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Archive for the ‘Promotional USB’ Category

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

Advice for Buying Branded USB Memory

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Branded UBS memory sticks are an excellent way to promote your business, to support the launch of a new product(s), to distribute important news and/or press releases and finally to build brand awareness and customer loyalty.

There are lots of promotional products on the market to choose from including popular products like pens, cups, bags etc. but they simply don’t offer the same level of perceived value and usefulness. Don’t just take our word for it because there are plenty of surveys available (including one from the highly regarded BPMA) that put USB sticks at the top of peoples most wanted list.

If you’ve decided promotional USB sticks are for you then there are some basic rules to follow when buying them:

  1. Take time to choose a USB stick that will work with your brand: There are hundreds, if not thousands of different styles of USB memory sticks to choose from. Most are manufactured from plastic but they are also available in metal, cardboard, wood and some are trimmed with leather.

    The most popular types tend to be “cap-less” with one particular model – “The Twister” dominating the market.

    Photographers tend to choose more “upmarket” wooden or leather drives whilst lots of conference organisers choose dual purpose products like USB writing pens and USB paper clips.

  2. Memory capacity: The general rule is to buy the largest capacity you can afford (unless you plan to simply hand them out like sweets at a show).

    If you want people to hang onto your USB sticks and continue to use them then you need to make sure there is enough memory on the sticks for their daily needs. Give them something useful – a good size to aim for is a 1GB or 2GB.

  3. Choosing the right logo to print (or engrave): If you have a complex design or logo that includes graduated colours and/or tints then you will limit the range of USB flash drive that will take this type of print. Most USB sticks only have a print area of around 2cm-3cm so unless you are willing to simplify your logo it’s not going to look great on a USB stick.If you must print a complicated logo then choose something like a USB credit card because these can take a full colour print to both sides of the card.
  4. Artwork formats:  The general rule of thumb is to supply the best (highest resolution) artwork you can lay your hands on. Ideally you need vectorised artwork in .EPS or .AI format.

    If you just “grab” a logo from your web site or PowerPoint slides the final print will look very patchy and blotchy.

  5. USB Sticks look better in a box:  By default promotional USB memory sticks are supplied “in bulk” – this normally means in simply poly bags or plain white boxes. These “protect” the sticks in transit but they don’ really add to the overall impact when you hand them out.

    There are now lots of different USB packaging options to choose from so just as you take time to think about your USB sticks take time to consider how you want them packaged. Engraved wooden boxes or printed high quality white gift boxes look fantastic and don’t add much to the overall price.

  6. Make sure you can get them delivered in time: It’s critical that you allow enough time for your USB sticks to be manufactured, printed and delivered – ideally build in a day or so contingency. The typical lead time for printed USB drives is 10 working days so use this as a general rule of thumb.

    USB2U have over 20 different models of USB sticks they hold in stock in the UK and can deliver in as little as 24hrs so start with these if you’re working to a tight deadline.

  7. Cheapest isn’t always the best: There are lots of fake and sub-standard USB drives around at the moment and unless you’re an expert it’s difficult to tell what you’re buying. Even companies that claim to offer Grade A chips are often passing off masked and re-cycled USB’s as Grade A. The usual rules apply – if it seems too good to be true it probably is.
  8. Get references: Lots of suppliers of USB memory sticks seem to pop-up overnight and many disappear just as quickly. Before you place any order ideally get references from other customers or check out 3rd party review sites like Trustpilot. At USB2U we’ve been around for nearly 11 years and in this time we’ve supplied millions of USB sticks to tens of thousands of customers. We’re also rated as “Excellent” on Trustpilot where we consistently get 5* reviews. We’re also ranked No.1 in the Promotional Items Category in the UK.
Wooden USB Memory Sticks

Wooden USB Memory Sticks

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Advice for Buying Branded USB Memory

Blimey a 128GB Thunderbolt Drive – That’s Massive!

Friday, July 12th, 2013

When we started USB2U a little over 10 years ago the most popular USB sticks we sold had 16MB or 32MB of storage. At the time these storage options seemed more than large enough and it was difficult to see why anyone would want anything much bigger. Of course the memory size was always going to increase but I don’t think back then that anyone could image we’d now be talking about a thumb drive that had 128 Gigabytes of storage and what’s more could transfer the data to and from the drive at the break neck speed of 10 Gigabytes per second!

To be fair we’re not talking about USB technology here but Thunderbolt. Thumb drives that use Thunderbolt look very similar to USB sticks (see image below) but the connector and underlying technology is different.

Thunderbolt is a joint development between Apple and Intel. It’s 20 times faster than USB 2.0 and twice as fast as the new USB 2.0 standard which would allow you to load a full length HD movie in around 30 seconds!

