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London 2015 – Get Your Promotional USB Stick Running Gear on

Posted by USB2U on 27th April 2015 | Permalink

Our excuse for not running in the London 2015 Marathon yesterday is that we were too busy printing lots of promotional USB memory stick rush jobs over the weekend and we didn’t have the time. A pretty lame excuse we know and maybe 2016 will be the year it all changes. Perhaps not something to bet on but you never know.

Of course the lack of fitness and stamina across the company might also play a small part! Whilst we’ve got some pretty hardcore cyclists at USB2U (well two) the rest of the team are more of the armchair sports enthusiast type. It’s a sad state of affairs but the reality (as evidenced by this weekend) is that the closest most of us come to any regular exercise is running around in the print room keeping all of our printers churning out USB sticks.

Occasionally we like to mix it up a bit and combine work with sport but by this we mean designing and printing sports related USB sticks. These custom USB sticks in the shape of a running kit are about the closest we’ve ever got to doing any running and of course that’s a “stretch” to say the least!

Sad that it is but our world is centered around flash drives, we eat, sleep and breath them and often we’re working around the clock 7 days a week to supply them against some pretty challenging deadlines. If there was a marathon event or an “Olympics” for USB stick production we like to think we’d be in with a real shout of a medal. Perhaps we just need to get out more!

If you have a requirement for promotional flash drives

USB2U - Running a USB Marathon Every Day

USB2U – Running a USB Marathon Every Day

anytime soon then do bear us in mind. We’re a pretty dedicated team that likes nothing more than to be kept busy. Some might argue that it’s an avoidance tactic so we don’t have to do something more interesting, more stimulating and more rewarding – like running the London Marathon!

We like to think of it as more a single-minded determination to be the very best at what we do. We think of ourselves as the Paula Radcliffe of the USB supplier world but hopefully without the little en-route public “accidents” and we’re certainly not ready to hang up our running shoes just yet.

USB2U – running a USB production marathon every day.

 

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3,000 Reviews for USB2U on Trustpilot

Posted by USB2U on 21st April 2015 | Permalink

We’re just about to break through 3,000 reviews on the independent 3rd party review site Trustpilot. To say we’re chuffed would be an understatement. Not only have we amassed these reviews in just a couple of years but our overall our rating is 9.7 (out of a maximum of 10) with a narrative score of “Excellent”.

Understandably not every customer has the time or the inclination to leave a review but for everyone that has we’d like to say a huge “Thank you”. We appreciate you are not compelled to review the service you’ve had from us and we know it takes time to do it which makes it all the more gratifying when customers make the effort to leave a review.

The design, manufacture and supply of promotional USB memory sticks is a highly competitive market so we encourage companies looking to place an order for custom USB’s or USB sticks with their logo printed (or engraved) onto them to look beyond just price and consider the overall level of service provided by the company that you’ve got a quote from. It’s all well and good shaving a couple of pennies off the price of our sticks but if the service you get is poor and the end products are poorly produced it’s your brand and reputation that will suffer because it’s your brand is printed on the USB sticks.

At USB2U we have always focused on providing a top quality service coupled with highly competitive prices. We’ve been supplying USB sticks since 2003, we know the market incredibly well and we know what products work with what types of brands and logos. Ours is a consultative approach where we work with our customers to really understand their needs, we then make a recommendations based on these and we work up a range of designs/mock-ups to illustrate what can be achieved. Tweaking and amending artwork is not a problem, handling the data-loading of files is just part of what we do and keeping our customer informed throughout the whole process right up until we deliver the finished job is fundamental to what we do.

If you’re looking for a trusted and proven UK supplier of promotional USB memory sticks then we hope you’ll give us a chance to work with you. Hopefully, if you like what we’ll do you’ll join the other 3,000 customers and post a review of our service on Trustpilot.

USB2U and relax

Choose USB2U and Relax -you’re in safe hands!

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It’s F-F-F-Friday – Order your USB Sticks Today for Delivery Monday

Posted by USB2U on 17th April 2015 | Permalink

If you’ve been meaning to order some USB memory sticks with your logo printed on them this week but other things kept getting in the way then don’t despair because at USB2U we can turn around orders on the same day!

With thousands of blank USB memory sticks in stock (across a wide range of designs and colours) and our own in-house design and print teams we are one of the very few companies in Europe that can accept an order in the morning, proof it, print it and then dispatch it the very same day. So, as today is a Friday you could order your printed USB memory sticks this morning and have them delivered Monday morning (we could even get them to you for Saturday if you’re around to take delivery of them!)

