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It’s All In The Packaging

Posted by USB2U on 17th July 2014 | Permalink

You could have the most aesthetically pleasing Promotional Memory stick, some highly interactive data, accessories galore, but all this good work can be diminished if it does not have appropriate packaging or no packaging at all.

One of the key things to consider when ordering Branded USB Memory sticks is how these are going to be handed to the end users and the impact and statement you want to make. The right packaging not only protects the USB memory stick, but it also shows them off in their best light, offers print space for additional branding, storage for the user and the opportunity to add other items within the packaging such as a leaflet or business card.

A montage of photographs of different USB Memory Sticks with branded packaging

Packaging for USB Memory Sticks - Availaible from USB2U

There is now a plethora of packaging options for you to consider that can be clustered into the following:

No / or Basic Packaging. If you already have packaging to insert the Branded Memory Stick into then they can be despatched with no packaging. However you should ensure they are either placed into individual bubble bags or in trays to avoid them scratching.

Small Cardboard Box. This entry level box protects the USB memory sticks and is very cost effective. Most suppliers will provide these free of charge. Looks great printed.

Boxes with Windows. These are ideal to show the Branded Memory Sticks off in their full glory as the branding can be positioned to appear in the window.

Tin Boxes. These give the Promotional Memory Drive greater gravitas and make ideal executive gift boxes.

Wooden Boxes. These are really in vogue and work particularly well with wooden memory sticks. Great option for the Photography Market.

High Gloss Boxes. Looking for something which allows for a large expanse of print and in full colour?  These would ideal.

Blister Pack. If the Branded Memory Sticks are for retail use then blister packaging may be the solution. It allows the memory sticks to be displayed and a printed card inserted.

Other things of note:

–        All boxes can be printed or engraved with a logo or marketing message.

–        Make sure the size of the packaging will allow for any accessories e.g. Branded lanyard.

–        If foam is used to hold the memory stick in place then ensure this is cut to the exact profile.

–        Ensure that you order your packaging with the memory sticks otherwise the cost will be higher.

–        Suppliers are now offering packaging in recycled material – worth asking.

 

If you have ever had the opportunity to open a brand new Apple product you will know the important role packaging plays in the perceived value of the product and quality of what’s inside. A useful rule of thumb for your Branded USB Memory sticks.

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USB Promotional Cards – Drive More Sales

Posted by USB2U on 20th June 2014 | Permalink

Even today when we are immersed in social media and blitzed my marketing emails there is still a place for a well designed and well targeted print campaign. Often though the objective of any printed material is just to entice or encourage the reader to go to a web site and either buy something, read something or watch something so the challenge is how to “engage” with the reader and make sure they do this.

There are several options to achieve this the most basic of which is to print the details of the website on the printed material and hope the reader finds it and types it in correctly to their browser. A step up from this is to include a QR code on the brochure or leaflet – when scanned with a QR code reader on a smart phone or tablet this will take the customer directly to your web page(s). This is a reasonably popular option with marketers but for lots of people they have no idea what a QR code is, how to use is and many won’t have a QR code reader installed on their phone or tablet.

There is a third way and whilst it’s new it is beginning to gain some momentum. This new “third way” to embed a removable USB “key” into the printed material (see image below). The USB card simply “pops” out and when inserted into any USB port on a PC or Mac will automatically open the users browser and go directly to the landing page pre-programmed into the web key.

Promotional-P@per-USB-Cards

Promotional-P@per-USB-Cards

Unlike a QR code a Web Key (that looks like a USB stick) arouses interest and almost universally people that are given one of these packs will succumb to the temptation and plug the USB Key in. Your challenge is to make sure the webpage they are taken to is compelling, has offers and deals that encourage them to stay on the pages and ultimately to complete whatever transaction you are trying to conclude.

Do this and do it well and you should see something like a 40% uplift in your messages impact! So taken by this product were the judges of European Promotional Products Industry that they awarded it with their Promotional Gift Award in 2013.

The P@per USB Cards have been designed by Paris based Pixika and are now available in the UK exclusively from USB2U. At USB2U we can take care of the printed material, the USB web keys, the pre-loading of the links and we can even offer you a comprehensive conversion/tracking solution.

