Posted by USB2U on 6th October 2011 | Permalink
With a constant need to keep up with competitors, reacting to the ever changing digital world, patterns and trends in industries and the rise and fall of the economy, it’s important to keep one step ahead, and get your businesses’ messages out there efficiently and effectively.
The Rise Of The Promotional USB Stick
Demand for “old fashioned” CD’s has reduced dramatically over the years, and an increase in printing costs for traditional sales brochures has encouraged companies to look at alternative options to distribute information on their products, prices and services. By nature, consumers are also a lot more visual, and react well to videos and animations that is something that traditional printed materials of course, can’t offer.
Customised USB sticks are increasingly the solution companies opt for because:
1. Printed and customised USB memory sticks are now available for less than £2 per unit (subject to minimum quantities and type)
2. You get on-going brand exposure with USB sticks because they tend to be used by the recipient to store and carry their own personal data (after all this is what they are designed for!)
3. Postage costs to send out a DM campaign with USB sticks are significantly cheaper than sending out expensive and heavy glossy brochures.
4. The cost of printing on a USB is generally less expensive that the cost of printing brochures.
5. It’s far easier to take a few hundred or even thousand USB sticks to a trade show than it is to transport the equivalent number of heavy brochures or leaflets
6. Lots of brochures handed out at trade shows and exhibitions end up in the bins outside the exhibition halls – USB sticks don’t as they’re small enough to be carried around!
7. Pre-loading your sales catalogues, price lists, press releases, media files etc. onto any USB stick you hand out is a must – After all you’re paying for the storage space on the sticks so you might as well use it.
USB Pre-loaded Data Is A Vital Commodity
Pre-loading data onto a memory stick purchased for your company makes good commercial sense. The savings made by pre-loading data onto USB sticks rather than printing the equivalent documents can fully offset the cost of the sticks. Plus, as mentioned, with the right memory available, short videos and animation can be loaded- something that consumers react well to.
The process of data loading is sometimes called duplication, pre-loading, copying or replication. It is relatively easy to do but it can be time consuming and you need to plan ahead to allow enough time to get the data organised. Ideally a USB stick supplier would do the data-load for you – most will offer a free data load up to a certain amount, typically 100MB.
Locking Data Onto USB Sticks
If you prefer you can “lock” the data that you pre-load onto the USB flash drive. This means that it cannot be deleted, bear in mind if you want to do this you would generally have to have your data ready early as it has to be loaded and “locked” during the manufacturing process. You also need to consider that if you load too much data onto the stick and therefore not leaving enough room for the user then they are highly unlikely to use it and your brand won’t get the on-going use and exposure you have paid for.
At USB2U we have in-house professional data-duplication equipment that enables us to pre-load data on behalf of our clients. For more information about pre-loading data onto memory sticks, feel free to email us at [email protected]
Posted by USB2U on 12th June 2015 | Permalink
It’s that time of the year again when families travel will travel the length and breadth of the country in search of the best University for their son or daughter. For many parents it will be the first time they’ve stepped across the threshold of a university but others will be old hands at the process because they’ll have gone though it for younger siblings or they may have been university students themselves.
If you’re new to the process or you’ve not been to one of these Open Days for a few years then you will need to plan your day (including the travel and parking arrangements) will military precision. With more and more students looking to go to university the Open Days are usually heaving and simply getting to the University can be a challenge – if you’re not a lover of “Park and Ride” then you might just have to relax your prejudices because at Universities like Exeter its pretty much the only way you can get to the campus and whilst they’re well planned the “Park and Ride” aspect can add around 2+ hours to your day!
Once on the campus it can be pretty intimidating finding your way around and if you’ve got pre-booked subject talks then the pressure will be on to find the right lecture room and get a seat. Most sessions will be rammed so it’s a good idea to get their early (Park and Ride permitting!).
There is always lots of information on hand from the University and the various departments and of course they’ll be plenty of additional information of admissions, financing and accommodation to take in on the day.
Lots of universities go out of their way to ensure that on arrival you have a hard copy of the university or college prospectus, details of the fees and any bursaries etc. information on the application process, a map of the university and occasionally a food voucher to redeem in one of the university restaurants and a welcome bottle of water to keep you hydrated during what can be a long and exhausting day!
You might also get the occasional insert or flyer from the Students Union that will give you a taster of the range of extra-curricular activities that are on offer at the University.
An “Open Day” is after all the universities opportunity to sell themselves to you and your son or daughter. Competition amongst the universities to bag the best and brightest students is fiercer than ever and Open Days (as well as exam results) play a huge part in helping students decide where to apply to.
Whilst a promotional USB Memory Stick printed with the universities logo is not going to influence anyone’s university choice it is interesting how many are now supplying these to prospective students as part of the packs they hand out. The promotional USB sticks are typically pre-loaded with copies of the prospectus and all the important forms any prospective student might need. With as much as 8GB of space available on even the most basic USB Stick many universities are increasingly loading videos onto the sticks illustrating student life on campus as well as offering links to Social Networking and Web sites. If you’re visiting lots of universities over the next few months it will be interesting to see just how many USB memory sticks you can acquire!