You’ll pay a small premium for our “rush” service but if you really do need you sticks quickly then it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. By

getting your USB sticks designed and printed in the UK you de-risk everything. There will be no exposure to international shipping delays, no exposure to ordering from an overseas company only to find your money is taken and nothing turns up and of course by buying locally if things do go wrong (as they very occasionally do) then getting a resolution is much easier.

At USB2U we design and print tens of thousands of USB sticks in the UK every week. Over the last 4-5 years we have invested heavily in our in-house design and print capabilities and the response from our customers to the range of rush services we offer has been amazing. A significant number of the 5 star reviews we get on Trustpilot (a 3rd party review service) relate to “rush” orders and as much as anything its because customers are blown away by the quality of their orders, the service they get and the sheer speed at which we deliver their order.

What marks us out from our competitors is the range of stock we carry and can print. Lots of companies offer a standard black twister flash drive but these don’t always work with the logo being printed on them and they can to be candid look a bit bland and boring. We can typically offer at least 20 different designs and we also offer the option of printed boxes to go with them (all in the same timescales).

Have a great Friday and remember if you need your promotional USB memory sticks on Monday then give us a call.

USB Flash Drives in a Hurry

USB Flash Drives in a Hurry

 

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10 Good Reasons Why You Should Buy Printed USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 16th April 2015 | Permalink

Despite the continued growth in use of cloud based data storage services you can’t escape the fact that USB memory sticks are everywhere these days. Long gone are the dominant days of the CD and DVD. USB memory sticks are now the most popular way to save, store and carry data files. They remain a key business tool for many and they continue to play an important role in the daily life of hundreds of thousands of students.

The rise to dominance has not been quick. The first commercially available memory sticks hit the market back in 2002 and the first generation used the original USB 1.0 standard, they had a typical storage capacity of 16MB and they were typically boring, rectangular “lumps” of plastic – the focus then was on functionality and not design.

Skip forward 13 years and today USB sticks (or flash drives as some people prefer to call them) have evolved into a much more sophisticated product that is available in thousands of different styles, designs, colours. More fundamentally they use the latest USB 3.0 standards, they are fast and by comparison to the first generation products they carry HUGE amounts of data – basic models now have storage capacities of 4GB or 8GB but 256GB are available.

In the midst of all of this development and market growth Memory sticks have also become incredibly popular promotional giveaways. Here are just a few reasons why:

1.     Brand development and brand exposure – Branded USB Memory sticks are a fantastic way to get your brand in front of an existing or potential customer. They’re a popular product and people just like being given them

2.     Content delivery – With the vast amounts of storage on offer they are a great way to deliver content. The data can be passive (PDF files for example) which the user would need to click on to view or interactive for a more immersive experience.

3.     Keepsakes – Branded USB Memory sticks make excellent ‘keepsakes’ and there is a high probability that users will save their own information onto them thus making them a valuable asset with high-perceived value.

4.     They’re pretty cheap to buy – The cost of flash memory (the heart of any USB stick onto which the data is saved) has fallen dramatically over the past few years. As a result USB memory sticks have become a more attractive promotional option for many. If you buy in bulk they’ll cost less than £2 per stick (printed and with data loaded)

5.     There are now thousands of designs and styles to choose from and if none of the “standard” shapes are suitable its relatively easy to get a fully customised (bespoke) solution, you just need to build in a couple of extra weeks into the lead time and be prepared to pay a little more for them.

6.     Fast delivery – delivery times are now as little as 24hrs, which includes the printing of a logo so if you are pushed for a branded solution/gift in a hurry they might be suitable.

7.     The minimum order quantity for fully printed/customised USB drives is only 25 pieces.

8.     CD / DVDs are now seen as old hat and are a technology that few companies now want to associate their brand with whereas USB memory sticks are seen a new, innovative, and to some degree “sexy” and are the “new kids on the block”

9.     The technology that USB memory sticks are built on is well established and is highly reliable.

10.  There are lots of suppliers of branded USB memory sticks in the market today so they are relatively easy to source and the increased competition has kept prices low and quality high.

