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Financial Crisis in China no risk to USB Stick supply but Forthcoming Holidays are

Posted by USB2U on 25th August 2015 | Permalink

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks you’ll have noticed there’s a little bit of trouble brewing in China – the financial markets are in turmoil, share prices are in freefall and its anyone’s guess where its all going to end. Depending on what you read or who you believe it could be anything from a bit of a “bump” to financial Armageddon!

Damian McBride a former advisor to Gordon Brown appeared to suggest that the stock market dip could lead to global civil disorder or other situations where it would be unreasonable for someone to leave the house. Amongst his many suggestions is stocking up on bottled water and tinned food!

One of the many things China needs to do to address its current problem is to continue trading and demonstrate strength in its own capabilities as the manufacturing powerhouse in the world. The global centre for the production of Promotional USB Memory Sticks is in Shenzhen City in Guangdong Province, China and the USB factories have continued to churn out USB sticks in the tens of thousands every day during the “crisis”.

The clear message coming from the USB memory sticks factories is that its business as usual!

BUT, and it it’s a big BUT there is a something looming on the near horizon that will bring production to a grinding halt and that’s the National Holiday. From the 27th September to 8th October China effectively closes for business. Nothing will get manufactured, nothing will get shipped and no new orders will be accepted.

Irrespective of the turmoil in financial markets China is going on holiday!

So, if you are thinking of ordering some promotional USB memory sticks for an event in late September or October then you either need to get your order in now (so your sticks can be produced and shipped before the holidays start) or you may have to wait until the factories return after their holiday – if you take the risk and wait do bear in mind that it takes a couple of weeks for the factories to catch up with the inevitable backlog that will have built up!

As usual during these holidays we’ll be stocking up on a wide range of blank USB sticks that we can print/engrave in-house. This allows us to continue to offer a 24hr “rush service” but of course it will be on a much narrower range of products than shown on our website.

We’ll also be “tweeting” out lots of offers and promos during the holidays so it might be worthwhile following us on your Twitter account if you’re not doing so already.

Choppy waters for USB Stick Supply

Choppy waters for USB Stick supply

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Festivals – It’s what Power Banks were made for!

Posted by USB2U on 23rd July 2015 | Permalink

If you’re attending a Festival this summer then you’ll find loads of websites offering pages and pages of advice on what to take with you, what to wear to and how to make the most of your time at the festival. Most tend to focus on dealing with the unpredictable British weather with lots of helpful advice on wellies, thick socks, waterproofs , sturdy boots and a change of underwear!

Others dwell more on some of the more “challenging” aspects of festival going and suggest you pack lots of toilet rolls, rubbish bags and gaffer tape! An interesting combination.

All seem to be universal in the need to take your tickets (of course) and a fully charged mobile phone and some way of keeping the phone charged whilst you’re there. The tickets are easy (you just need to remember them) but keeping your power hungry smart phone charged throughout the festival is going to be a huge challenge! Let’s face it the photo’s the Facebook posts, the tweets and the SnapChat posts alone will drain most smart phone batteries in a few hours.

If you are going to take your smart phone with you to a festival (and there is a strong argument for just dumbing down and taking an old and basic Nokia) then we’d strongly recommend that your take a Power Bank with you. These are basically good quality re-chargeable batteries that plug into your smart phone using a simple USB cable and re-charge your phone.

Dual Power Bank

Dual Power Bank from USB2U – ideal for Festivals

A decent Power Bank (and you determine the quality by the amount of stored power it holds and who supplied it) will typically fully charge a dead smart phone in around 90 minutes. If you’ve got a PowerBank with a large power store (typically 6200mAh to 10,000 mAh) then you’ll get several full re-charges from it. A good example of these is the Dual Power Bank that USB2U have recently introduced – this has so much stored power that you could recharge two phones simultaneously!

If you’re a company looking for a promotional product for the summer then you could do a lot worse than giving away a Power Bank with your brand or logo printed on it. Give them away at the festival (fully charged – which is how they come) and you’re likely to be swamped! Pretty much everyone ends up running out of power for their smartphone or tablets at a festival so if you can be the saviour then your company is going to get huge brownie points – link the giveaway to a Social Media program and you’re pretty much guaranteed loads of posts and likes!

USB2U offer a wide range of PowerBanks and carry thousands in stock which they can print and deliver on a next day service. All power to USB2U!

