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

Posted by USB2U on 8th April 2013 | Permalink

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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The Chronology of a Rush Request for Printed USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 21st June 2012 | Permalink

If you find yourself up against a tight deadline for printed USB memory sticks then it’s worth knowing that USB2U offer a “rush” service that can often deliver them in under 24hrs. So whether you’ve been let down by another supplier, you simply “forgot” to order them or more likely your boss has decided at the last minute that printed USB sticks would be a good idea, don’t panic, there is typically always a solution.

Fortunately at USB2U we carry lots of blank stock (different models in different memory sizes) and we can print, engrave and load data in house so we have complete control of the end to end process. Because of this we can typically flex our print schedule to help customers who are in a real bind and need their flash drives the very next day.

Below is a real-life example of how we helped a rescue a London Agency who at the last minute realised they needed branded (and dataloaded) USB Sticks for a press event being run by one of their blue-chip clients the following day:

Day 1 – 3.00pm

Customer calls asking if there is any way we could print 250 x 2GB USB sticks with their clients’ logo and get them delivered to central London before noon the following day? Oh, and all 250 USB sticks also need pre-loading with a series of PDF’s PowerPoint Slides and a short video.

Day 1 – 3.10pm

The account manager checks with the design/print team to see if we can schedule the job and checks with the data loading team to see if they can “squeeze in” a last minute job. Everyone is up for it but with only 2hrs before our courier collects it’s going to be tight so to be on the safe side we agree with the customer that a same day van can be organised for the morning.

Day 1 – 3.20pm

Customer signs off the order confirmation form and emails through their artwork and data and arranges payment by credit card.

Day 1 – 3.30pm

Our designers send a mock-up back to the customer of how their printed USB sticks will look – all approved.

Day 1 – 4.00pm

All 250 USB sticks have had the customers files copied onto them and they are passed to the print team.

Day 1 – 4.45pm

The USB sticks are printed as per the mock-up

Day 1 – 4.50pm

The printed and data-loaded USB sticks are QA checked, virus checked and individually packed into small polythene bags. The order is then finally packed into a USB2U carton, a small “thank you” card and pack of Haribo sweets is include with the order.

Day 1 – 5pm

The customers boxed order for 250 printed and data loaded sticks is collected by our overnight courier just 2 hours after the initial enquiry. The customer is sent the tracking details by email (the order has been sent on a pre-noon service) and the same day van that was put on “standby” is cancelled.

Day 2 – 11am

The printed USB sticks are delivered to the Press Event venue in Central London and the day is saved! The London Agency and their client are delighted and just a little bit stunned that in just 20hrs from making a phone call they have the branded USB sticks they wanted.

Now, ideally we’d like a little more time to perform these miracles but we have proven time and time again that it is possible. Every day we print and data load USB sticks for delivery the following day, most customers call in the morning rather than at 3pm in the afternoon and these extra few hours do help but if you are really, really up against it then call us – we like a challenge and we’ll do everything we can reasonably do to help.

Rush Service USB Flash Drives

Rush Service USB Flash Drives

 

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Brand Building With Logo Printed USB Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 19th June 2012 | Permalink

Companies that operate in a crowded market have to pay more than lip service to developing their brand and raising awareness of the brand and what it represents. Branding is not just about coming up with a nice, snazzy logo that your designer thinks is “cool” instead it’s about building up a set of positive associations  between your customers (and potential customers). These associations can be at a company level, product level, they can reflect the service received (or given) and/or they can reflect the interaction with an individual or number of individuals within the company.

When any company embarks on a brand building strategy they are fundamentally looking to  develop a programme that encapsulates the strengths and values of their business, to make clear why they are different from their competitors and why customers buy (and repeat buy) from them. Companies with a great brand will have worked hard to create a special relationship with their customers and often it’s a relationship that evokes strong emotional reactions – get it right and customers become strong advocates and ambassadors for the brand and will help drive sales forward.

A logo is often confused with a brand but a brand is more to do with the sum of many parts of which the logo is just one component albeit it is often the element that is most widely seen and remembered.