 

USB2U - Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks

USB2U – Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks

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Election Uncertainty Drives USB Stick Prices Higher

Posted by USB2U on 14th April 2015 | Permalink

The financial markets don’t like uncertainty and the forthcoming UK General Election on the 7th May 2015 is looking so close that uncertainty is the only one thing that is certain! The recent reports of a slowdown in the UK economy haven’t helped and the one big loser is the Pound (GBP), which has continued to slide against the Dollar (USD).

Today the Pound has slipped to $1.465, it’s lowest level against the Dollar since May 2010 – it is now trading 15% lower than it was less than a year ago.

For the Promotional USB Memory Stick market this is a painful time. All USB sticks are manufactured in China and the factories that sell them to the rest of the world expect to be paid in US Dollars. Consequently, the fall of the Pound against the Dollar effectively means that prices have gone up by around 15% in the last year! Worryingly it looks as though the trend is set to continue right up until the results of the election are known – even then there is no certainty that the Pound will recover so months or uncertainty lie ahead.

 

USB Memory Stick Prices Rise on Back of Scottish Election Worries

USB Memory Stick Prices Rise on Back of Scottish Election Worries

If you need to buy promotional USB memory sticks now then it’s just a question of “sucking it up” and getting your order placed. There’s little point in speculating what may or may not happen over the next few weeks and if you leave things too late then you’ll either miss your deadline or you’ll end up paying lots more for a rush order of printed USB sticks that are finished in the UK rather than in China!

The daily fluctuations in the value of the Pound against the Dollar are why you see so few companies posting firm prices for printed flash drives on their websites – competition in this market is fierce, margins are slim and putting prices on a website (unless they are changed daily and reflect the movements in the currency exchange market) is a recipe to lose money.

The best advice is to get a few quotes from some of the market leaders, check how long the price is valid for (typically it’s about 3 days) and then check when you’re expected to pay for your order (some companies ask for full payment with the order, some ask for 50% and some, like USB2U, only ask for payment when your order when your USB sticks have been produced and it is ready to ship).

If you can wait until the elections are over and hopefully some calm returns to the market then this “might” be the best course of action but there’s no guarantee. It all depends on who wins and how the markets react to the results.

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How to get the most from your Promotional USB Memory Stick Budget

Posted by USB2U on 2nd April 2015 | Permalink

With sales of promotional USB memory sticks continuing to show no signs of slowing it’s obvious that companies large and small understand the benefits of using them as a give away. If you’re about to join in the fun and you’ve started looking for your own USB sticks with your company logo printed on them then you’ve probably got a reasonable idea of how much you want to spend on them.

In terms of making sure you get the “best bang for your buck” when sourcing them you can either pursue a strategy of getting the largest number of USB sticks your budget will buy or, you can embark on a plan to make sure that your giveaways make the greatest impact possible.

If you go for volume (and lots of companies do) then you’re probably just looking for something cheap and cheerful that you can hand out at a show or at strategic locations where your target customers can be found. A real example of this approach is Barratt Homes who handed out thousands of USB sticks at two Tube stations in London. The tube stations were adjacent to their new housing development and just “blanket bombed” the stations over a couple of days and targeted commuters – the USB sticks they handed out were printed with details of the housing development and they were pre-loaded with the sales brochures, floor plans and prices of the apartments they were trying to sell.

Cheap Printed USB Memory Sticks

Cheap Printed USB Memory Sticks

The primary objective in this scenario was to get the USB sticks into the hands of as many people as possible. So, they opted for the cheapest design (the Twister) with the smallest amount of memory needed to pre-load their documents onto. To keep the print costs down they only printed in 1 colour and finally they wanted the sticks delivered in “bulk” with no outer packaging – this not only reduced the manufacturing costs but the reduced weight and bulk reduced the overall shipping, storage and handling costs. They were not interested in the recipients keeping and using the USB sticks over and over again their principal objective was just to market their apartment and push their brand.

Whilst this approach was fine for Barratt Homes it’s not necessarily the right approach for everyone. If, for example, you’re trying to encourage journalists to write about a new product or the launch of a new service or you’re targeting executives at a conference or seminar then you’re best to use your budget to buy a smaller number of “top-end” USB sticks with lots of memory and bags of style or alternatively you might even want to commission your own fully bespoke (custom) USB sticks.

Top-end USB sticks include USB writing pens or USB stylus pens that also double up as a USB memory sticks – these products exude quality and get incredibly positive feedback but they’re too expensive to use a “give-aways” to random prospects. Custom USB sticks are, as the name suggests, designed and manufactured exclusively for one customer and are typically manufactured in the shape of one of their “hero” products.

