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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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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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Promotional USB Stick Market – Trends of 2014

Posted by USB2U on 30th December 2014 | Permalink

As 2014 draws to a close it’s a good time to look back and review how the market for promotional USB sticks played out over the course of the year. The most fundamental observation anyone looking at the market during the last year is that little has changed.

Promotional USB memory sticks are just as popular now as they were at the end of 2013. If anything their popularity has continued to grow over the last 12 months with increased sales fuelled by falling prices and the ready availability of USB sticks with higher levels of storage – typical promotional USB sticks now have a storage capacity of 4GB and upwards but 12 months ago this would have been 1GB to 2GB.

The falling price has arguably helped drive the USB sticks into new markets. Smaller memory capacity versions (think 128MB) can today be purchased for around £1.50 each. This is the price for a fully branded and data-loaded stick (subject to volume) and it really does put them into a price bracket where hundreds can be bought and just handed out as a speculative promotional tool. Whilst 128MB might sound a small amount of storage it was only a couple of years ago when it was the de facto storage offering!

Engraved Twister USB Sticks

Engraved Twister USB Sticks

So, in the corporate market there are now two distinct markets developing: i) companies who want to use USB sticks as a “cheap and cheerful” giveaways (often still packed with lots of pre-loaded data files and ii) companies that want to use USB flash drives with a larger memory as part of a more sophisticated sales and marketing campaign.

In parallel with the development of these two distinct market sectors a third market has blossomed over the last year and that’s the market for top quality USB sticks and gift boxes for professional photographers.

Wooden USB Sticks for Professional Photographers

Wooden USB Sticks for Professional Photographers

Today no self-respecting wedding or professional photographer would still use CD’s or DVD’s to hand out their client portfolios out on! The range of high quality flash drive packages aimed specifically at the professional photographer (which include some stunning gift boxes) has increased dramatically over the last year. This coupled with a fall in the popularity use of CD’s and DVD’s has seen a surge in sales to photographers.

In response USB sticks suppliers have had to up their game with some now investing heavily in the sector, hiring dedicated accounts managers that understand the photography market an launching bundles and packages aimed specifically at the unique needs of the professional photographer. USB2U is one such supplier – see them again at the 2015 Professional Photography Show at the Birmingham NEC.

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Kick off your 2015 Sales & Marketing Drive with Promotional USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 29th December 2014 | Permalink

Now that the Christmas festivities are finally behind us its time to start to focus on plans to push your business forward in 2015. For any business looking to grow there are some key areas to focus on and these include developing your brand, getting your on-line presence right (including your Social Media profiles) and coming up with clear and cohesive plans to drive your sales. All easier said than done of course!

Interestingly promotional USB flash drives have regularly been used by companies, large and small, to achieve all of these primary objectives so if you’ve never thought of using them in your own company then perhaps 2015 is the time to give them some serious consideration. With prices falling and memory capacities increasing there really has never been a better time to buy.

For less than £2 – £3 per USB stick (each fully branded with your company logo) they can be pre-loaded with tons of information about your company and the products and services you sell. They can carry videos, product sheets, price lists, dynamic links to your website and your Social Media sites (Facebook, Google +, Twitter etc.) and much, much more. With a typical 4GB to 8GB of space to play with on your average promotional USB stick there is not going to be any shortage of storage space but even if you did find you needed a 16GB stick you’re typically only talking about an extra £1 or so!

Top Quality Promotional USB Memory Sticks from USB2U

Top Quality Promotional USB Memory Sticks from USB2U

Of course the benefit of extra storage space on any promotional USB stick is not so much about what you can pre-load onto the stick before you give it away but it’s about giving your customers (and prospective customers) something they want to hang onto and use. Arguably the larger the USB drive the more likely it is to be kept by the recipient and used again and again to store and carry their own data on.

In terms of brand development giving away a much sought after promotional item with your logo on is a great idea and if you give away a USB stick that is stuffed with lots of useful information and has spare capacity for the user (so you get the benefit of repeated brand exposure) you really will help to give your sales a well needed boost.

Of course they are not a panacea for any fundamental failings in your business offerings and positioning but for many companies they are a key part of their annual sales and marketing strategy and have been for many years!