But Apple and Intel are not hanging around – at last week’s Computex show in Taipei they not only announced the launch of Thunderbolt 2 (which sees transfer speeds increase to 20GB per second) but they also showcased a Thumb Drive with a whopping 128GB of storage!

Effectively what we’re seeing here is a glimpse of the future – these are first generation products that will appeal to the classic “early adopter” who is not going to be put off by a fairly limited choice a high price tag. For the next few years most consumers will continue to use USB 2.0 and increasingly USB 3.0 products but it’s going to be interesting to see how quickly Thunderbolt moves into the mainstream.

The price of Thunderbolt peripherals and in particular Thunderbolt Memory Sticks means they are not going to challenge the dominance of USB memory sticks in the near future. The promotional goods sector is one of the largest markets for USB sticks at the moment but they work to budgets of £2-£3 per USB sticks so they’re unlikely to make the move to Thunderbolt thumb drives in the next few years!

So if you want to get your hands on a super-fast Thunderbolt drive with tons of storage then you’re going to have to put your hands into your own pocket and buy one because no sensible company or school is going to be giving them away as part of a “promotion” any time soon!.

Thunberbolt USB Flash Drive - Image courtesy of Intel

Thunberbolt USB Flash Drive - Image courtesy of Intel

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Blimey a 128GB Thunderbolt Drive – That’s Massive!

Chinese Public Holidays – Why it Matters When Buying USB Memory Sticks

Monday, April 8th, 2013

The majority of Chinese workers live and work in cities, whilst many of their relatives remain in their ancestral towns / villages. With such a vast country, returning home can take many hours, if not days. This coupled with increased prosperity and disposable income has resulted in national holidays taking on greater importance.

The 4th April is the start of ‘Tomb Sweeping’ and is regarded as the most important custom in the Qingming Festival from which the name of Tomb-sweeping day is got. Cleaning the tomb and paying respect to the dead person with offerings are the two important parts of remembering the past relatives. Weeds around the tomb are cleared away and fresh soil is added to show care of the dead. The dead person’s favourite food and wine are taken to sacrifice to them, along with paper resembling money. This is all burned in the hope that the deceased are not lacking food and money.

So why would this impact on Branded USB Memory sticks? In short, the vast majority of Promotional USB Memory sticks are manufactured in the Far East, in particular China. This includes all the component manufacturers such as flash chip suppliers and the assembly / finishing factories.

On the run up to a major holiday, chip manufacturer start to slow and stop production. This in return results in a shortage of supply and increase in prices prior to and for a short period after the holiday.

The leadtime for delivery is also increased as factories and couriers will shut over the holiday period. This delay is compounded by backlogs that are built up at Chinese Customs, which can add several days to the delivery.

So what can you do to protect yourself? Firstly try to order ahead of major holidays (see list below) and if this is not possible look for a provider that holds UK stock of USB Memory Sticks, such as USB2U.

Chinese New Year has passed and the price of USB flash has rocketed. They are starting to stabilise now, but the pattern will continue, so be mindful if you are looking to order branded USB memory stick or frankly any Chinese manufactured products.

 

 

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Chinese Public Holidays – Why it Matters When Buying USB Memory Sticks

Wedding Photographers Guide To Buying Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

If you’re a professional wedding or portrait photographer and you’re thinking about moving away from CD and DVD’s in favour of engraved or printed USB memory sticks then there are some basic facts you need to be aware of before you make the move:

  1. The vast majority of companies in the UK that supply customised USB memory sticks that are typically supplying them to schools, universities and companies that are looking for cheap promotional giveaways. Often they are used as free giveaways at open days, seminars, conferences and tradeshows and as such price tends to be key determining factor when universities and companies are buying these USB sticks

    Because price is the driver performance is sacrificed so typical read/write speeds of a “standard” promotional USB memory sticks are at best around 2MB per second (write) and 6MB per second (read). Whilst this is “OK” if all you’re doing is loading up a couple of sales brochures onto the sticks but, if you’re a professional wedding photographer and you want to load lots of high quality images onto the sticks they are unlikely to be good enough for you.

  2. If you do decided to buy standard promotional USB memory sticks rather than high specification sticks that are recommended for professional photographers then you’ll notice that they’re not the quickest of products. If you’ve been used to working on Apple Mac’s and you use top end Memory Cards in your cameras with fast read/write speeds, or perhaps you use Firewire or Thunderbolt to move data around then by comparison a promotional USB memory stick is going to be painful in the extreme!

    For example mid-range SD or CF cards have a read/write speed of around 40MB per second which is 10 times the speed of standard promotional USB memory sticks.

