse is that the factories in China that manufacture USB flash drives are just returning from a 2 week Chinese New Year Holiday. This long break creates a build-up in demand which in turn drives up prices. This annual “spike” in demand always drives up prices until things settle down again but this year there is the spectre of a “double whammy” of rising prices and falling currency values – combined the net effect is broadly a 15% increase in USB flash drive prices.

The Chinese New Year effect usually lasts around 4 -6 weeks before prices begin to come down again but an 8% fall in the value of the £ against the $ is unlikely to mean prices will return to where they were just a couple of weeks ago.

If you need to buy your promotional USB flash drives now or in at any time during the next few weeks then brace yourself for higher prices. If you can delay your purchase for even a couple of weeks it’s probably worth doing so.

USB Flash Drive Prices Rise on Back of AAA Rating Downgrade

USB Flash Drive Prices Rise on Back of AAA Rating Downgrade

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USB Flash Drive Prices Rise by around 15%

Leather adds a touch of class to any Promotional USB Flash Drives

Monday, August 20th, 2012

With so many different types and styles of promotional USB flash drives to choose from it can be intimidating trying to narrow the choice down to just one USB drive that reflects your brand or image.

If you’re after something that has a quality feel and will be something different from the general USB drives that are available in the high street or those that can be picked up from on-line retailers then you might want to consider a leather flash drive. After all, what’s the point of going to the trouble of arranging for your own drives if they end up looking like something you could have picked up in Staples or PC World!

USB2U have several options available and everything about them is top notch – the internal memory and controller chips are all branded and Grade A (and come with a 5 year warranty), the leather is top grade and the clasps and outer shells are made from highly polished stainless steel. The resulting leather flash drives look stunning and although there are a range of standard colours (black, brown and white) the leather can be supplied in pretty much any colour you want albeit there is a small additional charge for pantone matching.

Leather USB Flash Drives

Leather USB Flash Drives

To really top off the look you could your leather USB sticks supplied in some smart looking gift boxes or presentation tins. These come with custom cut foam inserts and the tins or boxes can optionally be printed or engraved.  Providing the boxes or tins are ordered with the USB sticks they don’t cost the earth and you end up with a really classy looking solution.

 

Pantone Matched Leather USB Drives

Pantone Matched Leather USB Drives

Promotional leather USB drives can be printed, embossed or engraved. Some people prefer engraving because anything engraved into the leather will last a lifetime but the finish cab be too subtle for some who opt instead for printing. Whilst printing is not as resilient as engraving the ink does impregnate the leather so it’s still going to be pretty robust.

Black and White Leather USB Flash Drives

Black and White Leather USB Flash Drives

Whichever leather model you choose and however you get your logo put on them you can be assured that you’re going to end up with a high quality product that will support any use you put them to.

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Leather adds a touch of class to any Promotional USB Flash Drives

Should You Data Load Your Promotional USB Flash Drives

Friday, May 27th, 2011

USB flash drives do an excellent job of promoting a company’s brand, generating brand loyalty and brand recall but you can get much more “bang for your buck” if you pre-load them with data files.

The fundamental function of a USB flash drive is, after all, to store and transport data so it make sense when handing out any promotional USB flash drives to make sure your own data files are pre-loaded onto the USB sticks

USB Data Loading Service

USB Data Loading Service

The type of files you can load onto a USB flash drive can be anything you would normally save onto your PC so the obvious candidates are PowerPoint presentations, PDF’s, Word Documents, media files (video and audio clips) and links to your web site. Pretty much anything that informs prospective customers about your company, your products and the services you offer are ideal.

Pre-loading data files will mean you have to factor this step into your project plan. Data loading can be done during the manufacture of your USB sticks or just prior to delivery so you don’t have to have your finalised files ready when placing your order.

The best option (if you can get organised in time) is to supply the data you want loading so it can be added as your drives are manufactured. This way the data loading is typically free or it’s charged for at a negligible rate (charges depend on the size of the data files to be loaded).

If you want the data pre-loaded a little later in the order cycle, i.e. just before delivery, then be prepared to pay a little more for it because it’s a much more manual process and will typically involve more expensive UK labour.

Given the relatively small incremental cost for data loading you’d be daft not to do it because the more information you can put on the drive about your company, your products or your announcements the less you have to print and the less transportation costs you’ll have for any printed material. So, not only will you save a small fortune on printed material but you’ll make life easier for anyone you’re giving the USB flash drives to because they won’t have to carry around huge sales brochures, presentation files and notes.