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Where Can You Get Printed or Engraved Flash Drives Delivered in 24hrs

Posted by USB2U on 19th November 2014 | Permalink

Pfft – we spit in the eye of delivery promises of 6 days. If you need your flash drives printed, data-loaded and delivered quickly then quickly is what we do! We don’t mess around talking days we prefer to talk in terms of hours. So, if you find yourself (for whatever reason) of needing some last minute promotional drives then firstly don’t panic and secondly pick up the phone and call us (or submit a quick quote enquiry via our web site and we’ll get back to you in 15 mins or less).

We’re based in Northampton in the UK. We hold tens of thousands of different USB sticks in stock in a wide range of styles and memory capacities and we print or engrave IN-HOUSE. No outsourcing to a local printer, no restricting you to one type of product and limited memory size options – we always have stock and we control the process from start to finish using our own team and as a consequence we can (and frequently do) take orders in the afternoon for delivery the next day across the UK, Europe and the USA. Don’t believe us then check out the reviews from thousands of happy customers on Trustpilot (many of whom will make reference to how blown away they were with the speed at which we delivered their order). Here are just a few examples from the last few days:

Beyond the ordinary!

We needed some premium usb sticks in presentation boxes for an event. The production team were even able to make up x100 usb sticks and boxes within 5 hours! To meet our tight deadline – which is beyond what is advertised on their website. I am very grateful and they look superb.

Great service and very speedy turnaround

Very impressed with the service from USB2U. Within 24 hours we had our USBs – they look great, the process was very easy, and everyone we dealt with was extremely happy. We’ll definitely buy from them again.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy !

The ordering process was very simple and the attention to detail excellent. It was an urgent requirement and the sticks arrived promptly.

So, if you have been challenged to find someone who you can trust to deliver a last minute requirement for USB memory sticks with your logo printed on them and with your data files pre-loaded onto them then please do get in touch. It doesn’t matter if your based in the UK, the USA or Timbuktu providing UPS deliver there on a next day service and providing you get in touch reasonably early in the day (ideally before 2pm) then we can normally help.

USB2U - Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks

USB2U – Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks

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New Home Sales Supported By USB Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 17th November 2014 | Permalink

Over the last couple of years it’s been interesting to see how many estate agents and builders have started using USB flash drives as a way of marketing their houses and new developments.

We’re not suggesting for a minute that this is part of a trend that will see all marketing of home move to flash drives in preference to traditional paper brochures, the web and the local newspaper but, they clearly do have a place in the mix of marketing options available. After all, we have to assume that where they have been used that they’ve been successful because in many cases the same agents and developers come back time and time again to place repeat orders.

Large national builders with lots of housing stock to move are using USB flash drives with their logo printed on as a “hand-out” or “give-away” in their shows homes or at prime sites where there is a good footfall of people that match the demographic of their target customer – think major housing developer with promotional staff handing out flash drives in the hundreds at the exit of Dockland light railway stations (which just happen to be adjacent to a development they are marketing!).

USB Sticks for Property Developers

USB Sticks for Property Developers

By pre-loading the flash drives with lots of interactive media including individual property details, prices, floor plans, video clips, links to their website and social media pages together with lot of information of the local area (amenities and schools etc.) the developers are able to impart lots of information quickly and relatively cheaply and they do so in a way that is easy to receive.

The real beauty of putting all of this on a flash drive rather than just printing it (apart from the obvious weight, costs and environmental benefits) is that people find it incredibly hard to throw them away – brochures that are handed out have a nasty habit of being stuffed in the next bin but flash drives, particularly those that have a reasonable amount of storage space on them are typically kept and used!

So rather than being an expensive marketing gimmick developers and agents have quickly learnt that used correctly and with the right amount of information pre-loaded onto them, that promotional USB sticks can be a strong addition to any sales and marketing program.

Arguably the same is true when selling any high value product but the housing market, and specifically the sector involved in the sale of new developments to your city types is one that has tapped into the opportunity with some gusto.

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Data Loading onto USB Sticks – Boring, Boring, Boring!

