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Review of USB2U Flash Drives by Professional Photographers

Posted by USB2U on 16th September 2014 | Permalink

In today’s highly competitive flash drive market a clear focus on quality, service and value is absolutely critical. Arguably when it comes to supplying flash drive packages to professional photographers the bar gets raised even higher.

Why? Well professional photographers aren’t just buying USB sticks to give away at a trade shows. They’re not using them to give to a team of roving sales people who can hand them out as a “promotional gift” and they’re certainly not looking to post them out in their thousands to a prospect list!

No, most professional photographers are using them to hold and store some of the most precious memories any of us will ever have!

USB flash drives have for many photographers become the obvious replacement for CD/DVD’s. Partly it’s because less and less people now use CD/DVD’s, partly it’s because they’re a format that is now a little dated and old fashioned and partly it’s because the range of USB flash drives now available are much more attractive, particularly when combined with great packaging (something that was harder to do with a large CD/DVD).

Quality, quality, quality is what’s needed. Cheap and cheerful standard promotional USB sticks that have poor read/write speeds, a short life span and a relatively high failure rate are certainly not the order of the day. At USB2U we understand this. Not only have we invested in taking time out to meet and talk to photographers at shows like The Photography Show but more fundamentally we have hired a dedicated Photography Sector Account Manager who, because her mum is a professional photographer, really understands photographers and what makes them tick.

USB Flash Drives for Professional Photographers

USB Flash Drives for Professional Photographers

We’ve also put together a dedicated web site aimed specifically at photographers and all of the products and bundles that feature on the site have been carefully selected – so expect high quality packaging options combined with high performance flash drives all of which are then hand finished (printed or engraved) in our own Northampton based facility. This way we get to control the quality locally and nothing is sent out until we are 100% happy with it.

The feedback we’ve been getting over the last 18 mths (since the new website launched) has been amazing. Here’s just a sample (more can be viewed on the TrustPilot site where there are well in excess of 2,000 customer reviews):

Sally (Amplified Studio): “We went for engraved wooden USB’s that came in gorgeous presentation boxes to match. The price was good, and communication was excellent. Nothing seemed too much trouble. The turnaround time was also faster than expected. I will certainly be using USB2U for all of our USB’s from now on and can’t wait to start giving these out to our clients.”

Iain Struthers Photography: “Great speedy service at a reasonable price. Ordered 25 wooden usb sticks for presenting to my photography clients. They are stunning items and have been very well received by all who have seen them. Will definitely be using them again!”

Steve McKenna L.M.P.A. (SMK Photographics): “Got my USB drive delivered and love them. From first initial point of contact all the way through to the finished product we were kept informed of what,why ,how,& when Great product & going down a treat with my customers”

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Hang onto your Hats if you’re about to buy Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 15th September 2014 | Permalink

At USB2U we’ve been supplying promotional USB memory sticks for nearly 13 years and because of this we’re pretty good at understanding when things are likely to get challenging in the market.

We’re about to enter such a period and it has nothing to do with the forthcoming vote on Independence in Scotland albeit the uncertainty around this has caused a bit of a spike in prices because of the pound has fallen heavily against the dollar.

No, the turbulence we’re about to experience happens every year and it is holiday related. Not ours but the factories in China that manufacture the flash chips and assemble the USB memory sticks. The holiday in question is one of the biggest taken in the year – The combined “National Day and Golden Week”.

National Day is celebrated on the 1st October and whilst the official holidays break is only 3 days it tends to be extended into the week-end with most factories and offices closing for at least 1 week. This extended holiday allows their staff to return to the provinces to spend time be with their families.

Whilst a week might not sound long the problem is that people panic buy in the lead up to the holiday, the factories get rammed with orders and the whole mess that ensues can take weeks to sort out. Of course when the factories return from their holidays they have the double whammy of trying to deal with orders not fulfilled before their holiday and handing the backlog of orders that have built up during their holiday!