If you take advantage of data loading offers it’s possible to build a cost benefit case that shows you can offset all of the costs of buying promotional USB flash drives by pre-loading them with data and reducing your print, storage and transport costs.

At USB2U we are seeing a significant increase in the number of customers now asking for data loading onto their USB flash drives. Fortunately we’re well geared up to handle these requests in our factory during production or at our secure offices/warehouse in Northampton where we have our own professional data loading machines which are capable of handling up to 2,000 USB flash drives an hour.

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Should You Data Load Your Promotional USB Flash Drives

Beware Cheap Promotional USB Flash Drives

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

If you’re in the market for some promotional USB flash drives then you’re likely to be shopping around and getting a few quotes from the numerous suppliers of flash drives that have sprung up over the last year or so.

Getting a few quotes for comparison purposes is exactly the right thing to do but the big challenge is how do you know when you get the prices back that you are really comparing “apples to apples”. On the face of you’d expect a 1GB USB flash drive from one supplier to be the same as a 1GB flash drive from another supplier but actually nothing could be further from the truth.

Within the promotional flash drive market the memory sticks supplied come in a wide range of grades and standards and unless you know what to ask for you could find that one supplier is quoting for USB flash drives that use top quality Grade A original flash whilst another (likely to be significantly cheaper) is quoting for USB flash drives that use Grade D cheap and cheerful “masked” or fake flash chips.

Of course when the printed and boxed USB flash drives arrive it’s incredibly difficult to tell whether the flash drives have been produced with Grade A or Grade D flash chips – they might look fantastic, the print job could be excellent and the packing might be exactly as you specified but how do you tell if you’ve been duped and supplied with inferior goods.

Ideally the time to deal with these questions is at the start of the procurement process by spelling out to the suppliers you approach exactly what you expect from your USB flash drives. If you need a high performance product that uses named original flash drive memory chips from companies like Samsung, Hynix or Micro then you need to specify this.

If you simply ask for a price for say 100 X 1GB USB flash drives then you leave it up to your supplier to interpret what standard of flash you either need or they can get away with quoting you for!

If you do end up with USB flash drives built around Grade D flash chips and cheap flash controllers then you can expect the following:

  • The flash drives are highly unlikely to have the amount of storage on them that you have purchased. In other words they will be something like a 512MB made to look like they are 1GB (masked) – when you insert them into the PC and check the “properties” of the flash drive they will appear as 1GB disks but if you try and load over 512MB onto the sticks and then take them out and re-insert them, then anything over say 500MB won’t appear.
  • The read/write speeds will be very slow which may be a problem if you are loading large amounts of data onto the drives before you hand them out to your customers.
  • The expected life (the number of read/write cycles) of the flash drives will be poor and the failure rate will be high.
  • The customer experience using them will be disappointing, they may not work, if they do work they will be slow and they won’t have the amount of space of the drive that they were expecting – not the sort of experience you want to associate with your brand.

So, when deciding whom to place your order for promotional USB flash drives with don’t just be lead price unless you do so in the full knowledge of the possible consequences. Ideally choose a company that has an establish pedigree and can point to lots of repeat business and will offer guarantees and warranties on their products that have some meaningful recourse.

Buying on price and price alone is an easy option but to do so is to ignore the complexities and risks of what should, on the face of it, be a simple and safe transaction.

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Beware Cheap Promotional USB Flash Drives

What Do You Give An Executive That Has Everything

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

It’s that perennial challenge. You want to send out some gifts to your executive staff or high net worth clients but the gift has got to ooze quality and style without costing a fortune. Not only that but the gift has got to be appropriate and relevant and worthy of adding your brand to – no small challenge then!

Old favourites like fine wines; champagnes and cigars are now considered by many too “risky” to give in today’s politically correct world – no matter how popular they might be with many! The risks of upsetting the health lobby, the anti-smoking lobby, or those who can’t or won’t partake of such things on religious or health grounds pretty much rule them out today.

Executive USB Writing Pens

Executive USB Writing Pens

As boring as it might seem it is much better to stick to simple executive gift ideas like watches, leather wallets, desk organisers or writing pens. If you are looking for a new twist on the writing pen you might consider an executive USB writing pen.

USB writing pens add a “tech” twist to a classic gift and combine the merits of a good, stylish USB memory stick with the well established virtues of a classic writing pen. The USB pens are only marginally larger than a standard pen (the size being dictated to some degree by the USB connector that is hidden in the barrel of the pen), they work just like any standard USB memory stick and are available in a range of memory sizes starting from 1GB and going all the way up to 16GB.

USB Writing Pens

USB Writing Pens

The “writing part” of the pen can be a standard biro (using standard biro refills) or a fountain pen and of course the USB writing pen can be printed or engraved with a personal greeting or your brand/logo.