  3. Top end, high performance USB 2.0 USB sticks from the likes of Kingston and Transcend will have read/writes speeds of around 20MB per second which is significantly faster than the promotional versions but these high performance USB sticks carry a hefty price tag and they can’t be printed or engraved with a logo – if you use them you’ll have to settle for a USB stick that carries the manufacturers brand rather than your own.
  4. Another option is to consider getting prices for USB 3.0 USB sticks. This is the very latest USB standard and USB 3.0 sticks are capable of read/write speeds of 50 – 100MB per second. This makes them incredibly quick but they are expensive and to get the speed benefits you need to use them with a PC or Mac that has USB 3.0 ports.  They will work on USB 2.0 PC’s but only at USB 2.0 speeds!

    But, if you buy USB 3.0 sticks and you have a Mac or PC that can support them you can dramatically reduce your own data-loading times and time is a precious commodity so it’s definitely something you should think about.

  5. A compromise that lots of professional photographers settle on is to opt for a upgraded USB 2.0 flash drives – some reputable USB suppliers will proactively suggest this if they know you are a photographer. Others won’t because they know the costs will be higher and they are therefore less likely to win your business.

    Upgraded USB 2.0 flash drives will use better quality components (faster flash memory, better controller chips and better capacitors) they’ll be a little more expensive but they’ll have better performance levels, they support more read/write cycles and they’ll have a longer life – effectively you’ll be getting something close to the high performance products sold by Kingston and Lacie but without paying their prices and with the flexibility to add your brand or logo to the sticks.

  6. Remember if you don’t ask for high performance or “upgraded” USB sticks then you will just get “standard” promotional USB flash drives which are fine but they’re going to be slow!
  7. Ideally talk to your supplier about what you plan to use your USB flash drives for and get them to recommend a solution. If you’ve chosen your supplier well and they know their industry they should not only be aware of the issues but they should be able to put forward a range of different solutions.
USB Memory Sticks For Wedding Photographers

USB Memory Sticks For Wedding Photographers

 

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Wedding Photographers Guide To Buying Promotional USB Memory Sticks

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%

How to make use of dated Branded USB Twisters?

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Maybe you have undergone a company rebranding exercise, changed your contact details or simply need to promote something new, but still have stocks of your old branded USB memory sticks. If you are one of the many thousands of customers that have purchased the ‘Twister’ style USB Memory Stick then it’s good news! The Twister has the advantage of a removable metal clip, as opposed to other USB Memory sticks that are branded directly onto the housing. This makes the most valuable part of it, the USB housing, reusable if your branding requirements change.

 

Simply purchase new printed clips and consider a different coloured clip to really make a statement. USB Twister clips now come is a wide range of colours to match most designs. You may also wish to laser engrave rather than print for a stylish and long lasting effect. Add an lanyard or keyring for a real wow factor.

Engraved Twisters By USB2U

You can get your USB clip supplier to replace the clips for you, but this will cost. So why not have ago at doing this. With just a few precautions to ensure that the USB housing isn’t damaged or scratched it is relatively easy to do. Simply follow these simple steps:

  1. To avoid fingerprint marks on the Branded USB Twister, it is advisable that you wear gloves before handling the sticks. To remove the old clip, put the forefinger of your left-hand into space inside the metal clip to prise it apart and open it up to get the plastic housing out. This should avoid any scratches on the housing.
  2. Before attaching the new metal clip you need to pinch it together to ensure a snug fit.
  3. In order to avoid defacing the housing, wrap a small plastic bag around it before attaching the clip. Prise open the clip just enough to squeeze it around the housing with the plastic bag sandwiched in between as a protective barrier.
  4. Lastly, carefully pull out the plastic bag to reveal the finished Branded USB Twister

If all of these steps were carefully followed, you would never know that the clips had not been factory fitted.

Your new ‘pimped up’ Branded Twister USBs are now ready to use.

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How to make use of dated Branded USB Twisters?

How A Branded USB Stick Helped To Win The US Election

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

With the dust settling on the 2012 US election and Barack Obama now heading back to the White House for a second term, pundits are asking how a race that is decided by a few swing states can cost over £3bn!

In short, the advertising and mobilisation of the electorate accounted for the bulk of the costs with both parties trying to out gun each other. It is simply the price of playing US politics.

This is an enormous amount for the parties to fund so an army of loyal supporters set about raising funds. In keeping with the rest of their campaign the Democrats went high tech and one such example of this was customised USB memory sticks. These were printed with the Obama ‘brand’ and even customised as the president himself. These flew of the shelf so in their own humble way the branded memory stick played a small part in the outcome of the election. So why were these such a great idea?

barack_obama_2012_election_usb_flash_drive

Barack Obama Custom USB Memory Stick

With the ever-increasing demand for branded promotional products, the possibility of finding something unique is be coming frustratingly slim. As a result of this manufacturers have invested in tooling equipment that makes the cost of bespoke customised Branded USB Flash drives an affordable option.