Squeezing the most from your budget depends on what your underlying objectives are; if you want quantity then go with the budget ranges, choose smaller memory sizes, print just 1 colour on one side get your USB sticks supplied in Bulk (with no packaging). But, if you want to make an impact or you have high-end clients to build a relationship with then sacrifice numbers and go for quality or, in an ideal world, get your own Custom USB sticks commissioned.

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Five Days and Counting – Come See USB2U at The Photography Show

Posted by USB2U on 17th March 2015 | Permalink

The weather forecast for this weekend (according to the BBC) is “cool and breezy with scattered showers” so not exactly the weather for doing a great deal outside. The gardening and other chores can wait until things perk up a little and the promises you made to get your bike out or take the kids for a walk in the Spring sunshine to see the new season lambs might have to be put on hold – well for a few days at least!

This weekend your time, if you’re a professional photographer or budding amateur that’s thinking of going professional this year, would be better spent at The Photography Show in Birmingham. The show takes place at the NEC in Hall 5 and runs from this Saturday (21st March) until Tuesday (24th March) and it’s going to be massive. Last year over 29,000 professional and enthusiast photographers attended the show and the organisers expect this year’s numbers to be even higher.

USB2U at The Photography Show

USB2U will be a The Photography Show at the NEC this were

With a mission to create a “photography day out you’ll never forget” the organisers have pulled out all the stops to bring together a 4 day program that is rammed full of exciting, informative and education elements with plenty of fun and shopping opportunities along the way. There will be plenty of chances to have a play with some of the very latest kit, to hear first hand from some of the world’s most inspirational photographers (Tom Stoddart and Mary Ellen Mark to name but two) what makes them tick and how they approach their work.

There will be advice clinics (run by Bowens) and plenty of in-show seminars and workshops to help you brush up on your skills. If you do decide to go then don’t forget your own camera because there will be tons of photo opportunities throughout the event and of course there will be lots of competitions to enter with some amazing prizes on offer.

We’ll be there again this year (come see us on Stand H131) but having been overrun last year we’ve invested in a bigger stand this year! We’ll also have more of our amazing USB2U team on hand to talk you through our USB Memory Stick and gift box packages and there will be plenty of show discounts and offers that you can take advantage of.

We’re taking lots and lots of examples of printed and engraved USB memory sticks and examples of our new wooden gift boxes that we’re keen to get feedback on – we love them but we’d still value your opinion.

If photography is your thing then we’d strongly recommend making some time to come to the show later this week and if you do please make sure you stop by and say hello – we’d love to show you what we can do and if you’re an existing customer we’d love to catch up with you and get your feedback on our work.

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Is Chinese New Year to Blame for a lack of Tartan at the Cricket World Cup

Posted by USB2U on 16th February 2015 | Permalink

We’ve been documenting over the last few weeks the challenges that Chinese New Year throws up for the promotional USB memory sticks market but even we didn’t think it would have an impact on the 2015 IIC Cricket World Cup.

Tomorrow is the day when the Scottish team take the field against the co-hosts (New Zealand) in Dunedin but unfortunately they’ll be doing so without their specially commissioned shirts that feature tartan on the sleeves. Not just any tartan either but tartan based on the clan of 19th century test cricketer Gregor MacGregor.

Unfortunately the shirts, which by all accounts were being manufactured and shipped from China, seem to have been delayed and our suspicion is that they’ve been caught up in the same Chinese New Year challenges that we’ve been warning about for weeks. From the various reports flying around it looks as though the Scottish Team just left things a little too late and had no margin for any delays. What a shame because the shirts would have looked great and Ben Fox, a team spokesman has apparently said “it’s unlikely they’ll ever see the light for day now”.

Our best wishes go out to Scotland for their opener tomorrow.

If nothing else this little episode should act as a warning to anyone looking to buy branded goods anytime around Chinese New Year – it really is a case of “buyer beware”.

Our advice is to buy from a local supplier that has what you want to buy in their hands and all they have to do is apply your branding/logo to them. You might end up paying marginally more but at least you’ll know you are going to get them. It’s no good saving a few pennies only for the finished goods to miss your deadline. That’s embarrassing for all concerned – ask the Scottish Cricket Team if you’re in any doubt!