Chinese National Holiday - Promotional USB Sticks

Chinese National Holiday – Promotional USB Sticks

The cut-off day to get an order sent from the factories in China before they close for their holidays is the 25th September. If you miss this date then they won’t start working on your order until the 6th October when they get back to work. The reality is that on this day they’re going to be handling a large back-log so the usual turnaround times will be extended. You could, depending on when you place your order, be looking at a 4 week lead time!

Our advice is to get your order in now. Don’t wait. Get your place in the production queue secured. The longer you leave it the more likely you are to be disappointed. If you wait until next week then beware of any promises you are given on delivery.

Buying locally will de-risk your order and ensure you get your promotional USB memory sticks when you need them but the challenge will be finding a supplier in the UK that holds stock and has the capability to print or engrave them. A small number do but typically those that do only hold a very small range of products and a limited range of memory options.

At USB2U we’ve learnt over the years that customers need support during this period which is why we hold large quantities of USB sticks that we can print or engrave in-house. We also offer a “Super Fast” 24hr turnaround service on a wide range of USB sticks, a service that is designed to get customers out of trouble.

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We’ve Smashed Through 2,000 Reviews for USB2U on Trustpilot

Posted by USB2U on 30th July 2014 | Permalink

As a relatively conservative British company it’s not really the done thing to brag but we’re so pleased to have broken through 2,000 customer reviews for USB2U on Trustpilot that we couldn’t resist the urge to post an update about it on our website. It’s a big milestone for us and the fact that the vast majority of our reviews rate our service and products as “Excellent” is something we’re really chuffed about!

We started using the independent review service provided by Trustpilot a couple of years ago. We did it (and we have to pay for the service) because we wanted to give our customers a chance to comment on the service and the promotional USB memory sticks they receive from us.

At the outset we had no real idea what the reaction would be. We felt that we were offering a good service, it’s certainly something we strive to do and the team here at USB2U put their heart and soul into trying to give our customers the best experience they can. But without actually asking our customers for their feedback we were really just guessing what people might be thinking and of course if there were issues with our service we were never going to find out. OK, we might get the odd one or two customers providing feedback but by introducing a trusted and independent 3rd party to manage the reviews we’ve found that customers are much more willing to provide feedback (good and bad).

We’re by no means perfect and we’ve picked up a few negative comments over the last couple of the years. Mostly it’s been where we’ve dropped a catch or made a silly mistake – we’re all human and with the thousands of orders we handle ever year the odd one or two errors are bound to creep in. We’ve taken these on the chin and when they do happen we use the feedback as constructively as we can to make changes and improvements or our processes. Any negative feedback hurts but more importantly if a customer has taken the time to write it then it typically means they’re pretty unhappy and we’d rather know about this so we can deal with their issues and make sure we get it right next time.

Our current ranking based on just over 2,000 reviews if 9.7 out of 10 which of course we’re delighted with! There are simply too many to highlight and post here but if you are interested pop over to the Trustpilot site and have a browse through the reviews – we can’t moderate or adjust them, all we can do is ask/encourage customers to say a few words and rank us.

If you are looking for trusted UK supplier of promotional USB memory sticks then checking out 3rd party review sites like Trustpilot is a good place to start!

Promotional USB Twister Flash Drives

Promotional USB Twister Flash Drives

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Branded USB Memory Sticks – It’s What We Do

Posted by USB2U on 2nd April 2014 | Permalink

If you’re looking for a supplier of branded USB memory sticks then please do add us to your short-list of possible suppliers. Branded USB memory sticks is what we do and we’ve been assembling, printing, engraving and data-loading them since we started the business back in 2002 (some 12 years ago!).

During this time we’ve supplied millions of USB sticks to tens of thousands of customers (large and small) and, the vast majority we’re delighted to say, stay with us and keep coming back for more. One of the most important aspects of any buyer/supplier relationship is “trust” and this is particularly true when you’re looking to buy a product that is customised to carry your brand and typically has to be delivered against an immovable “drop dead” date.

