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Cheap Promotional USB Flash Drives – In Short Supply

Posted by USB2U on 28th January 2015 | Permalink

If you’re in the market for any quantity of promotional USB flash drives over the next few weeks and you’re looking for cheap and cheerful drives to hand out at shows or events then you might be in for a frustrating time.

At any other time of the year it’s usually possible to pick up cheap 128MB promotional USB flash drives (typically around £1.50 each all branded up with your logo if you buy enough of them) but right now, in the run-up to Chinese New Year, things start to get challenging. The problem is that the factories that produce the world’s supply of these items shut for two weeks to celebrate the start of the New Year and National Day.

When the Chinese factories shut (or stop taking orders in anticipation of their closure) the stock available to buy is that held by local suppliers and these suppliers (like us) tend to carry the more popular 4GB and 8GB models. Obviously these are more expensive than the 128MB versions but you know the old adage “beggars can’t be choosers”.

If you have any need for cheap, low capacity USB memory sticks in the next couple of weeks you are strongly advised to get your orders in now. Don’t wait, don’t dither, don’t spend ages trying to negotiate the price down by a couple of pennies – just get your orders in now because it’s the only way you are going to stand any chance of getting your order this side of the Chinese New Year blackout. If you delay you either won’t get want you want or you’ll end up having to buy versions with a much larger capacity and at a higher price.

At USB2U we have invested heavily in blank stock across a range of different models (and memory sizes) which means that we will be able to offer a wide range of options to our customers throughout this period of instability. Be warned though it’s invariably the case that however much stock we buy that it gets sold through very quickly and some customers always end up disappointed.

As ever our recommendation is that you either email your account manager or give us a call to talk through the options and discuss when we could schedule your order. At the moment (28th January 2015) we still have lots of print slots available but it’s a dynamic situation so please don’t wait.

Cheap Flash Drives

USB2U Suppling USB Flash Drives Thoughout Chinese New Year 2015

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Important Company Wide Announcements – USB Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 26th January 2015 | Permalink

It’s been interesting to see a rise in the number of companies using branded USB flash drives over the last few months as part of high profile, cross company announcements to their staff. The challenge is how do you give a disparate employee base (not all of whom have access to PC’s at work) critical information at the same time and in a format they can all use. It’s not as easy as you might think!

Say for example you need to announce fundamental changes to your staff’s terms of employment, or changes to their pension scheme arrangements – how, other than trying to get everyone together for a companywide meeting do you manage it? And the company in question employs thousands of staff in different locations; working different shift patterns a “company meeting” is never going to be possible. Do you stream or broadcast the message to televisions at each location, do you send out a letter and brochure explaining the changes, or do you send out teams of senior managers to each location of run a series of co-ordinated presentations? If you do the latter how do you control the message in terms of constancy and “tone” and how do you make sure questions are fully answered with examples and illustrations?

USB Flash Drives for Businesses

USB Flash Drives for Businesses

Until recently one option was to consider using CD’s or DVD’s and sending these out as part of a pack or handing them out as part of a co-ordinated roadshow. These could include comprehensive notes, videos, copies of presentation slides/packs and tons of other supporting information. But, the problem today is that a large number of new laptops don’t ship with a CD/DVD player!

As a result what we are seeing is a move towards the use of a USB stick, typically branded with the company’s logo and normally pre-loaded with lots of multi-media content. USB sticks or flash drives (as some people prefer to call them) are arguably easier to use, they can be plugged into TV’s as well as lots of PC’s Macs and Tablets and they’re reasonably cheap. When they’ve read/used them there is of course the added benefit of being able to use the branded USB sticks for storage of their own personal data.

They can be pre-loaded with their data right at the last minute and because of their size and weight distribution is relatively easy. As such they make the ideal alternative to CD’s and DVD’s and most staff members will have something they can use to read (or watch) the content on them.

If you’ve got an important cross company message you need to get out to your staff then you might want to consider using a USB stick with your logo printed on it and your presentation material pre-loaded onto the.

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Worrying Early News from China on USB Flash Drive Shipments

Posted by USB2U on 21st January 2015 | Permalink

It begins. Today, earlier than anyone expected, UPS, one of main international carriers out of Hong Kong and China has announced that they will not be shipping any more consignments of USB flash drives this side of Chinese New Year.