The way in which universities now engage with prospective students has changed enormously over the past few years. Aside from USB sticks other techniques include:
- QR codes that can be scanned by Smart Phones and take the students directly to the University (or University department) web sites).
- Facebook pages that allow the students to engage with the university, current and prospective students.
- Twitter pages that deliver live news/information snippets.
This year with around 500,000 university places to fill expect the tens of thousands of USB sticks to be given away and for the airways to be full of tweets, emails and chatter. Times have certainly changed!
USB Sticks for University Open Days
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
Posted by USB2U on 12th November 2014 | Permalink
Are you looking to become a reseller of promotional USB Memory sticks? Perhaps your recent supplier terminated their re-seller program and left you unable to service your own clients (we know of one high profile name in the industry that has recently given notice to many of its international resellers because we’ve been approached by lots of them!)
Whatever your motive is we’d love to work with you. We’ve been at the forefront of the supply of branded flash drives for over 10 years now and today we’re one of the largest and most respected names in Europe.
We give all of our USB resellers the right tools and prices they need to win business and we’re incredibly respectful of the relationship they have with their client(s). Where we also differ is in the amount and range of stock we hold locally. This way instead of promising lead times of 1 or 2 weeks we can supply in days or hours if needed!
USB2U European Resellers Wanted
We print and engrave our USB sticks in house in Northampton in the UK and we use UPS to ship around the world on a next day service. So if you’re a partner in say Germany and you need printed USB sticks delivered tomorrow to Berlin then providing you have your artwork ready and we can get everything approved by 1-2pm then that should not be a problem!
We also have our own in-house design team which allows us to provide mock-ups, proofs and concepts within a matter of hours – if you want these delivered in your own “template” so you can simply pass these straight through to your clients then again this is not a problem.
At the heart of our business is a bunch of people who are passionate about branded and promotional memory sticks. This passion translates into a focus on delivering great customer service to all of our resellers and to their end customers. We know price and margins are important but we also know that we and our partners are judged on our collective ability to deliver on our promises and that just one failure can lead to the loss of the business and the relationship to a competitor. As you can see by the 2,500 reviews we’ve accumulated on Trustpilot we’re not in the habit of letting customers down!
Here’s what you get if you choose USB2U as your partner:
- Named account manager who will look after you and get to understand your business and your requirements.
- Competitive and discounted pricing.
- 30-day trade terms (subject to credit application and approval).
- Free design support, mock-ups and creative consultancy on bespoke USB jobs.
- Artwork optionally delivered embedded in your own branded PDF client approval documents.
- Free and approved use of our very large image catalogue.
- Free origination.
- Free pantone matching on a wide range of memory sticks.
- Free sample packs.
- Discounted data loading service.
If you’re interested in becoming a USB2U approved reseller then simply send an email to [email protected] and we’ll get right back to you with details of how to get started.
Posted by USB2U on 13th October 2014 | Permalink
We understand that sometimes it’s just not possible to foresee that you’re going to need some printed USB flash drives. We know that things get missed off the “to-do” list. We know that other people you thought were taking care of the order for USB sticks can “forget” them and equally we know that other promotional USB flash drive suppliers can be too confident of their ability to deliver against very tight deadlines.
The typical lead-times that most supplies work to is around 5 – 10 days from final artwork approval (which in itself can add a day or two to the process and even them lots of suppliers won’t start working on your order until you’ve paid for them). This is usually fine in “normal” circumstances but if you need your flash drives in a hurry then it can be a challenge finding a local supplier that can help!
At USB2U we not only hold thousands of blank USB sticks in stock ready to be overprinted but we handle all of the printing, data-loading and QA checking in-house. In fact we hold so much stock in the UK that around 50% of all of our orders are now assembled, printed (or engraved) and data-loaded by us in Northampton. This means our customers get a super-fast turnaround on their orders and there is no risk of them getting “stuck in customs” or being delayed because of shipping issues.
In fact with a print and engraving capacity that exceeds 5,000 USB sticks per day we’re so confident in our ability to turn around orders quickly that we offer a 24hr”rush service”! Although we describe it as a 24hr service the reality is often quicker than this because we seem to get a lot of orders in the afternoon which are then printed and delivered before lunchtime the following day – so, in reality our 24hr service is quite often 20hrs or less!
Here’s what one customer had to say about our rush service and what it meant to them and their client last week:
Excellent service. Saved an important account (Philip Noons of JE Group)
We had an important client call us on Friday evening to get a USB order to them by 3:00PM on the following Monday. None of our other suppliers could help us. I emailed Natalie on Friday evening and spoke with her on the Monday. I had the artwork approved and the job turnaround by 1:00PM. A truly impressive level of service. My courier picked up the items and delivered them to our client’s exhibition in London by 2:30PM that day. Needless to say, our client (a highend retaill store) were extremely grateful. USB2U, thanks to their efforts, made us look good.
