They have everything on Amazon

dehydrated waterAmazon (and Walmart) are where I buy nearly everything I need.   And these days I rarely even visit a store since I can get most things (even groceries) shipped now.  Click, click, click and I’m done.

You really can buy pretty much everything on Amazon, and I have the list to prove it.

If you want it, or even don’t want it… Chances are Amazon has it.   I can’t think of an instance where I went to go buy something and I could not find it there for sale.

 

Visit my blog archives, there may be other strange things hidden there.

Your product description is lacking

help you pencil

I’ve seen it many times when shopping online; an otherwise great product is paired with a poorly worded description.   It may be that your product is so great that it sells itself, even without a coherent product description, but why risk it?  A bad product description can lend itself to all sorts of unintended consequences:

  • Negative reviews resulting from unintentionally misleading descriptions promising more (or something other than) what the product can do.
  • Missed sales because buyer is wary of buying a product from overseas, even if the product is actually stocked in US warehouses.
  • Missed sales because buyer equates the quality of writing with the quality of the product.
  • Missed sales because buyer doesn’t understand what the description says, or can’t determine if the product is what they need based on the description.
  • Poor search results, your product will not be seen by as many people.

The solution?  I can fix your product descriptions to read cleanly, clearly and fluently to an English speaking audience.  I have years of writing experience, in both technical writing and creative writing, as well as marketing experience.   This is the perfect combination of skills you want to have when writing any product description.

The product description is what sells your product.  If someone is on the fence about purchasing, a well written and attention grabbing product description can be the tipping point.

Bottom line?  If you want to increase your sales, you need my services. Contact me to find out how I can benefit you.

 

 

Want to read some of my previous blog posts?  See the blog archive.

 

It’s Golden Week

golden-week10/3/16 – I have learned so much about holidays in China working with as many Chinese people and companies as I do.   This week is Golden Week in China, which is not so much celebrating anything in particular, rather it’s a holiday that the government invented in 1999 to give it’s people time to travel to see far away relatives, and expand domestic tourism.  As with the Mid-Autumn Festival, I notice my inbox for review requests has been drastically curtailed.  So in a way it’s a bit of a mini holiday for me as well.

It’s interesting to note in 2006 there were proposals submitted to end the Golden Week celebrations, because it disrupted the 5 week business cycle and it did not have the economic gains with domestic tourism that it originally was designed to have.

It may be that in the future years Golden Week will not be celebrated.   In the US we get traditional holidays off, like Christmas, Easter and Independence day among others, but we don’t get a whole week of vacation days, we get just one and we always hope it falls on a Monday or Friday so we get a longer weekend break.    Having an entire week would be pretty awesome, but it would hinder business.  I can’t see the US ever adopting something like that.

 

Amazon vs Google

shopping-cart-148959_1280In a recent article on CNBC, 55% of people start their online shopping searches on Amazon.  Only 28% use a search engine, this number includes Google along with all the others. Only 16% of people started their searches on a different retailer’s site.

I was not in the least surprised by this, I am also among the majority that turn to Amazon first when buying practically anything.   Even on those few occasions where I do look elsewhere first, I always compare prices and options on Amazon.   More often than not I find it cheaper at Amazon, and as many of the people surveyed for the article said, the checkout process is more convenient on Amazon.  Other retailers are trying to catch up, but Amazon is still king.

This is good news for Amazon reviewers, as it means more eyes reading reviews and in turn more sellers wanting good quality reviews.

 

100% of people should check out my blog archives.

 

It’s the Mid-Autumn Festival

My inbox of review requests is drastically reduced this week.   Why?  China is having their annual Mid-Autumn Festival and everyone gets several days off for this extravaganza.  This festival’s dates change (kind of like Easter is a floating holiday in the US) so it can happen any time between September 8th and October 7th.  This year it is September 15, 16 and 17th.

It is an occasion for outdoor gatherings among friends and relatives.   Traditionally Chinese will celebrate by eating mooncakes and watching the moon, which is thought of as a symbol of harmony and unity.

From reading the wiki page on mooncakes, I get the feeling these cakes are not unlike the fruitcake tradition we have here around Christmastime.   People give them, but no one actually eats them.

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Consumer Lessons

cardboard-box-161578_960_720So many products have come across my doorstep, and I’ve learned a few things by being able to review them.   I’m going to share some of the insights I have learned as a result.

If your buying common items, shop around first.   Amazon, Target, Walmart, Kohls, Overstock… all these outlets carry a lot of the same items.   I mean exactly the same.   The only difference will be the price and the return policy of the seller.  You can buy an LED light on Amazon for $9 or you can buy it for $15.  But it’s the same light and it’s the same seller (Amazon) with the same return policy (Prime).   I never buy anything now without first shopping around.

Brand name seems to only matter (sometimes) when it comes to electronics.   But it doesn’t really matter in other areas, unless you are trying to impress someone with a logo.  For instance, if you buy a leather purse that isn’t a brand name vs. one that is a brand name you will get the same quality minus the logo but at less cost.   Now that’s not to say a really cheap-o bonded leather purse will hold up as well, because it won’t.  You do get what you pay for.   But if you spend $100 on a good quality purse, you’ll be spending half as much for an equivalent quality as the name brand.