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What are Grade A USB Flash Drives and Should I Buy Them

Posted by USB2U on 14th May 2014 | Permalink

Promotional USB Flash Drives have been around for over 10 years now and the appetite for them shows no sign of abating. This year millions of them will be given-away in the UK alone prompting the obvious question of what are we doing with them all and isn’t the market saturated by now?

Their continued popularity seems to be fuelled by the fact that prices relative to the amount of memory inside the flash drive (and more memory equals greater usage options and increased desirability) have fallen dramatically and businesses are forever finding new and exciting uses for them.

Whilst lots are still just handed out at trade shows, conferences, seminars and press events today Professional Photographers have adopted them in preference to CD’s and DVD’s. Distributors are using them to send out large catalogues and price lists around Europe, 3D and 4D baby scan companies are increasing giving out (or selling scans) to parents on USB drives. House builders are handing them out in show homes pre-loaded with videos, price lists and interactive applications to help the buyer choose their new home – the ideas and opportunities for their use seem endless!

However, if you are about to start the process of sourcing promotional USB flash drives for your own project then be prepared to be slightly bamboozled by the amount of choice you’ll have and the sheer number of companies looking to sell you USB sticks. Your immediate challenge will be to try and get prices (very few companies quote them on their web sites because they prices are so fluid) and having got prices it’s then a question on trying to work out if you are comparing “apples to apples”.

Promotional USB Flash Drives from USB2U

Promotional USB Flash Drives from USB2U

Whilst USB flash drives can all look the same on the outside there can be huge differences on the inside and it’s what’s inside that to a large degree will determine the price, the quality and the performance of the USB stick (performance = read/write speeds, number of read write cycles the USB stick can perform). It’s also not uncommon for some unscrupulous suppliers to sell fakes – they’ll make a 128MB drive look like an 8GB drive and you’ll only find out when you try to load your files onto them and read the same files in another PC. In simple terms it’s a jungle out there so be careful!

One phrase you’ll see popping up all over the web sites of USB suppliers is “Grade A” – the inference being that they only supply the best quality product and that their product is somehow superior to others that don’t supply “Grade A” USB Flash drives. It’s a phrase and pseudo “standard” that was introduced a few years ago to try and help buyers differentiate the good from the bad BUT there is no regulation over its use, there is no independent authority that makes sure the “standard” actually means anything. Nothing is tested, no rigour is applied, anyone can and does use the phrase and it’s down to the buyer to challenge with the seller exactly what they mean by it and to understand how to check when they ultimately receive their USB sticks.

“Grade A” is now a largely hollow and vacuous marketing statement that means very little. It’s banded around by lots of companies and unfortunately clung onto buy buyers to reassure themselves that they are buying the best in the market. Sadly in many cases they are being duped – we know because we often end up picking up the pieces when things go wrong!

Our advice is to buy locally, buy from a supplier who has a hard fought for reputation in the market and who is not going to put it (and your relationship and brand) at risk by selling you rubbish.  Check out 3rd party review sites to see what other customers are saying, do basic checks like using Google Maps to check out the suppliers address (you’ll be surprised how many companies that look great on their web site operate from a residential house) and if you can run and Experian, Credit Safe or Equifax check on the company to check their financial stability – if things do go wrong and you need to claim against the long warranties on offer then you need to have some confidence that they are going to be around to honour them!

At USB2U we use “Grade A” as a statement in our marketing because the market dictates that we do but in our case it’s true – we are careful not only to specify the standard and grade of flash memory used in the manufacture of our USB sticks but we also specify the controller chips and the capacitors – all 3 components are critical in terms of performance and reliability and if you skimp on these then you undermine any intent to supply top quality promotional USB flash drives.

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Best Promotional Product for Trade Shows, Seminars and Conferences

Posted by USB2U on 8th May 2014 | Permalink

With the upturn in the economy and a general feeling of wellbeing slowing making its way across the county lots of companies will this year start to reignite their marketing and advertising activities. Many will be dipping their toes back into exhibiting at trade shows, lots will be organising seminars and conferences and even more will be looking to attend such events.

If your company is exhibiting or organising an event then at some point you’ll no doubt be considering whether you should invest in promotional products to support your sales team at the show/event.