If you find yourself in need of promotional USB sticks in a hurry then there really is only one place to call!
At the moment we’ve got some special pricing on our Chic USB Sticks and yes, they can be with you (printed and data-loaded) tomorrow.
Promotional USB Sticks in 24hrs from USB2U
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
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!
Posted by USB2U on 23rd April 2014 | Permalink
The body that controls the development of the USB standards has decided that the current USB connector (the one that has been with us since the mid 1990’s) is overdue for a makeover.
The USB connector – the metal bit at the end of the cable or any USB memory stick is apparently not sleek enough, not small enough and it’s biggest problem is that it’s caused us to waste hours and hours of our life trying to work out which way around the USB connector needs to be inserted – really? We handle more USB’s in a day than the average person will handle in a lifetime and we can’t say that it’s really been that much of an issue.
But, with smart phones, tablets and new wearable devices getting thinner and thinner there is a reasonable argument that we do need a sleeker and thinner connector to support them. Of course the downside of this is that overtime we’re all likely to have to upgrade our peripherals and storage devices to support the new interface – for the foreseeable future the current USB connector (socket) is not going to be phased out we’re more likely to see a parallel running so PC’s and Laptops (and possibly smart TV’s) will come equipped ready to support both standards.
USB Type C Cable and Connector - Courtesy of Foxconn
The new connector, christened “Type C” will hit the market later this year (probably just in time for Christmas) and you can be sure that the manufactures of adapters and connectors are poised to launch products at the same time. If this all sounds familiar then think “Apple Lightening Connector” and the challenges it created when it was introduced with the iPhone5.
Other touted benefits of the new Type C connector are:
- The cable (or peripheral) will make an audible click when plugged in correctly.
- It will support higher data transfer rates of up to 10 Gbps.
- It will enable the delivery of greater power to peripherals via the USB Type C cable(s) – roughly double the amount of the current standard.
- It’s designed to be plugged and unplugged 10,000 times.
With an estimated 6 Billion implementations of the current sized USB cables/connector don’t expect things to change too much overnight! Most people are still using USB 2.0 and haven’t made the move to USB 3.0 so we’re not expecting a stampede to USB 3.1 and the Type C connector anytime soon.
As far as promotional USB flash drives are concerned it’s likely to be business as usual for many years to come – the two core requirements when companies are looking for promotional USB flash drives is “universality” (when they give them away can people use them) and “price”. Whilst there are undoubted merits with the USB 3.1 standard and the Type C connector the issues in the short term (the next few years) are that most people they would give a new generation USB 3.1 flash drive to would not be able to use it and they’ll pay a hefty premium for a USB 3.1 product versus USB 2.0
It’s too soon to be reading the last rites to USB flash drives as we know them today but the next few years are going to prove interesting!
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!
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
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
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:
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- Read the reviews sites and see what other customer are saying about the suppliers you’ve contacted.
- 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.
Posted by USB2U on 26th November 2013 | Permalink
Over the last 10 years USB memory sticks have evolved from being an early adopter, niche product, to the default way in which many of us now back up and carry our data around with us. CD’s and DVD’s are now all but dead with USB sticks being the default option albeit “cloud based” back-up solutions are starting to challenge the need for any form of physical medium.
The move from CD’s to DVD’s to USB memory sticks is a paradigm shift not unlike the move from film based photography to digital photography but how long will it be before the dominance of USB sticks is threatened. The huge growth in the sale of tablets and smart phones (neither of which typically have USB ports) combined with faster and more reliable broadband and 4G solutions could accelerate the move from USB sticks to cloud based back-up solutions like Drop Box.
But, one area where the sale of USB memory sticks remains strong is in the promotional gift sector. Companies looking for a relatively inexpensive give-away with their brand/logo printed onto it are increasingly choosing promotional USB memory sticks – the primary reasons for this are:
- USB Sticks have a high perceived value
- They are well received and highly regarded as a promotional give away
- Unlike pretty much any other promotional product they can be pre-loaded with lots of useful information in the form of promotional videos, sales brochures, tech sheets, price lists and links to Social Media and web sites.
- They’re inexpensive – prices start at less than £2 per USB stick (fully printed or engraved and pre-loaded with data)
- There a lots of different models and designs to choose from and they all look excellent printed up with a logo/design
- They can be combined with a wide range of accessories and attractive gift boxes – all of which reinforce any brand printed on them and all add to the perceived value of the “gift” when handed out.
- When brochures and other sales material that is normally printed and handed out is save electronically onto them then significant costs savings on print and distribution can be made.
Promotional USB Memory Sticks - The Popular Twister Model
So whilst USB sticks will come under increased pressure from cloud storage options for now at least their future as a promotional gift seems pretty much assured – after all you can’t really generate much excitement and warmth when you hand out a URL for your customers to go and download your sales material.