The point is that you need your USB supplier to deliver a good, high quality product that echoes all of the strengths and values that you have invested in your brand and importantly you you’re your supplier to delivery your USB sticks when you need them – no excuses.

We recognise of course that pricing is a major factor as well so the service and products we offer are priced to be amongst the most competitive you’ll find anywhere but importantly our prices are backed by a strong quality ethic, a determination to offer the service second to none and we also warrant our USB memory sticks for 10 years – so, if you have any problems with them (of any description) then we promise to replace them with new ones at our cost. This is not a hollow promise tossed out there by some company that is new to the market and feels they need to add this statement to compete with the more establish companies like USB2U- our promise is underpinned by our strong position in the market, our trading history and our financial stability.

For an indication of what our customers think of us take a look at the reviews we’ve received on TrustPilot – Trustpilot is an independent 3rd party review site that we’ve invited our customers to post to over the last 2 years. In this time we’re delighted that over 1,500 customers have taken time out of their busy schedules to review us and we’ve even more delighted that they’re rated our service as “Excellent” with an overall score of 9.7 out of 10!

So, if you’re looking for a trusted supplier of branded USB memory sticks give us a call – we’d love to hear from you.

USB2U - Trusted Supplier of Branded USB Memory Sticks

USB2U - Trusted Supplier of Branded USB Memory Sticks

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PostScript to the 5k USB Stick Scam

Posted by USB2U on 18th February 2014 | Permalink

Last week we posted an article about a company that approached us in a panic because the 5,000 USB sticks they had purchased direct from a “factory” in China were not working on any of their PC’s or Mac’s. They were dumbfounded because they thought they had done everything they could to make sure the factory they were dealing with was legitimate and that the USB sticks they’d ordered would be up to the job.

Not only had they taken the precaution of buying from a “Gold” supplier on a reputable Chinese supplier brokerage web site but they’d also insisted on being sent a sample of the USB sticks for testing before they committed to the final order of 5,000 and importantly before they agreed to pay for them!

The dialogue with the factory was good and the shipment of the sample was arranged promptly. The independent tests on the sample undertaken in the UK suggested everything was in order so they pushed ahead with the order for 5k USB memory sticks. Payment was wired to the suppliers’ bank account in China and three weeks later the USB sticks arrived – then the fun began!

When inserted into any PC a quick check of the “properties” of the USB sticks suggested they had 512MB of memory (the size they had ordered) but when they tried to use the memory and load content onto the USB sticks alarms bells started to ring – it looked like data was being transferred onto the USB stick but when it was taken out and re-inserted it had nothing on it! The same scenario was repeated with multiple samples from the 5k batch and irrespective of whether they used a PC or Mac and irrespective of how large the data was they tried to copy onto the stick nothing was on them when they were re-inserted!

All attempts to contact the supplier in China were met with silence. Panic set in.

Having been sent a couple of the samples our initial suspicion was that the USB sticks had no memory in them at all but having sent the samples to our factory in China they have discovered that the USB sticks do have a very, very tiny memory module and that this has been “masked” to look like a 512MB stick! The small memory module inside the sticks is normally used on “web keys” – its just large enough to carry a website URL and nothing else.

The “masking” of this memory to make it look like it has 512MB of storage is pre-meditated fraud. The supplier knew exactly what they were doing and they knew the 5,000 sticks they supplied were nothing like the original sample. The buyer had been duped and was now thousands of pounds out of pocket and without the USB sticks they so desperately needed for their event.

The simple moral of this story is that whilst it’s tempting to save a few pounds by buying direct from a factory in China it’s also incredibly risky and you’ll have no safety net or recourse – if it all goes wrong as it has in this scenario then don’t expect to recover your money or get replacement USB sticks.

At USB2U we’ve been supplying promotional USB memory sticks for the last 12 years and we don’t let our customers down.