Branded USB Flash Drives

Branded USB Flash Drives

As part of a brand building initiative lots of businesses are now using USB flash drives with their logo printed or engraved onto them. The drives are either handed out at corporate events (seminars, conferences, trade shows or press events) or given away to customers as part of a promotional campaign. In most cases the USB drives are pre-loaded with lots of useful information about the company, its products and how to engage with them (website addresses, Twitter and Facebook details etc.).

Branded USB flash drives are a relatively inexpensive way to give customers, prospective customers, journalists and other influencers something that has a high perceived value, something that has the potential for repeat usage (recipients will usually use them to store and carry their own data on) and something that will help to engender a positive feeling towards the company gives them away.

The logo that is engraved or printed on the USB flash drive serves as a constant reminder of the company that handed out the USB stick and providing you don’t forget to take care of the underlying base principals of what a good brand is all about them they will support any brand building campaign.

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Turbulent Times In the Promotional USB Memory Stick Market

Posted by USB2U on 18th June 2012 | Permalink

The problems in Greece and the consequential fear over the future stability of the Eurozone have done little to help the market for promotional USB memory sticks. Whist stability in this sector is only likely to be of any interest to the relatively small number of companies that operate in it across Europe it is a sector that has seen more than its fair share of price challenges of late.

If you ever wondered why very few companies selling branded USB memory sticks put prices on their web sites forcing you to contact them for a price (which of course not everyone wants to do or has the time or inclination to do) it’s simply because the core costs of the product that dictate the sales price are inextricably linked to the currency exchange markets, the commodity markets and consumer sentiment.

Flash memory (including the flash memory used to make USB memory sticks) is traded as a commodity just like coffee, tea and oil so it is subject to daily price swings as the traders that deal in it judge global market conditions. Prices are fixed in USB dollars ($) so any for companies in the UK any weakness in Sterling (GBP – £) against the USD ($) pushes up the price up and finally seasonal purchasing patterns lead to supply shortfalls and rising prices.

With all of these “fluid” elements coming together companies that sell USB sticks can typically only take the risk of fixing their prices every day and it is simply not practicable to change prices daily on their web sites.

USB Price Fluctuations

USB Price Fluctuations

Hopefully the decision in yesterday Greece elections to support the pro-bailout parties will help restore some stability to the markets and in particular the currency markets. Nervousness about the situation across the whole of the eurozone and in particular the possibility of Greece voting to leave the EU had pushed the pound (GBP – £) down from around $1.6 a couple of weeks ago to $1.53. This has a direct impact on the cost of branded USB memory sticks which when combined with concerns about future demand (based on market sentiment) has led to further price volatility.

Ironically in the middle of all of this prices for USB sticks with a larger memory capacity have dropped like a stone. Prices for 8GB and 16GB are have fallen by well over 50% in the last couple of months and although there are “mutterings” of the prices going back up it’s unlikely they will ever return to their former highs.

As ever the best advice if you are looking to buying branded USB memory sticks is to speak to a reputable supplier that understand the market dynamics and can offer you some professional advice on when and what to buy.

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Going Round in Circles Looking For Branded USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 14th November 2011 | Permalink

You’d think sourcing branded USB memory sticks for your business or school would be easy after all there are plenty of companies in the market supplying them. To some degree that’s part of the problem – there are now so many companies competing for your business that the overwhelming choice on offer can bamboozle you!

It’s not just the number of suppliers of branded USB sticks that’s the problem it’s the sheer volume of different styles and types of USB sticks that compounds the problem.

Circle Shaped USB Memory Sticks

Circle Shaped USB Memory Sticks

Do you choose plastic, metal, leather, credit card shaped or wood? Do you buy sticks with a small(ish) capacity (say 1GB) or do you go for something a little bigger like a 4GB or 8GB? Even when you think you’ve narrowed down your choice to a particular model of USB drive you’ll still have to think about how you want them printed (one side or both) and do you get them printed onto a standard colour or should you ask for the body shell to be pantone matched to a colour that compliments the logo you’re printing on them?