Whether you measure it in terms of money, time or resources, exhibiting at a trade show is a large investment and as such it’s critical that this commitment is fully optimised. Lots of energy tends to get put into the location of the stand in the exhibition hall, the design of the stand, the lighting and who’s going to staff but often important things like giveaways and collateral for the show tend to get overlooked.

This is a mistake because whilst an on-stand promotion, a competition or a promotional product won’t make or break a show it will certainly help to maximise your investment. When you’re competing for the attention of potential customers against hundreds of other exhibitors its vital that you equip you sales team with all the tools they need and a giveaway that pulls people onto the stand and gets them talking to your sales team is key.

Promotional USB Flash Drives

Promotional USB Flash Drives

Your challenge is to decide what the best promotional product for your company, your sales team and critically for your target audience. What give-away is going to deliver the greatest footfall onto your stand and what’s going to get your product and company to stand out from all the others?  If you’ve ever attended a show then you’ll know only too well that at the end of the day you leave with tired legs, heavy hearts and laden down with carrier bags full of brochures. As an exhibitor you need to “wow” the attendees and ideally secure an order on the stand. Failing that you need to get them interested enough so that when they get back to their desk they recall your company and remain open to further dialogue about your products/services.

The problem is that there are lots of inexpensive giveaways that you could consider including printed bags (which double as a “walking advert” for your brand), printed pens (which cost pennies). There are even sweets that can be printed with your brand and help get people to approach your stand.

With all of these simple ideas there is very little carry through post the event, there is no incentive to use them on an on-going basis and they don’t deliver much information about you’re company or products.

Much better to use a promotional USB flash drive with your brand or logo printed onto it and more importantly with your company brochures, pricing and promotional videos loaded onto it! Not only are promotional USB flash drives much cheaper now than they were a couple of years ago but they can be delivered (printed and data-loaded in as little as 48hrs)

More fundamentally research undertaken by the BPMA shows that of all the promotional gifs given away people prefer to be given memory sticks and they will keep them and use them after the show. This is good news for your brand because it means money spent on promotional USB sticks will lead to on-going brand exposure and of course your sales material will be there every time the flash drive is inserted into a PC!

USB2U deliver promotional USB flash drives in as little as 24hrs so if you do leave things right until the last minute don’t panic!

 

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USB Fan Enquires Coming In – Summer must be on the way

Posted by USB2U on 28th March 2014 | Permalink

From the depths of our office and warehouse we don’t need to be able to see out of the window (although that would be nice) to know that summer is on its way instead we can quite easily rely on the number of enquires coming in to USB2U for USB fans to gauge what the weather is doing (or about to do).

Maybe those making the enquiries have read the various reports in the press about Britain heading for our hottest summer yet. According to various publications weather experts are suggesting there is a 75% chance that over the next few months we’ll be bathed in Mediterranean-style temperatures! We’ve already had a couple of days this month where temperatures crept up to 20 degrees Celsius and whilst we’ve come back down to earth with a bump over the last few days expectations are that we’re in for a very long hot summer – bring it on!

USB Fans

Promotional USB Fans

Of course it’s not so great if you work in an office or study with little natural ventilation (you can’t open the windows in many offices) and you don’t have air-conditioning.  Your best bet in these circumstances is a fan and if you budget won’t run to the latest Dyson Bladeless Fans then you could go for a personal USB fan – these don’t need any batteries, they plug directly into any spare USB port on your PC (or Mac) and can be positioned to get the air flowing directly at you. The fans are 100% safe and they’re really quiet and unobtrusive.

If you’re a company looking for an “in your face” promotional gift for 2014 then you might want to get in early whilst we still have stock and order you USB fans now. We have thousands of them in stock in the UK but if you wait until the temperatures start rising then you might be disappointed as these fans have a habit of flying off the shelves every year when the mercury starts rising!

The fans can be branded with your logo (see the images below). The usual lead time from order is around 5-7 days but we can do turn them around a little quicker if you’re in a real hurry – just call us for prices and details of our rush service.

USB Fans from USB2U

USB Fans from USB2U

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Buying Cheap Promotional USB Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 20th March 2014 | Permalink

It’s understandable in today’s economic climate to make sure when you’re buying promotional USB flash drives that you do your research and get the best possible price you can for the flash drives you buy. So cheap is best right? The answer is “not necessarily”.