The products are manufactured from PVC rubber and can be made up of a number of colours in any shape or form. The beauty of this type of creation is that the product is colourful, 3-dimensional and resilient. No longer will the branding on your flash drives suffer the effects of time and excessive use as the branding is embedded in the product.

The range of items produced is staggering. Companies have commissioned Branded USB Memory sticks in the shape of Rugby Balls, People, Animals, Plants, Cars Airplanes and even USB shaped food!

Whether you are looking for a Customised USB flash drive for the launch of a new product, a promotional giveaway or to “WIN AN ELECTION” a bespoke Customised USB is the answer you have been looking for.

Just look what it did for President Obama!

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How A Branded USB Stick Helped To Win The US Election

The Perfect Branded USB Storm

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

With the growing trend in branded USB memory sticks as a vehicle to distribute promotional material, speed of production and delivery are becoming critical. The vast majority of branded USB memory sticks are manufactured in the Far East and it won’t come as any surprise that most ship from China / Hong Kong.

The normal delivery timeframe for printed USB memory sticks via a UK supplier is around 10 working days, including 3 days to arrive from the Far East. However, recently there have been several elements that have impacted this delivery period.

Branded USB Flash DRive amoungst storm clouds and lightening

Perfect USB Storm

  • Typhoon Vincent has ravaged Hong Kong and Shenzhen areas. This is the primary manufacturing and transportation hubs for branded USB memory sticks. Infrastructure has been damaged and flights delayed.
  • The Olympics is bringing in an influx of competitors, visitors and associated goods. This is limiting cargo space, as well as increasing the length of time for imports to be processed by customs.
  • Delivery in the UK, in particular around Olympic venues are being disrupted and courier companies are taking longer to deliver, as well as, charging an additional delivery fee.

So what can you do if your important event cannot wait! Put simply, do not take the risk and order your memory sticks from a UK supplier, such as USB2U, that holds a broad range of models and has in-house print facility. Whilst it may cost a little more, you can sleep easy and enjoy watching the Olympics, knowing that the memory sticks will be delivered within 24 hrs.

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The Perfect Branded USB Storm

Promotional USB Flash Drives –Delivered in 24Hrs

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

We all know the feeling. You’ve been planning your company’s participation at a major trade show for months and you’re pretty confident that you’ve got everything on track and you’re safe from any last minute “dropped catches”. That is until your boss decides that it might be a good idea to give away promotional USB flash drives from the show stand!

No doubt your boss will have recently been given one of these himself at a similar show (probably from a competitor) and had been meaning to tell you for a while that he wanted them for your show – it just “slipped his mind!”

Oblivious to the trauma you’ve experienced over the last few months in the run up to the show as you try and juggle organising the stand (design, floor plans, equipment, electricians, staff to man it, invites to key customers, promotion and advertising, tweets, website promotion, printed brochures, name badges and beverages for the staff on the stand) he now wants you to pull a “rabbit out of the hat” and deliver promotional USB flash drives with your logo printed on them in less than 2 days! Easy (not)!

Whilst you might think promotional USB flash drives are a good idea (you’ve probably mentioned them to him in the past but interestingly they are now his idea!) getting them organised in such a short amount of time is not going to be easy. The only saving grace is that you do have the artwork you want printed ready to go because you’ve had it created in high resolution format for the stand and other giveaways.

If you hit the internet and punch in your requirements to a popular search engine you’ll soon find a plethora of USB suppliers that purport to offer a fast turnaround but your relief is likely to quickly turn to anxiety when you realise that their interpretation of “fast” is 3-5 days!

The problem is that very few suppliers are willing to carry local stock of USB flash drives because they know if they don’t sell them that they’ll be stuck with an asset that rapidly depreciates in value (the price is USB flash drives halves every 12 months).  If you do find a supplier with stock they also need to have the capability of printing them on the day you place your order – a big ask!

Only a very small number of USB suppliers are big enough to hold stock and have in-house design and print capabilities and one of these is USB2U – now in their 10th year they able to supply a range of different types and memory sizes of USB sticks printed with your logo in as little as 24hrs (assuming you get your order and artwork to them in the morning that is).

So, if you do get given the “monkey” of getting promotional USB flash drives at very short notice don’t mess around going to lots of different companies just pick up the phone and speak to the team at USB2U.

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Promotional USB Flash Drives –Delivered in 24Hrs
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