It doesn’t end there either. When you’ve sorted the model, the memory size, the colour and what you’re printing on them you’ll have to think about whether you want them delivered in “bulk”, or in gift boxes (plain or printed) and whether you want any optional extras like key rings or lanyards (neckstraps)!!

Finally you need to give some consideration to the data you’re going to put on them (assuming you are going to load some data on them before you hand them out) – should this data “auto-run” when the stick is plugged in? Should the data be protected so that it cannot be deleted? If it’s sensitive data should you protect it with a password or go the extra mile and encrypt the data as well as protect it?

Straightforward isn’t it? And, even when you’ve got all of this nailed down there is then the small matter of making sure you’ve chosen a supplier that not only delivers but delivers on time and delivers genuine Grade A flash drives. If you end up with a supplier that lets you down on delivery or promises Grade A flash memory products but delivers “masked” sub-standard drives then all of the decision making angst about what to buy, how to print it, how to package it and so on will be wasted.

The best way to reduce the stress levels when buying branded USB memory sticks is to go with a trusted and proven supplier who can add the weight of their expertise to the selection, buying and delivery process.

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Why Choose USB2U?

Posted by USB2U on 21st July 2011 | Permalink

USB2U is pleased to announce a new standard offer and a new homepage.

New Standard Offer

We now have a standard, permanent offer that includes the following:

  • FREE Delivery to one UK mainland address
  • FREE 4 Colour spot printing
  • FREE Data load up to 100mb
  • FREE Lanyards or Key Rings
  • FREE Gift box
  • Minimum Order Quantity of 25 units

These great offers apply to apply to every standard order regardless of USB style, quantity, or memory size.

USB2U Offer

Free Delivery
Yes, standard delivery to one UK mainland address is FREE.  This applies to all standard orders regardless of order quantity, style or memory size.  We think that free delivery reduces the complication of different added costs and that it is good to know up-front how much your branded USB flash drives will cost.  Standard delivery is sent first class however; any times deliveries such as guaranteed next-day delivery will be charged for.

Free Printing
All of our flash drives now come with free colour printing up to four spot colours.  Multi-coloured logos and complicated designs are not a problem either as we are also offering free Resin Dome Stickers on our most popular USB model, the Twister.  To find out more about the Resin Dome Stickers click here and to see the Twister USB flash drive in more detail click here.

Free Data Load
We’ll load or copy any data you want onto the sticks for FREE. The only constraint is that the data must be less than 100MB otherwise a small charge will apply. We have our own in-house professional USB data duplication equipment so we can load you data right at the last minute if you struggle to get the data ready till then.

Free Lanyard or Key Ring
With all orders we are offering a selection of free coloured lanyards and key rings to accompany your USBs.  Our lanyards come in a range of 8 different colours, Black, White, Grey, Blue, Green, Orange, Red and Yellow.  Lanyards and Key Rings are ideal for School’s giving the USBs to their students.

Free Gift Box
With every order for branded flash drives we can supply free gift boxes. Please remember to ask for these, as we know not everyone wants them. As well as these free standard boxes we offer a wide range of presentation boxes and tins for your branded USB flash drives and these can be branded up with your logo as well to really compliment the memory stick. Ask for samples if you’re not sure. These can be seen here: USB Packaging.

25 Unit Minimum Order Quantity
Unlike some promotional companies, our minimum order quantity for printed flash drives is set at a realistic 25 pieces. If you just want plain (unprinted stock) then you can order from 5 pieces upwards.

New Homepage

To accompany our new great offer we have also just launched a brand new homepage that looks better, loads quicker and offers easier navigation.

Better Looking
We think that the new style of the homepage is much more tidy and sharp, the same way you feel when you have had a haircut.  The modules separate the different areas and links featured on the homepage easier on the eye and the new slider banner is much sleeker.

Quicker at Loading

Our homepage changes don’t only have an aesthetic appeal; it is now also quicker at loading.  This will make it much more convenient to visit our site and browse through our wide range of USB drives.

Easier Navigation
The new homepage has been revamped so that you can find what you want faster.  We have organised modules so that the more important and more frequently used sections of our site such as the product range, 48 hour rush service and Quote page are more accessible.