The problem with just using cheap as the benchmark against which you make your buying decision is that it can mask all manner of other issues and the potential problems of buying “cheap” can include but are not limited to damage to your brand and reputation. Ironically often the exact opposite of what most companies are trying to do when they hand out promotional products.

USB2U for Promotional USB Flash Drives

USB2U for Promotional USB Flash Drives

If all promotional USB memory sticks were manufactured to the same specification and all suppliers took the same degree of care and responsibility in the supply of your order then a decision based on price would be reasonable. But, buying promotional USB flash drives is not, for example, like buying a Samsung TV of a particular model where you know exactly what you’re buying because every reseller is selling exactly the same product and you can read not only the reviews on the product but on the supplier as well!

Instead buying flash drives is a bit like entering a minefield – one wrong step and you could be looking at a very costly mistake.

Why is it so difficult? Well the fundamental problem is that although lots of USB sticks look exactly the same on the outside it’s what is on the inside that is important. Buy cheap and you’re likely to get something that looks pretty good but inside the shell will be cheap components (cheap flash memory, cheap controller chips and a cheap capacitor) that are likely to fail or will have very slow read/write speeds and might even be masked (this is an expression used to describe flash drives that have been “adapted” to make a 128MB chip look like a 4GB chip).

Over the 12 years or so we’ve been selling flash drives we’ve heard our fair share of horror stories and our advice is simple:

  1. Buy local because at least this way you can check out the supplier, you can read reviews on their service, you can spend a couple of £ and find out who’s behind the company and if things do go wrong then at least you have some recourse in law (in a jurisdiction you are familiar with).
  2. Get some assurance from your supplier on the type/quality of the components used inside their USB sticks (get this confirmed on the order as well as just the memory size).
  3. Read the terms and conditions of supply and ideally don’t part with any money until your USB sticks are ready to ship – if you have a good credit record then ask for payment terms. This way you’ll get your USB sticks before you have to pay for them and you can make sure they are exactly what you were expecting.
  4. Read the reviews sites and see what other customer are saying about the suppliers you’ve contacted.
  5. Check the length of any warranty and be clear about the process to invoke any claim under the warranty.

Yes the price is important but so is your brand so make sure you are buying from a supplier that you feel comfortable trusting your brand and your company’s reputation to.

 

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Data Loading on USB Flash Drives – An Evil Necessity

Posted by USB2U on 17th January 2014 | Permalink

One of the primary reasons that so many companies are using promotional USB flash drives is because they are looking for a simple, easy and convenient way to distribute lots of information to their customers (or prospective customers). Whether it’s information on new products, pricing, seminar or conference notes, video presentations or any mix of these then USB drives that are pre-loaded with the data are a great solution.

CD’s and DVD’s used to be the preferred option but so few laptops and desktop PC’s now ship with a CD/DVD player that it’s a risk relying on people being able to use these. Arguably with the shift toward tablets (most of which don’t have USB ports) the same issues apply to USB sticks but most people still have a PC or laptop at home or work and all of these will have a USB port.

The other benefit of handing out a USB drives with your data pre-loaded onto them is that flash drives have a high perceived value (much higher than a CD or DVD) and as such people like being given them and that in turns help them to build a bond with any brand printed onto the drive. If you hand out flash drives with spare capacity on (and this is typically always the case) then you’re giving something away that has on-going use after your data has been read. This in turn means your flash drives (with your brand printed on them) will get repeat usage and your brand will get repeat exposure.

USB Data Loading Services from USB2U

USB Data Loading Services from USB2U

The real headache is how you get the data onto the USB flash drives before you hand them out! Often files, video and presentation notes are not ready to load until right at the very last minute and if this means you have to load the data yourself then in could take hours and in some cases days! Transferring 1GB of data from your PC could take 10+ minutes per drive – multiply this by say 500 and you can see the challenge!

By far the best way is to get your promotional USB flash drive supplier to data-load them for you. Typically they will have industrial data loading machines that will bulk transfer the files to multiple drives (each machine usually has a “master slot” and can copy the data to up to 20 USB drives in the same time that you could copy one!).

Most suppliers offer this service free of charge for up to 200MB of data but the charges for larger data loads are only pennies – it’ll be the best money you ever spend. No one in their right minds would voluntarily opt to data load their own USB sticks one at a time on their PC.