USB2U - Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks

USB2U - Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks

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Come and See us at The Photography Show at the NEC 1-4 March

Posted by USB2U on 30th January 2014 | Permalink

If you’re as a passionate about photography as we are about promotional USB memory sticks then you need to get yourself tickets to attend The Photography Show. It’s a brand new event and it’s open to anyone with an interest in photography. It’s taking place from 1-4 March 2014 at the NEX Birmingham.

For all details of opening times, how to get tickets and all the latest news on the show be sure to go to The Photography Show website and make sure you also sign up to their Twitter account for the very latest news.

USB2U at The Photography Show

USB2U at The Photography Show

We’ve had some much interest in our branded USB memory sticks and gift boxes that we’re going to be exhibiting at the show – we’re on Stand L1 – come and see us, we’ll have tons of give-aways and loads of show offers running throughout the 4 days the show is on. We’d love to meet you and get your feedback on our products and service.

We’re also running a very special competition every day that will see us giving away over £1,000 worth of our stunning wooden USB memory sticks and

wooden USB gift boxes – entry is open to everyone you just need to call by and enter the prize draw. We’ll post details of the winner at the end of the day on our Facebook and Twitter accounts – be sure to sign up and follow us!

If you can’t wait for the show then take a sneak peak at what we can do on our brand new mini-website. It’s dedicated to photographers and features a range of stunning high specification USB sticks and USB gift boxes. There’s are lots of gorgeous images of actual USB sticks we’re produced for professional photographers (you might even recognise and name or two) and we’ve also put together some discounted “bundles” that might be of interest.

USB2U Photographer offers

USB2U Photographer offers

More than anything we’ve tried really hard to pull together USB sticks and complimentary gift boxes that we know will appeal to your customers, there’s a strong focus on natural wood, eco-friendly box fillings and solutions that you simply can’t buy on the high street. From the feedback we’re getting we seem to have got the balance about right but we’re interested to hear what you think at the show.

They’re be a few of us there for the 4 days but if you do stop by make sure you have a chat with Bethany – she looks after most of our photographers and her mum is a highly regarded professional photographer so she’s got the industry in her genes!

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We Ship Anywhere in the World and we can deliver within 48hrs of an Order!

Posted by USB2U on 16th January 2014 | Permalink

We’re based in Northampton in the UK and we’re now in our 12th year of supplying USB memory sticks. Until recently we only supplied customers in the UK with the occasional shipment into mainland Europe but due to unprecedented demand for our products and services we now ship anywhere in the World.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in based in Birmingham in the UK or Birmingham in Alabama (USA) or for that matter Timbuktu we’re more than happy to take your order and ship our unique range of USB memory sticks and USB gift boxes to you.

We’ve partnered up with UPS who are one of the worlds most trusted and respected international shipping and logistics companies. Anywhere UPS deliver we deliver. It’s as simple as that. Shipments into Europe, the USA and Canada are usually delivered within 1 day of being sent. Shipments to the rest of the world usually take no more than 2-3 days.

USB-Sticks-Delivered-WorldWide

USB-Sticks-Delivered-WorldWide

The combination of our 24hr “rush” printing or engraving service and UPS’s next day delivery means we can often deliver USB sticks to Europe, the USA and Canada within 48hrs and the rest of the world in 3-4 days.

Check out what our customers (including many international customers) are saying about our product and service on the USB2U Trustpilot review site.

If you’d like a quote for USB sticks and USB gift boxes then just give us a call on +44 1604 684811 or simply click on the “Quote Request” button above.

We think you’ll be surprised by just how competitive our USB prices are and in particular how inexpensive our international delivery charges (they start from as little as £15).

If you’re in based in the EU and you have a VAT number then we can supply your order VAT free (orders shipped to the rest of the world are sent with a zero rated invoice but do be aware that local taxes and duties may be payable on receipt – these vary from country to country so you’re concerned about these then it might be worth speaking to your local customs office).