So, to see what all of the fuss is about and to view our new homepage click here.

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Get the Visual Basics Right When Buying Branded USBs

Posted by USB2U on 20th July 2011 | Permalink

Before some products are bought it is really beneficial to test them, for example before a car is purchased it would be taken for a test drive to judge its feel and see how it runs.  Other products however, are pretty standard and simple information suffices to make a decision – a remote controlled car might be bought just knowing the battery duration and top speed.

Some products will depend on the quantity that is bought as to whether it is tested.  For example, when ordering a meal in a restaurant requesting a taster to help make a decision would be a pretty strange demand whereas, if the restaurant was catering for a wedding a tester would be an acceptable request.  Whatever the product is, the more information that can be obtained about it, to help make the decision, the better.  This can save problems and hassle once the product is bought.

Buying USB flash drives fall into the various buying categories above.  USB2U always provide grade A chips, this means that it is a pretty standard product and won’t need too much testing – as long as it connects to a computer, lasts a long time and stores the amount of data it should then there isn’t much variation.  The quality of the product however and the look of a logo on the memory sticks makes a huge difference, it says something about the perception of a brand.

For these reasons above we offer free visual mock-ups and free samples.

USB Visual Mock-Up

USB Samples

We send out samples of our USB flash drive cases (without the memory chip) so that the quality of the product can be seen before companies make a larger purcase.  As described above this can really help when making a decision.

Visual Mock-Ups

An accurate visual mock-up of how a company’s logo will look on a one of our flash drive models can make a huge difference.  With the knowledge we have of our competitors we know that our in house design team offer the best visual mock-ups of your branded USBs in the business.  As explained above this is a really important part of the process and our in-house design team have it down to a tee.

So if you’re not sure how your logo or brand will look on a particular USB memory stick then simply fire an email over to us with your artwork attached and our in-house design team will work their magic and send you back a range of different examples for consideration.  It’s the same for any custom USB (bespoke) ideas you might have – just give us a call and talk through what you you’re imagining and we’ll work up some concepts and 3-D drawings for you.

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Let Branded USB’s Give You Some Confidence in Presentations

Posted by USB2U on 19th July 2011 | Permalink

Most of our employees here at USB2U have a business background and are always looking for ways to improve their business skills.  Recently one of our employees ‘stumbled upon’ an interesting article sharing pointers and advice on how to give polished presentations.  The article was an interesting read and included pointers about where to sit, how to use a digital presentation to your advantage and the sort of language to use.

One piece of advice stood out above the rest.  It gave advice on how to most effectively use handouts to accompany a presentation.  The article said that handouts should never be given out at any time during a presentation.

We all know what happens if handouts are given to us at the beginning of a presentation.  Even if you haven’t given a presentation recently, you’ve most likely been in one where this has happened.  Eyes go down, everyone reads ahead and if you’re lucky they are sometimes on the right page.  It’s more likely that your audience are trying to calculate how much longer they will be sat for by the amount of pages and slides.

As we all know, if handouts are to be used, they should be provided after a presentation to add value or accompany it as opposed to being a competitor for your attention.

We all have a stack of paper from previous presentations on which we took notes, never to read or refer to again, yet we cant bring ourselves to put them straight in the bin in case we need them in the near future.  Months later on the cycle of the blue moon when we come to tidy our desk, we dig out these presentation slides and have no hesitation in throwing them away.

USb Clip Drive

Clip Style USB Flash Drive

‘What has this got to do with logo USB flash drives?’ I hear you ask.  Well, if handout information should be something that adds value to a presentation, but if people don’t refer back to the information, what’s the point in the handout?  Wouldn’t it be much more effective if you used an impressive company branded USB memory stick?

Think about the change in attitude of your audience when at the end they are given a useful USB flash drive.  It’s more likely that they would get back to their desk and plug the flash drive into their computer to find out what has been saved.  They could find a PDF version of your presentation, the hand out document, web links taking them directly to the Internet pages that you referred to and anything else that you found necessary to give the added value that your presentations deserves.  Referring back to your presentation information will become interesting.