If its USB flash drives with your logo on that you need then at USB2U we hold tens of thousands of them in stock during Chinese New Year and we print/engrave them in-house so we not only control the delivery but we control the overall quality/production.

Unfortunately we don’t supply branded clothing so as much as we might like to we can’t rescue the Scottish Cricket team – USB sticks with a dash of tartan on are not a problem!

Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

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Tins aren’t what they used to be – Well at least not USB ones!

Posted by USB2U on 10th February 2015 | Permalink

There was a time when a presentation tin box for a promotional USB stick was a pretty bland affair but times they are a changing!

There are two main factors are at play here:

  1. More and more companies that buy USB memory sticks to give-away (for whatever reason) are understanding that you get a much more positive response if your package your sticks rather than just give them out without any thought about how they are presented. It’s pretty easy understand why this might be the case – after all how many of us hand over birthday presents or Christmas presents without 1st wrapping them up or at the very least putting some effort into their presentation. Gifts (even corporate promotional gifts) handed out in pretty/attractive packaging look better, they generate a better response and they provide another medium onto which to promote the companies brand.
  2. Print technology has advanced in leaps and bounds over the past few years. Today it’s relatively simple to print across the full surface area of the USB presentation tins and the price to do this has dropped markedly. The results, as you can see from the images below, are fantastic and really do lift the overall impact of a simple USB stick.
Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

So, if you are thinking of buying promotional USB flash drives anytime soon it is definitely worth chatting through the options for packaging and in particular our metal presentation tin gift boxes. Not only can we now print in full colour (with print bleed right to the edge of the lid) but we can custom cut the foam insert to match any model of drive.

Of course it’s not just tins we offer so if tins are not your thing but you want a gift box then check out the extensive range of options we offer on our website. Pretty much all of them are held in stock in our UK warehouse and most (including the tins) can be printed and delivered in as little as 24hrs (you’ll pay a little more in rush fees for any “rush service”).

Remember we offer free samples (not with your own logo on but samples of our tins and boxes) so if you’re not sure which works best for you just ask and we’ll pop a sample or two in the post.

Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

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Will Your Be Buying Custom USB Memory Sticks in 2015

Posted by USB2U on 3rd February 2015 | Permalink

China might be about to enter the year of the Sheep but the USB memory stick market is, we believe, about to enter the year of the Custom model. We’ve seen a few false dawns over the last couple of years but finally this year all of the stars seem to be in alignment and it finally looks as though the year of the Custom USB has come.

If anything the UK is playing catch up with the rest of the world because in some markets fully customised models make up nearly 50% of the promotional market. In the UK, we’re significantly behind this at around 5% – 10%.

Why the difference? Well, first of all we need to be clear that when we say “custom” that we mean a fully bespoke 2-D or 3-D versions that are designed and manufactured to a customer’s specification. They are not standard models that are customised with a logo or design. An example would be a flash drive in the shape of a truck or a power drill or a word. They are “one-offs” and the customer who has commissioned them will not only take delivery of the finished product but they’ll own the rights to the design – no one else will have a USB stick the same as theirs, it will be unique and it will be in a shape/design then have actively been involved in the development of.

Custom USB Memory Sticks

Custom USB Memory Sticks from USB2U

We think the UK is lagging behind other developed markets in this sector is because of ignorance, high perceived costs and an expectation that leads times are going to be horrendous. Clearly the task of “educating” the market about the availability and benefits of ordering fully customised USB flash drives falls to suppliers like us and we’re ready to take on this challenge.

The benefits are well proven – they generate more buzz, they get people talking about the brand/product that they’re representing, they are more likely to be kept and used (over and over again) and photographs of them are far more likely to find their way onto Social Media sites which in turn will drive “chatter” about the brand/product. They are a great promotional product.

What does surprise most customers that ask about them is just how inexpensive they are and how quickly they can be designed, manufactured and delivered. Yes, you will pay more for them but typically its only about 10% – 20% more than a simple printed stick and the lead times at around 3-4 weeks are not unreasonable. You just need to think a little bit further ahead and plan (perhaps that’s our collective problem!).

To be clear there are no tooling and set-up costs, there are no artwork and design fees and you will “own” the rights to the finished product and you’ll get all of this (and the marketing benefits) for a small premium on the unit price. 2015 will be the year of the Custom USB memory stick.

Custom USB Memory Sticks - Shapes

Custom USB Memory Sticks – Shapes

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