This is a problem. Not just for us but for the industry as a whole. UPS, we assume, have decided to give priority to other consignments in the run-up to the National Holiday. Clearly there is limited capacity and with everyone knowing that we’re about to enter a 3-4 week “black hole”, that capacity has very quickly been taken.

Shipments that would have originally been scheduled with UPS are now being moved over to DHL but it won’t be long before DHL buckle under the pressure and impose their own restrictions. What’s slightly unnerving about this is just how soon it’s happening. Chinese New Year is on the 19th February, the factories close (or stop taking orders in anticipation of the holiday closures) on the 26th January but between now and the 19th February the hope was that the couriers would operate a near normal service.

This early action by UPS is likely to lead to panic in the market as re-sellers, suppliers and customers around the world who rely on them begin to fight for alternative shipping slots. Expect lots of trouble and lots of disappointed customers.

USB Memory Sticks - Chinese National Holidays 2013

USB Memory Sticks – Chinese National Holidays 2015

If you place an order for promotional USB sticks and your order gets caught up in this then bear in mind that it could be March before you see your order. Yes, March and even then it could be mid-March! Once your order is “in the system” there is little that can be done – you’re at the mercy of the couriers, the customs teams and the good will of all involved. Typically your contract won’t allow you to cancel or back-out of your order once placed (because no-one else will want a USB stick with your logo on) so it’ll just be a case of waiting for them to arrive. If you’re got a time critical event you ordered them for (a seminar, trade show, conference etc.) then this could be a bit of a problem!

Our advice (and we’ve been saying this for several weeks) is to place your orders now, don’t wait and place it with one of the larger companies that has some leverage in the market and will be able to use the contractual relationships with the couriers to get your order through in the next few days. Failing that order from a local company that has stock in-house and can print and supply from stock – this completely de-risks everything and means you could get your finished sticks in a matter of days from order!

Having been through this madness every year for the last 10 years or more we always stock in advance of Chinese New Year so that we can offer our customers UK printed and engraved options. This year we will again continue to offer our various “rush” service offerings throughout Chinese New Year. To be assured of delivery of promotional USB Flash Drives during over the next few weeks give us a call.

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Psst… Something Big is about to happen at USB2U

Posted by USB2U on 16th January 2015 | Permalink

We’re not very good at keeping secrets at USB2U and this one has been bubbling away for a while so it’s been really hard to keep quiet about it. So here we go, here’s the first little taster of what’s about to be unveiled. If you’re a professional photographer then please do read on because this news is hopefully going to be of interest to you.

Over the last year (since attending The 2014 Photography Show) we’ve been blown away with the interest in our range of USB photography packages (branded USB Memory Sticks and gift boxes). Thousands of you have trusted us with your brand and worked with us to produce some absolutely stunning results. Our dark wood and light wood “Woodland” flash drives combined with our matching wooden boxes have been a clear winner and we’ve been humbled by the feedback we’ve been given. The Facebook posts that customers have made, the tweets that have been shared and photos that have been posted on Pinterest have all been amazing. Thank you. We, the whole team here and it is a team effort, are genuinely happy that that you like our work. It means a lot.

But, (there’s always a but isn’t there) we know we can always do more and we know (from all of the great feedback we’ve had) that lots of photographers don’t just want packaging options for their personalised USB memory sticks, they want packaging options that will allow them to include some printed photographs as well and they want gift boxes that are large enough to allow them to add their own personal touch to them (fillings, inserts etc.).

We’ve listened and for the last few months we’ve been working on a special project to bring to you a range of bigger, better and we hope even more exciting USB and photo packaging options. We’ve taken a cue from our smaller (most popular) USB boxes and we’ve used these to develop two new ranges of top quality presentation boxes. Don’t worry,  none of the current boxes and packaging option will disappear, we’re just adding to them to give you greater choice.

With The 2015 Photography Show just weeks away we’re now ready to start the reveal of our new bigger boxes. The final reveal will take place at the Show so please do put a date in your diary and come and see us – we’re on Stand H131. We’ve love to meet you and get your feedback on our new USB packaging. We’ll have lots of great offers running at the show and some really interesting give-aways – not USB sticks ;-)

New Photographer USB Boxes Coming Soon from USB2UNew Photographer USB Boxes Coming Soon from USB2U

New Photographer USB Boxes Coming Soon from USB2U

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Professional Photographers – We’re Talking your Language

Posted by USB2U on 13th January 2015 | Permalink

Since we were mobbed at The Photography Show at the NEC in 2014 we’ve been looking for some very bright and talented people to join our team and top of our wish list was to find someone who had a passion for photography. Ideally we wanted someone who could see things not just from our perspective as a supplier of USB flash drive packages but also from the perspective of a professional photographer.