If there are any charges to pay (taxes and/or import Duty) then UPS will take care of all the paperwork for you – you’ll just need to pay these fees on receipt of your order.

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USB2U Welcomes Paul, Bethany, Tracey and John-Paul to the team

Posted by USB2U on 19th December 2013 | Permalink

It’s been a very busy year at USB2U with more and more customers turning to us to supply them with their branded USB memory sticks. Our customer numbers have rocketed, sales enquiries continue to increase and more importantly our customer seem to love what we do. Don’t take our word for it check out the hundreds of lovely comments on TrustPilot from our customers from the past few months and you’ll get a good feel for what our customers think about the service we offer.

What’s really encouraging is the number of sales to customers outside of the UK and the stellar growth in sales to professional photographers. The increase in sales in the Photography sector was largely expected but the growth from outside of the UK (and in countries as far afield as Australia) has been really surprising – with little to no advertising outside of the UK our international growth is largely being driven by word of mouth which is really gratifying.

Of course with all of this increased activity we need more great people to help us grow the business and to support our customers – it’s critical to us that we maintain the same of level of service we’ve always prided ourselves on.

With this in mind we’ve been on a bit of a recruitment splurge and we’re delighted to announce that Paul, Bethany, Tracey and Jean-Paul have joined our team. Bethany is going to focus on our Professional Photographer customers (it helps that her mum is a highly regarded local professional photographer), Tracey will be supporting the sales team and Paul and John-Paul are seasoned sales professionals who will give us scope to expand the business in 2014.

USB2U-Hires-new-staff-to-underpin 2014 growth

USB2U-Hires-new-staff-to-underpin 2014 growth

Now in our 12th year we’re one of the leading suppliers of branded USB memory sticks in Europe and whilst we don’t have any plans for world domination it would be nice to see further growth in our non-UK sales in 2014 – remember we can, and do, ship anywhere in the world!

So if you’re looking for a trusted supplier for your promotional USB flash drive in 2014 then irrespective of where you are in the world why not give us a try. If you’re a professional photographer and you’re looking to move to USB sticks from CD’s and DVD’s then give Bethany a call – she knows her stuff and she’d love to hear from you!

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It’s our Birthday and we’ve come along way in 11 years

Posted by USB2U on 16th October 2013 | Permalink

USB2U started out in October 2002. We’ve just celebrated our 11th birthday and we’re fast approaching adolescence and the tricky teenage years! It’s been an interesting journey so far and our little company has come a long way during the last 11 years.

Back in 2002 we ran the business from a garage, we had a limited range of products, we had a dial-up Internet connection and a very basic website. Orders were taken over the web or phone and then re-keyed into a simple accounting package from which we generated invoices and picking and packing notes. Every order was individually weighed and postage stamps of the correct value were put onto each package before being taken “on the school run” to the local village post office!

Most of our business was the sale of first generation USB memory sticks (USB 1.0) with an average storage capacity of 16MB to 64MB. In those early days USB memory sticks were a niche product favoured by the tech savvy. Remember (if you can) that back in 2002 most people were still backing up their files onto 3.5” floppy disk drives or CD’s. By comparison USB sticks were “exotic” and expensive.

A standard 32MB USB stick would retail for around £15, a larger capacity 256MB stick would sell for nearer £40-£50 – significantly more than a floppy disk but much easier to use and much easier to carry around.

Despite the higher price tag sales of USB memory sticks took off and pretty soon we moved to a small business unit in Daventry and we hired our first staff. Sales of USB memory sticks continued to grow spurred on by increases in storage capacity, falling prices and the introduction of USB 2.0.

By 2004 we were getting requests to supply USB memory stick printed with a logo printed on them, not many, but some schools and businesses had recognised the benefits of handing out branded USB sticks and were willing to pay a premium for something that was still not in the mainstream. By way of illustration a quote we gave to a company in October 2004 for 500 x 64MB USB sticks printed with a simple logo on a basic stick was £10.55 + VAT each!