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We Ship Anywhere in the World and we can deliver within 48hrs of an Order!

Posted by USB2U on 16th January 2014 | Permalink

We’re based in Northampton in the UK and we’re now in our 12th year of supplying USB memory sticks. Until recently we only supplied customers in the UK with the occasional shipment into mainland Europe but due to unprecedented demand for our products and services we now ship anywhere in the World.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in based in Birmingham in the UK or Birmingham in Alabama (USA) or for that matter Timbuktu we’re more than happy to take your order and ship our unique range of USB memory sticks and USB gift boxes to you.

We’ve partnered up with UPS who are one of the worlds most trusted and respected international shipping and logistics companies. Anywhere UPS deliver we deliver. It’s as simple as that. Shipments into Europe, the USA and Canada are usually delivered within 1 day of being sent. Shipments to the rest of the world usually take no more than 2-3 days.

USB-Sticks-Delivered-WorldWide

USB-Sticks-Delivered-WorldWide

The combination of our 24hr “rush” printing or engraving service and UPS’s next day delivery means we can often deliver USB sticks to Europe, the USA and Canada within 48hrs and the rest of the world in 3-4 days.

Check out what our customers (including many international customers) are saying about our product and service on the USB2U Trustpilot review site.

If you’d like a quote for USB sticks and USB gift boxes then just give us a call on +44 1604 684811 or simply click on the “Quote Request” button above.

We think you’ll be surprised by just how competitive our USB prices are and in particular how inexpensive our international delivery charges (they start from as little as £15).

If you’re in based in the EU and you have a VAT number then we can supply your order VAT free (orders shipped to the rest of the world are sent with a zero rated invoice but do be aware that local taxes and duties may be payable on receipt – these vary from country to country so you’re concerned about these then it might be worth speaking to your local customs office).

If there are any charges to pay (taxes and/or import Duty) then UPS will take care of all the paperwork for you – you’ll just need to pay these fees on receipt of your order.

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If don’t Like any of our USB Flash Drives – Build your own!

Posted by USB2U on 2nd January 2014 | Permalink

We currently have around 100 different USB flash drive designs in our portfolio so there is usually at least one model that appeals to any business or school looking to buy them. If however you want something unique, something that only your company or school will have then you could either build your own or commission a bespoke design.

If you want to have a go at building your own (and lots of schools and colleges do this as part of their GCSE Design Technology course) then we can supply you with the core USB flash memory, the controller chips, the capacitor and the USB connector – it’s not as complicated as it sounds. All of these core components are supplied on a single PCB – you just need to design the shell that goes around this. Each PCB is a uniform shape and size and we can supply the memory size to suit your budget.

Build Your Own USB Memory Sticks

Build Your Own USB Memory Sticks

If you buy the USB PCB’s as part of a school project/competition and there was a “winning design” then we could take the winning design into full production and supply the entire school with a branded (printed or engraved) version of the stick. If it’s really good and we feel that it has wider commercial appeal we might even consider working with you to jointly develop the design and market the design. The school would enjoy royalties on the sale of each USB stick!

If you don’t fancy having a go at building your own but instead want us to develop a custom USB stick in the shape of one of your products or perhaps in the shape of your logo or something that represents who you are and what you do then no problem – we’re up for that!

All you need to do is send us a rough idea or what you’re after even basic photographs of any product you want us to copy will do. We can often get enough to go on from a website or product sheets. What you don’t need to do/supply is detailed drawings or CAD files – we take care of all this for you.

Over the years we’ve produced some fantastic custom USB flash drives including USB dinosaurs, USB ducks, USB lipsticks and so on. Surprisingly the minimum order quantity is only 200 pcs and there are no set-up, tooling or design costs to worry about. The finished USB sticks will cost a little bit more than standard factory designs but we’re only talking pennies!

Bespoke USB Memory Sticks

Bespoke USB Memory Sticks

Whether you want to build your own USB flash drive or want us to design and build them for you just give us a call and speak to one of our team. We’d love to hear from you because we love doing custom USB sticks!

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Buy Your Promotional USB Sticks Now Whilst Prices Are Cheap

Posted by USB2U on 3rd December 2013 | Permalink

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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