We’ve been selling USB sticks since 2003 and we think we’re pretty good at what we do but selling and supporting the Professional Photography sector is relatively new to us and as we’ve discovered photographers have their own unique set of requirements. Although we’ve responded and adapted our offering as best we could we really did want to up our game by hiring someone “from the other side” that could give us an insight into the industry and someone who could empathise with our photography customers.

Step forward Godfrey Hatton.

Godfrey Hatton - USB2U

Godfrey Hatton – USB2U Account Executive

Having been with us a few weeks here’s Godfrey in his own words:

“My name’s Godfrey and I’m the account Executive of the photography department at USB2U. I take great pride in this role, as I myself am a photographer.

I first got interested in photography when I was a teenager, when my dad let me use his old Pentax 35mm and it didn’t take long before I was hooked. Hobby turned into passion and I now have a degree in the subject.

Since graduating, I have won Shots.net Young Photographer of the year 2012, as well as being shortlisted for a number of other competitions. If you’d like to take a look at my work, you can check my website www.gchattonphotography.co.uk

I look forward to working with you. Any questions, just ask!”

Naturally we’d like to keep Godfrey busy so please feel free to give him a call or just ping him an email (Godfrey@usb2u.co.uk.). We’ll exhibiting again at The Photography Show 2015 this year (we’ll have more people on the stand and lots of new products) and Godfrey will be there so please do stop by and say hello.

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Enter our Facebook Prize Draw and Win £300 of USB Sticks and Gift Boxes with your logo on

Posted by USB2U on | Permalink

We wanted to kick off 2015 with a bit of a bang so we’ve decided to run a competition on our Facebook page. We’re giving away 25 of our popular 8GB woodland USB Flash Drives and 25 wooden slide boxes to go with them (light or dark wood – the winner can choose).

The package is worth over £300 and includes printing (or engraving) the USB sticks and the boxes with your logo (you’ll need to supply us with your artwork). This particular product/package is popular with lots of professional photographers but the offer is open to everyone anywhere in the world!

To enter all you need to do is go to our Facebook page, find the post (its “pinned” to the top of our page) like it and share it. That’s it. You have until the 31st January to enter. We’ll make the draw shortly after and we’ll post details of the winner on our Facebook page and once the USB sticks and boxes are branded we’ll post pictures of these as well. Good Luck!

If you are looking for a USB sticks and gift boxes and you don’t fancy trusting to luck then you can of course just get in touch and order your branded flash drives now. We offer over 200 different types of differing memory sizes many of which we hold in stock. We offer a range of delivery options ranging from 24hrs, 73hrs to 7-10 days.

There is no upfront payment on any order. We either offer 30 day terms (upon application) or we ask you to pay when your USB sticks have been produced and are ready to be sent to you. All of our orders are covered by our 10-year no quibble warranty and as a company that’s been supplying USB sticks since 2003 and has a ranking of “Excellent” on TrustPilot you’re going to be in safe hands with any order you place.

There are loads of examples of our work on our Flickr pages and our Pinterest pages to fire your imagination but if you’re still not sure then simply email us over your artwork, logo or design and our in-house design team will work up some examples for you and we can put some samples in the post to you so that you can examine them in the flesh.

Good Luck with the competition.

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Wow – The Arrival of the 1TB (One Terabyte) USB Drive

Posted by USB2U on 9th January 2015 | Permalink

OK it’s unlikely to be used as a promotional giveaway any time soon but if you really do need a small, portable USB backup device then they don’t come much bigger (in terms of memory size) or faster in terms of read/write speeds than this new beast which was launched by Samsung at the CES 2015 show in Las Vegas.

Named the T1 it really does take portable storage to another level and demonstrates that there is still plenty of life in the portable storage market. Yes, the “cloud” is having an impact but it’s have little impact at the promotional end of the market and recent “hacking issues” have raised genuine concerns about the security of any data stored in the cloud.

The Samsung T1 is smaller than a credit card (72mm x 52mm), it looks amazing (hats off to Samsung on the design) and they have addressed users concerns over security by including password protected access and AES 256-bit encryption of the data.