Posted by USB2U on 12th November 2014 | Permalink

Someone has to do it but whoever gets the short straw is not going to be happy because there can be fewer more tedious and mind numbingly dull things in life than copying data onto hundreds of promotional USB memory sticks one at a time. Life’s just too short to be wasting it doing this.

Unfortunately if you’re buying USB sticks to giveaway then loading data onto them is just one of the things that has to be done. Given the core product is designed to store and carry data it’s a wasted opportunity if you don’t use the storage available to you to put something onto the sticks before you hand them out. With most promotional USB sticks now being 2GB, 4GB or 8GB there is after all loads of data storage space to play with!

USB Data Loading Machines

USB Data Loading Machines

Obvious candidates to load onto the flash drives are sales brochures, web links, product sheets, press releases, conference notes/slides, and videos. But, remember the more you load onto them the longer it’s going to take to sit and load each one!

Because putting data files onto any flash drive you hand out is a “no brainer” the simple solution is to get the company that supplies you with the USB sticks to load the data onto them for you before they are delivered. Most suppliers will pre-load up to several hundred megabytes of data free of charge – just check before you confirm your order.

If you’re expecting your supplier to do the data-loading for you then you will need to get organised and have your data ready. Don’t expect to be able to just drop the data on them the day before delivery is due because it’s unlikely to get done! Most suppliers will want the data with the order.

Companies that offer a data-loading service will usually use commercial and automatic USB data duplication equipment that costs thousands of pounds. Whilst expensive this kit not only allows them to load the USB stick quickly but they will be able to validate every stick to make sure its ok and they’ll be able to check the data loaded onto them has copied over correctly. These professional data-loading systems are rack mounted, they manage tens or hundreds of USB sticks at a time and the systems can be expanded to meet demand.

At USB2U we have invested in a number of professional data-loading machines which gives us the capacity to load thousands of USB sticks every day. It’s still a tedious job for someone to run these machines but it’s nowhere near as bad as having to load them one at a time on a PC!

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Charitable Fund Raising with USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 10th November 2014 | Permalink

If you’ve been co-opted onto your local fund raising committee and you’ve now been tasked to come up with ideas to raise funds for your local school, orchestra, drama group, playgroup or junior football team then the first of many challenges you’ll face is to generate lots of new ideas to ensure the money continues to flow in!

It’s never easy and with so many national causes understandably grabbing the headlines doing something that encourage support for your local charity is getting harder and harder. We’ve always been a nation of charitable “givers” but during times when we’re all feeling the pinch there is only so much money to go around.

In terms of ideas there plenty of “old favourites” to fall back on like quiz nights, car boot sales, hog-roasts, jumble sales, coffee mornings, sponsored events and scavenger hunts. But, most well established fund raising groups are likely to have tried these already and interest in running them again might meet with some resistance.

Creating your own fundraising blog or Facebook page dedicated to the cause will often help build and maintain interest in your charity – it’s a great way to keep people engaged and to keep them up to speed with how the fundraising is getting along. New charity oriented sites like JustGiving.com also create another well tried and trusted option and these have the added benefit of allowing people to donate on-line.

Fundraising Using USB Memory Sticks

Fundraising Using USB Memory Sticks

An idea for pushing the fundraising along and one that dovetails nicely into any Social Media activities you might have planned is to sell printed USB memory sticks.

As a concept it’s simple:

  • The USB memory sticks are printed or engraved with details of the fundraising challenge – this could include a logo, a date, a Just Giving website address or a phone number etc.
  • Pre-load the USB sticks with as much information as you can gather about the cause you’re raising money for. Ideally this should include background articles, video clips, details of what the money will be spent on, profiles of the people or teams involved and don’t forget to include links to any Blog or Facebook pages.
  • The finished printed USB memory sticks are then sold for a profit by whatever means is possible.

There are lot of suppliers of printed USB memory sticks in the UK and with lots of competition in the market you’ll be surprised at how cheap they are to buy. Typically you’ll need to order at least 100 to get a good discounted price but if you can you’ll find there is plenty of scope to sell them for a profit. Just one idea to add to your list of “ideas” under consideration.

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