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Agreement Reached on bailout for Greece – USB2U breathes sigh of relief

Posted by USB2U on 13th July 2015 | Permalink

Talk about going to the wire! After another series of all night talk it finally looks as though there is agreement across the eurozone on a way forward.

To quote Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission head “There will be no Grexit” – The financial markets have responded positively, but of course there is still the small matter of the Greece government having to pass the reforms that underpin the agreement by Wednesday. If this happens then whilst it won’t exactly be business as usual at least there will be a way forward and we can all collectively work on restoring something akin to normality.

For us at USB2U this is fabulous news because we have lots of clients in Greece and they have remained loyal to us over the past few years. Many of them are local photographers that take on wedding orientated assignments and come to us because of our range of popular wooden USB sticks and gift boxes but we have plenty of other more general businesses in Greece that we also supply.

Greece Bailout Deal done - no Grexit

Greece Bailout Deal Done – Hooray

Failure to reach agreement wouldn’t necessarily mean we couldn’t or wouldn’t continue to supply our Greek customers but we suspect it would make our prices and payment terms less attractive than they are today. (or have been over the past year or two).

Anyway now there seems consensus on a way forward we’re delighted because it means we can focus on what we do best and that’s working with our customers to deliver a range of amazing branded USB memory sticks – Hooray!

All we need now is for the uncertainty and mild chaos that’s rocking the Chinese Stock markets to abate and we’d be in the happy position of saying stability has been restored! Unfortunately whilst all eyes across europe have been on Greece the bigger potential crisis has been unfolding in China.

Given that all of our USB sticks are manufactured in China (we finish, e.g. print or engrave the majority in the UK but buy the core “blank” sticks from China) it’s critical to us (and our customers) that we can be assured of stability in supply and pricing.

Whilst our partner factory is not directly affected by the lurches in the stock market per se they (and we) do suffer when sentiment moves against China and the exchange rates take a hit. All USB sticks are purchased from the factories in China in US dollars so pricing is directly connected to the international financial markets.

So, whilst the deal for Greece is welcome news we’d be a lot happier if the Chinese markets could follow suit and find some stability.

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No Fake Reviews amongst our 3,000 Reviews on Trustpilot

Posted by USB2U on 19th June 2015 | Permalink

This morning the BBC reported that businesses in the UK are ambushing rivals with fake reviews, that customers are using the threat of leaving a poor review to negotiate a discount and that some review sites are failing to “take live” negative comments to give businesses a chance to resolve the matter rather than suffer a poor review.

Such is the concern about the extent of fake reviews that are now on the internet that The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is to launch an investigation into the burgeoning review industry. It will report it’s finding and recommendations in 2016 but this is serious stuff with firms found to be acting illegally facing stiff fines and their directors possibly facing imprisonment!

The CMA, an important business regulator, said an initial study on the issue had “unearthed evidence that restaurants and other firms were posting fake reviews in sufficient numbers to warrant a formal investigation”. It also found that online reviews greatly influenced more than half of adult when they were shopping online.

At USB2U we sell promotional USB memory sticks. We operate in a highly competitive market and we know that many of prospective customers read reviews before placing their first order with us – why wouldn’t they, it’s common practice when buying over the internet today.

As a business that has been supplying promotional USB memory sticks for well over a decade (with a large number of customers that come back to us time and time again) we pride ourselves on the product(s) we supply and the service we offer. We, perhaps with a touch of arrogance, think our service is what differentiates us from the competition and we want someone, other than us, to promote this message – who better than our customers.

As such we encourage our customers to review us on Trustpilot. We’ve been using this service now for around 4 years and in that time we have accumulated over 3,000 reviews. We have NO control over what customers post, the score they award us, or the “taking live” of any review and nor would we want it.

Trustpilot, an independent 3rd party review service, posts ALL reviews, good or bad. If a negative review is posted (and we’ve had a few and most of them made fair comments) our recourse is to use the feedback as a learning experience and do things differently and better next time around.

We’re not perfect and we’re always learning. The feedback we get not only helps prospective customers but also us a business. Honest, open, and objective feedback is what we want and what we encourage. It’s disappointing that other businesses are apparently manipulating review sites but all we can do is reassure our customers that all of our reviews are genuine, all reviews are posted and all reviews are read and we appreciate the time and trouble customers take to post them.