Lead times were also more challenging back in 2004 with the average time from order to delivery at around 3 weeks!

USB2U New Offices

USB2U New Offices

Despite the costs and the relatively long lead times the sale of promotional and branded USB sticks continued to flourish and in 2007 we moved into a new 4,000 Sq ft warehouse/office unit in Northampton where we still run the business from today.

In the last 5 years we have invested heavily in our own in-house design, print, engraving and data-loading capabilities giving us the capability to print, engrave and data load up to 5,000 USB stick per day.

We’ve coupled this with a significant investment in SalesForce (the Worlds leading CRM system) Docusign (the market leaders in e-signature) to allow our customer to e-sign their orders quickly and simply from any PC, Smart Phone or Tablet and we use Lead Forensics to track visitors to our website.

Our team has grown to over 20 people and we’re currently advertising for more sales and support staff, which will increase our headcount to 25.

We now supply thousands of customers with millions of printed and engraved USB sticks and gift boxes every year. We are recognised as one of the leading suppliers of top quality promotional USB memory sticks in Europe and with a strong focus on quality and customer service we’re delighted to have had reviews from over 1,000 customers on Trustpilot (an independent 3rd party review website) who collectively have given us a 5* Excellent rating

Today a typical USB stick used for promotional purposes has around 2GB to 4GB of storage, costs £3-£4 per stick and can be supplied fully personalized and data-loaded in as little as 24hrs! A far cry from where we were in 2002. The futures going to be interesting!

Promotional USB Memory Sticks From USB2U

Promotional USB Memory Sticks From USB2U

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Chinese Public Holidays – Expect the Usual USB Memory Stick Mayhem

Posted by USB2U on 10th September 2013 | Permalink

If the challenges thrown up last week by the fire at the Hynix factory were not enough we’re about to enter even more choppy waters with the start of the Chinese Holiday Season.

For the uninitiated it won’t come as any surprise that 99% of all USB memory sticks in the world are manufactured in China. So when “China” goes on holiday and stops production it has a huge knock on effect on the price and availability of promotional USB memory sticks.

USB Memory Sticks - Chinese National Holidays 2013

USB Memory Sticks - Chinese National Holidays 2013

The problem is exacerbated with promotional USB memory sticks because these are typically manufactured to order and flown in from the China within a few days of their production. Outside of the holiday period this works well with lead times from order to delivery being an impressive 7-10 days. But, during the holidays a back-log of orders builds up, prices rocket on the back of limited supply and even when the factories return from their holiday it can take weeks to get production (and prices) back to normal.

This year (2013) the Mid-Autumn Festival takes place on the 19th September so the factories will only close for one day. The big holiday is the Chinese National Day holiday and this will run from 1st Oct to 6th Oct. Some factories and courier firms will operate as usual during the few days between these two holidays but many won’t. Some businesses are predicted to close on the 18th September and won’t open again until the 10th October!

Whilst it seems extreme you have to appreciate that many employees combine these two national holidays to travel thousands of miles to be with their families in the provinces. These can involve journeys of several thousand miles often endured on clogged roads and overcrowded trains.

So, if you need some promotional USB Memory sticks any time during the next 4-5 weeks you are strongly advised to get your order in early. This way you should be able to get delivery before the factories close and before prices start to climb even higher.

If you simply can’t commit to an order now and find yourself trying to source USB sticks in the middle of the holidays then your best bet is to find a UK based supplier that holds blank stock and can print (or engrave) the USB sticks in-house.

At USB2U we always hold tens of thousands of USB sticks in stock across a range of 20 different models so typically we’ll have something that will meet your needs. We also print, engrave and data-load in house and we can turn orders around in as little as 24hrs! If you do find yourself caught up in these holiday delays don’t panic. Give us a call we’ll talk you through the options.

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