Just like any quality writing instrument these USB pens are available in top quality gift boxes that will add a personal touch to the gift. Where USB writing pens score highly as a gift is the ability to pre-load onto the flash memory stick information about your company; media files, sales brochures, stock reports, links to web sites etc.

USB writing pens meet all of the criteria of an “executive gift” but because you can pre-load data onto them in a way in which you can with no other gift they ought to be at the top of any executive gift shopping list!

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What Do You Give An Executive That Has Everything

Top 10 Tips For Buying Promotional Flash Drives

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

The growth in the use of USB flash drives, memory sticks, thumb drives, pen drives (call them what you will) by the promotional sector continues unabated. Its no surprise really when you consider just how well printed or branded flash drives look, the fact that you can avoid costly print costs by pre-loading electronic copies of your sales material on the drives and the benefit the recipient gets by being able to use the flash drive to store their own documents on.

When looking to buy promotional flash drives there are a few things to look out for:

1. Make sure you choose the right style of flash drive: There are lots and lots of different standard designs of

Promotional Flash Drives

Promotional Flash Drives

flash drives on the market with the twister flash drive as the most popular but this is not right for everyone because its relatively small and as a result complex or large logo’s don’t work well on it. To help you choose ask you supplier to work up various examples with your logo and ask them to send you samples of the short list if you have time. Most companies will do this free of charge. Material, shape and colour options are the fundamentals to consider.

2. Choose the right memory capacity: There is a balance between choosing flash memory capacity based on your budget versus a higher level of memory that makes the flash drive more appealing to the recipient. As you’d expect the smaller the memory capacity the cheaper the price of the flash drive. But, if you’re looking to pre-load and “lock” your company data onto the flash drives it’s important to make sure that there is sufficient space, not only for this data but also to ensure the drive is of value to the user. Its all about balance – there’s no point paying for memory that you don’t need for your own data but you want people to use the flash drives and promote your product or company effectively.

3. Choose the right logo to print onto the flash drive: If your company logo is complex, contains graduated colours and/or tints then it might not be suitable. Remember the space you are printing onto is relatively small and the printing options on some memory sticks are limited. Its not unusual for complex logo’s to be simplified before being printed onto a memory stick

Promotional Flash Drives

Promotional Flash Drives

4. Choose the right printing option: Typically flash drives are “spot printed” but they can also be laser engraved or embossed. Another option that’s growing in popularity is to use “Dome Stickers” – these top quality stickers enable complex logo’s to be printed and protected under a layer of resin and are ideal for logo’s with tints or graduated colours

5. Have your artwork available in the right format: If you want your printed flash drives to look good then its essential that you provide your artwork in the highest resolution in a format that does not compress the image data, e.g. Jpeg. Ideally you should supply your artwork in EPS or AI format.

6. Choose the right packaging: For many the right packaging option is no packaging but before you discount packaging on ethical or ecological grounds remember that promotional flash drives in gift boxes do look better and more professional. You don’t have to opt for a top end tin presentation box with foam inserts because printed cardboard boxes (manufactured from recycled cardboard) work just as well.

7. Choose the right accessories: Key rings, carabineers and lanyards are a great option to add value to your branded memory sticks by making it more functional and easier to carry.  The lanyard or carabineers can also be branded to increase your brand exposure.

8. Be clear on your timeframes: Its critical that you allow enough time when ordered printed flash drives. Whilst many companies will offer a “rush” service you will typically pay more for this and reduce your design options. The majority of flash drives are manufactured in the Far East and as such you need to allow around 10 days from approval of the proof to the delivery of your final product.

9. Cheapest isn’t always the right option: There are certain factors to be consider when comparing prices for

Promotional Flash Drives

Promotional Flash Drives

branded USB flash drives. Make sure the prices you are being quoted are for new Grade A chips and not re-cycled or Grade B chips that have a much great failure rate, Secondly make sure all of the cost quoted is fully inclusive, e.g. does it include; print set up, print origination, pantone matching, data-loading, accessories delivery and finally what are the payment terms.

10. Select a Company with a proven track record: It’s incredibly important that you choose a reputable company that has an established reputation in the marketplace. There are far too many people trying to make a ‘quick buck’ from unsuspecting customers so don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials from companies they have supplied to. Pre and post sales support from designated account managers will help to ensure that whole process runs smoothly and you are provided with the correct information from the outset. Remember that guarantees on products are worthless if the company is not around to honour them.

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Top 10 Tips For Buying Promotional Flash Drives
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