We welcome the review by the CMA.

Branded USB Memory Sticks

Branded USB Memory Sticks

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USB Sticks and Keepsake Boxes fit for a Princess

Posted by USB2U on 6th May 2015 | Permalink

Fantastic news about the birth of the latest Royal baby on Saturday! Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (Charlotte Elizabeth Diana) arrived at 8:34am on Saturday and the announcement has provided a welcome respite to all of the political debate in the lead up to the General Election on Thursday.

Whilst there’s been masses of media coverage and loads of photos of Princess Charlotte it’s unlikely we’re going to see any “official” photos released by the Palace for at least another 3-4 weeks. Her brother (Prince George) was a couple of days short of being a month old before the first official image was released and even then these were a few snapshots taken by Kate’s father.

It’ll be interesting to see if this time around Kate and William use the services of a professional photographer or whether they elect (again) to keep the whole thing “in the family”. It’s a commission that most professional photographers would give their right arm to get albeit it won’t come without lots of pressure, scrutiny not to mention the demands (and intrusion) of the press!

If they do commission a professional photographer Kate and William won’t be alone because these days the newborn baby photography sector is growing fast and there are some brilliant pros that specialise in nothing but baby photography. Of course as a market grows and brings more competition into it one of the challenges is to make sure you differentiate your service so photographers are now using things like engraved USB memory sticks and matching engraved keepsake boxes to store digital copies of the baby photos on and in!

But, a pretty keepsake box and cute engraved USB memory stick is just a great “value add” and nothing more. Fundamentally it has to be about the quality of the photography and how the photographer engages with their client and the baby.

If you are an established baby photographer then, irrespective of whether you get the “gig” at the Palace you might want to think about offering digital copies of your shots to your clients on an engraved or printed USB memory stick. It’s the way the market is moving and there are now several specialist companies (including USB2U) that not only offer these types of products but have also invested in dedicated websites aimed at the Pro-Photography sector.

If you are think that you’re on the short list of possibles for the first official photographs of Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge then good luck!

Tasmin Holland

Tasmin Holland – Professional Photography – USB Sticks and Boxes

 

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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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Reviews of USB2U Push Towards 3,000 on Trustpilot

Posted by USB2U on 31st March 2015 | Permalink

Confidence is one of the key factors when you’re buying from a company that you deal with over the Internet. Confidence that you’re in safe hands, confidence that you’ll actually get what you ordered and in time for when you need them and confidence that should things go wrong (as they occasionally do) that the company is able and willing to front up and deal with the issues.

Of course it’s not unheard of for companies to exaggerate claims about their capabilities to stretch the truth a little or to flat out lie about what the quality of what they are selling and to avoid dealing with any post sales issues or queries that might arise.

In an age when a great looking website can be thrown up in a matter of hours/days its relatively easy for anyone to claim they are the “greatest” supplier, that they have “thousands of satisfied customers” and that they can deliver top quality products in a matter of days. But, should you trust everything you read on a companies own website and take it as fact?

Printed Twister USB Sticks

Printed Twister USB Sticks

Before you place any order for promotional products (like branded USB memory sticks) that are going to carry your brand and logo on them we’d strongly advocate that you try and validate some of the comments claimed on the companies website that you plan to buy from. It’s one thing having a bad Internet shopping experience when you’re buying something for yourself but trusting your company’s brand and reputation to a 3rd party based purely on what they say about themselves is to put it mildly “a little risky”.

The Internet not only enables the little start up companies to compete with the bigger boys BUT more fundamentally it gives a strong voice to customers to share their shopping experiences (good and bad) with other prospective customers. Just as you’d use a site like Trip Advisor to review a hotel or holiday company before you make a booking we’d strongly advocate using 3rd party review sites like Trustpilot to see what customers are saying about suppliers of products like branded USB memory sticks.

Arguably such review sites (providing there is a critical mass of reviews and providing they are recent) are a safer way to gauge the capabilities of a company to deliver against their promises.

At USB2U we strongly encourage all of our customers to review the service they’ve received from us on Trustpilot. We already have around 2,9000 reviews and we expect to smash through 3,000 reviews in the next couple of weeks. So, if you’re thinking of ordering your branded flash drives from us then don’t just take our word for how good our service is check out what thousands of customers are saying – we’re currently ranked as “Excellent” with a trust score of 9.7 out of 10.

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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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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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