Our new Clip USB flash drive is a small, sleek and professional looking memory stick that is perfect for this purpose.  It can double as a paper clip holding documents together or sit nicely on a suit or jacket pocket.

Using a branded USB memory stick can add value and make that impression that your presentation needs to secure the job, win the pitch or impress your boss.

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From Potato Chips to Flash Memory Chips

Posted by USB2U on 24th May 2011 | Permalink

USB flash drives printed with a company logo on them are proving popular with companies who have something new to say or announce. One of the reasons for their popularity is that its easy for companies to pre-load the flash drives with tons of information about their announcement.

They don’t necessarily replace printed press releases and product sheets entirely but they do give lots of scope to provide customers, partners and journalists with much more information in a format that is easy to carry and use.

The sort of information typically loaded on USB flash drives these days before they are handed out tends to include; video clips, media files, previews of TV or web banner adverts, user product reviews, executive briefings and loads more besides.

Most suppliers of branded and promotional USB flash drives offer a data pre-loading service and some will even throw in data-loading free of charge (subject to minimum order quantities and a maximum amount of data) so anyone thinking of loading data onto flash drives should shop around. You should only expect to pay for a data-load if it’s a last minute thing or you’ve got a particularly large amount of data you need loading!

All sorts of companies from the very large to small start-ups are now using USB flash drives to get their message out and to supplement other communication channels.

Printed USB Flash Drive

Printed USB Flash Drive

Tyrrells who make fantastic hand cooked English chips from locally sourced ingredients have recently undergone a bit of a makeover that included renaming their chips and calling them “crisps”. They’ve also launched a new website and have given their bags a bit of a “spruce up” – the results are fab – a bit like their crisps really!

If like Tyrrells you’ve got a fantastic product that you want to shout about you’re keen to let the world know about then you might also want to consider using a USB stick as part of your promotional or PR campaign. If you do then don’t forget to pre-load them with your data files before you hand them out!

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Announcing The New Flexible PVC USB Flash Drives From USB2U

Posted by USB2U on 17th May 2011 | Permalink

Custom USB flash drives manufactured in a 3-D shape have been possible for a number of years but typically they are not cheap and they have quite a long lead-time (you should allow around 6 weeks for the production and approval process).

PVC USB Flash Drives

PVC USB Flash Drives

Done well custom USB flash drives do look fantastic and there are some great examples around of flash drives manufactured in the shape of trucks, Nike trainers, eggs and musical instruments. Literally anything is possible providing you have the time and are prepared to spend a little more money on them compared to standard factory designs.

Custom USB flash drives are popular because they:

  • Create more of an impact when they are handed out
  • They generate “chatter” about the brand or product that the flash drive has been produced in the image of.
  • They’re good “ice-breakers” for sales people at the start of a meeting.
  • They work incredibly well at press events to launch a new product or service
  • They will be unique to the company that has commissioned them.
  • Just like any “regular” flash drive they can be supplied in a wide range of memory sizes and pre-loaded with sales or presentation documents before they are handed out.
PVC USB Flash Drive

PVC USB Flash Drive

The new PVC USB flash drives launched by USB2U have all of the benefits of a custom USB flash drive but without the large tooling and set-up costs and they are available with a much more aggressive lead time.

The PVC drives can be produced in any shape (2-D shape) and are supplied with an integral key ring attachment. They’re lightweight and the USB connector slides back into the body of the flash drive when not in use so there is no cap to use. The examples on this page show the wide range of shapes and designs that can be produced but literally anything is possible!

One of the beauties of these new flash drives is the quality of print that be achieved – both sides of the drive can be printed using a four colour print processes to generate a photo realistic finish. The quality of the print is really crisp and bright.

PVC USB Sticks

PVC USB Sticks

Because the flash drives are made from PVC the body of the flash drive is slightly “squishy” but this does not detract from the overall effect and is a positive advantage if you’re getting them produced in the shape of things like fruit or t-shirts.

So, if you’re looking for a flash drive that is a little bit different from the “norm” but you don’t want to pay (or wait) for a fully customised 3-D flash drive then these new drives might be just what you need.

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