Samsung T1 SSD Drive

Sammsung T1 Drive – Image courtesy of ZDNet

Of course the big news (no pun intended) is the memory capacity of the T1. One Terabyte is 1,000,000,000,000 bytes of data. That is huge for a product this small. Bear in mind that only a couple of years ago your average USB memory stick held a seemingly insignificant 1GB of data! To give you a more meaningful idea of what you could do with 1TB of storage it will hold 17,000 hours of music or 320,000 high resolution photos or around 250 DVD films! That’s an awful lot of data in something the size of a credit card!

To make sure you don’t have to sit around for hours waiting to transfer your files to and from the T1 Samsung have worked really hard to improve the read/write speeds and claim “unparalleled” speeds of 450MB per second! (Your average USB 2.0 memory sticks have read/write speeds of around 4-8MB per second).

In summary it’s a beast albeit a small, perfectly formed beast.

The T1 will be available in a couple of weeks’ time but we’re still waiting on prices. Expect them to be north of £300-£400. (The smaller 250GB version is priced at £154.79).

To be clear the T1 is built around Solid State Drive Technology and not Flash Memory but it does connect via a USB cable and to all intents and purposes it works just like a USB flash drive (just a tad quicker). No, we’re not offering these as a promotional USB drive option (yet).

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Chinese New Year 2015 will Create a 5 Week Black Hole

Posted by USB2U on 7th January 2015 | Permalink

February 19th 2015 might be the official day for the start of the Chinese New Year but the impact of New Year holiday on the supply of promotional USB memory sticks will last significantly longer than just one day!

The year of the Goat (or sheep depending on your own personal interpretation of the Chinese Animal Zodiac charts) will, for many workers in China, usher in the start of a 2 week holiday that combines New Year festivities with the Spring Festival. It’s a period for families to reunite, to spend time together and to celebrate. There will be plenty of fireworks, plenty of food (in particular fish which is believed to bring wealth in the coming year) and loads of red decorations and lanterns (the colour “Red” is strongly associated prosperity.

The strong desire for families to reunite during this period in a country as vast as China throws up all sorts of logistical challenges and the travel networks become incredibly busy with people spending hours/days trying to get home to the provinces.

In previous years the New Year holidays have resulted in the factories that manufacture promotional and electronic goods like USB sticks closing for a few days but this year the closure period is longer and the “wind down” and “start-up” periods are considerably longer!

The net effect of this is that there will be a period of 4-5 weeks when it will be impossible to get any orders for promotional USB memory sticks shipped out of factories in China. The last day for new orders for many will be the 5th February but the earliest these will then ship from China to the UK will be the 4th March. Even when shipments do start again the factories (and transport networks/couriers) will have to handle a significant backlog of orders that will cause more delays and the inevitable chaos that comes post Chinese New Year!

Our last day for new orders at USB2U is the 26th January (this is for orders that have to be with you before the start of Chinese New Year). Orders placed after this date will arrive around the week commencing 9th March! Clearly this is a huge break in what is normally a very slick and quick supply chain so our advice is to get your orders in now!

To try and deal with the inevitable chaos that ensues every year we will carry lots of USB Memory Stick stock in the UK which we can print (or engrave depending on the product) and which we can deliver in as little as 24hrs (worldwide).

 

Chinese New Year - USB Sticks

Chinese New Year – USB Sticks

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Looking Back at 2014 and Forward to 2015

Posted by USB2U on 1st January 2015 | Permalink

What a year 2014 was for us at USB2U. In the last 12 months we have seen record sales of promotional USB sticks, enquiries from new customers have never been higher and the feedback from customers on Trustpilot has exceeded all expectations.

We’ve gained new resellers across Europe and the number of orders we now ship around the world has grown markedly and shows not signs of abating. All we can say is “Wow!” and a big “Thank you” to everyone who has entrusted us with their project, their business and their brand this year. We really do appreciate your order(s) and your faith in our ability to deliver your promotional USB sticks against what often look lime impossible deadlines.

Much of our recent growth has been underpinned by continued investment in new products, a top quality team of people and our own in-house printing and engraving kit. A significant number of our USB memory stick orders are now delivered within 72hrs from order! So whilst many of our competitors talk in of delivery timescales measures in days of weeks we’re, for a growing proportion of our business, are talking in terms of hours.

Customers clearly like the comfort of knowing that with USB2U they can place an order one day and their printed, data-loaded and boxed promotional USB memory sticks can be with them the very next day! It’s a service that de-risks everything because it uses stock we carry in the UK, it uses our own in-house design, print and data-loading capability – nothing is reliant on being “shipped in from factories in China” or on the use of 3rd party printers. It’s a service offering we will continue to expand in 2015.

USB2U for Promotional USB Flash Drives

USB2U for Promotional USB Flash Drives

We’ve also been bowled over by the support we’ve had from Professional Photographers over the last 12 months. When we exhibited at The Professional Photography Show at the NEC in March we knew immediately that it was going to be bonkers. Every day for the 4 days we were at the show people were queuing 4 deep to talk to us. It was crazy, exhilarating and exhausting. Keeping up with the demand from Photographers after the show has, at times, been challenging but again this was primarily down to an embarrassment of orders!

As we enter 2015 we’re absolutely determined to move thing up a notch or two so expect some exciting announcement from us during the 1st quarter of this year. We have already committed to exhibit again at The Photography Show at the NEC in March (but this time we’ll have a bigger stand, more staff, lots of exciting new products and we’ll have a better idea of what to expect!).

We’ve also just launched a new range of Power Banks thousands of which we hold in stock in the UK so they can also be delivered (printed or engraved) within 24hrs! Power Banks are just the start though so again keep an eye out for lots of new exciting products throughout 2015.

2014 was a cracker – bring on 2015

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Chinese New Year WILL disrupt supplies of Promotional USB Flash Drives – Please Plan Ahead

Posted by USB2U on 31st December 2014 | Permalink

We say it every year and every year we give the advice a little earlier because every year, without fail, Chinese New Year has a huge impact on the supply of promotional products like USB flash drives.

Don’t get confused, we’re not talking about the 1st of January which starts off the New Year on the Gregorian calendar that most of us use. No, we’re talking about Chinese calendar and in 2015, according to this calendar; New Year is on the 19th February!

The date that New Year is celebrated changes every year because it’s based on the Chinese lunar and solar calendars but it always falls somewhere between late January and mid-February. In 2015 it’s particularly late (in 2014 in was on the 31st January) and it will be the Year of the Goat (every new Chinese year is marked by an association with a zodiac animal).

Chinese New Year 2015 - USB Memory Sticks

Chinese New Year 2015 – USB Memory Sticks

Why is Chinese New Year an issue for us in the UK? Well if you’re a buyer of promotional products then it’s vital you understand the impact Chinese New Year has on the supply chain of promotional goods into the UK (and the rest of the world). Pretty much all promotional products are manufactured to order by factories in China and the finished items are then air-freighted in in a matter of days. Outside of New Year everyone gets used to lead times of 7-10 days but during the annual Chinese New Year “shut down” the lead times can be as much as 6 weeks or more!

So, if you have a sales event, a marketing campaign or a trade show scheduled for February or March 2015 and you are planning to use promotional items like USB flash drives then to make sure you get them you need to order them early!

Problems develop because China takes its New Year celebrations very seriously. We’re not talking about a 1 or 2 day break but rather a 2 week shut-down! Factories and offices close, couriers stop working and pretty much everything comes to a standstill. Employees travel thousands of miles to be with their families for the duration of the holiday and for once all things work related take a back seat.

In practice what this means is that everyone rushes to place orders on the factories before the holiday starts so the factories will typically impose a “last order day” around 2 weeks before the start of the New Year. This allows them to process all orders and get them shipped before they close. On their return to work 2 later they then face a huge backlog of orders and it can take several weeks before things are up and running smoothly again.

It’s the same with the International couriers and freight handlers – the closer it gets to the 19th February the more likely it is that it won’t go anywhere for 2 weeks.

Our advice and it’s the same every year is to plan ahead, get your order(s) in early and remove the stress from your life. If you do leave things too late then you’re going to have to find a local company that carries blank stock and has the capability to brand it up for you. Unfortunately , very few companies carry blank stock of flash drives in the UK and when they do the stock tends to be limited to a couple of standard models and memory sizes and your choice of colour will be limited.

At USB2U we’ve been supplying branded USB flash drives since 2002 so we carry the scars of past Chinese New Year’s! Because of this we always buy in lots of blank stock so if forward planning is not your forte give us a call.

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