If an item seems priced ridiculously low, it’s a knock off and inferior quality 99% of the time.   Sometimes that’s ok, if you know what you are getting.  But don’t delude yourself by thinking that the $20 smart watch is as good as the $500 one, even if they look the same.   The $20 may work, but it’s not going to have the same functionality and in some cases it might be more of a hassle than you bargained for.  But it is worth exactly what you paid.

Some things are a gamble buying online.   Memory foam mattresses and clothes are the first things that come to mind.   They are a gamble because they are a personal preference issue.  For example, some people like a harder mattress.  When you are reading reviews and they say “it’s firm, but not too hard” what they mean is “not too hard for me”.   When you try it – it’s like a rock.   It’s really subjective.   I’ve tested 6 memory foam mattresses in the last 6 years, and each one was radically different, but all of them boasted being “soft”.  But for the record, two of the mattresses were anything but soft, two were like a cloud, and the other two were somewhere in the middle.  The upside is buying memory foam online is radically cheaper.  Maybe you can afford to make a mistake or two finding the right one.

I can’t tell the difference between a $300 necklace and a $100 necklace.  But I can tell the difference between a $100 necklace and a $10 necklace.   There is a law of diminishing returns with jewelry.   Diamonds are nearly indistinguishable from cubic zirconia now, weight wise they are the same, with CZ being maybe even a bit heavier.  Fakes are getting pretty realistic.  You can tell with rings or chunkier jewelry pieces by the weight of the metal if they are cheap… but visually… you can’t.  Keep that in mind if you are splurging you can get something really nice for $300, or get something that looks the same for $100.

 

Have you checked out my blog archive yet?

My other job

marketingI do have another job besides reviewing.   I work from home for a large natural products manufacturer and distributor.  I love everything about the job.   My title is Marketing Specialist, but what I do primarily boils down to graphic design, managing social media and professional blogging.  However, my degree is in Human Services and I have a certification in Creative Arts Therapy. Originally when I went to college I wanted to go into graphic design, but I found that while I loved the “art” aspect, I didn’t like the technology aspect.   I felt like all the graphic design programs were too cumbersome to the creative process (this was awhile ago).   And now all these years later, I stumble into a graphic design job.   Of course now the programs I use like Illustrator and Photoshop are much more sophisticated and powerful than they were, and I find them much less daunting and actually enjoyable to use.   I’m self taught on these programs, so there are always new things to learn.

I also do some secret shopping on the side, but have not done it much in recent months because the other two jobs seem to be dominating my time.  For awhile, I was doing several secret shops a day.   Now every few months I’ll pick up one here or there when it fits into the schedule.  But that’s the nice thing about secret shopping, you choose when to work and how frequently you work.

It is interesting how all three of these jobs inter-relate with each other.   Skills I learn and hone in one area transfer over to the next.  The marketing and SEO I have learned transfers to my reviewing life.   My review job hones my writing skills which I need for my marketing job and my secret shopper jobs, and the secret shopping job makes me focus on what good customer relations are, which loosely translates back to the other two jobs.   I’m really blessed to be able to do these things, and I hope that I’ll be able to do it for a long time.

 

 

Visit my blog archives and find out more interesting tidbits.

 

 

 

My Chinese Translations

chinese writingAbout 60% of my emails originate from China.  I get so many emails from China in fact, that I have written up some of my standard responses in Chinese (with the help of Google Translate of course).  I didn’t have to do this but I notice some of the emails I get are a little less well worded than others, which tells me that they are probably using a translation program to write them, or they aren’t as fluent in English as some others may be.   I figured taking the time to translate a response back into their native language would be a nice gesture, and a time saver for them not having to run it through translation software.

Something I noticed though, was interesting.   My standard response when I don’t want to review an item had always been: “No thank you, but keep me in mind for future reviews.”  But when I translated it to simplified Chinese….

“不,谢谢你,但让我记住了将来的审查。”

….and then translated it back to English it read:

“No thank you, but I remember a future review.” 

This does not make much sense.  They probably thought I was a bit batty.  Evidently translating back and forth between languages is not so cut and dry.  So it made me realize to get a understandable response I have to translate it from English to Chinese, then back to English to make sure it’s understandable – or so I thought.

What I have now is “No thank you , but give me an e-mail in the future, when you have more items for review.”

Which translates to: “不,谢谢你,但给我的电子邮件在未来,当你有审查多个项目。”

And it translates back to a somewhat imperfect “No, thank you , but to my e-mail in the future , when you have multiple items to review.”

This seem slightly more understandable.  I think they can get the idea that I want them to send me an email when they have other items.  I have tried multiple iterations but this one was the closest to intelligible that I could manage.

To all my Chinese partners on the other side of the globe, I’m sorry I butchered your language.   Which translates to: “对不起,我宰了你的语言” And translated back to English reads:  “I’m sorry, I could kill your language.”

*****

Edit:  No sooner was the proverbial ink dry on this blog post when one of my Chinese contacts helpfully corrected my bad Chinese translation:

translate

It is clear I’m never going to be good with the Chinese language, but thankfully I can get a little bit of help when I need it.

By the way… if you are reading this and reside outside the United States, and the English language is not something you are proficient in, I help foreign sellers on Amazon and elsewhere write their product descriptions in English.  I have experience in technical writing (Both SOP and ISO certified written documentation) as well as creative writing (I am a paid professional blogger for two online companies), and I also possess marketing/SEO experience.  Contact me if this is a service you are interested in receiving.   My rates are quite reasonable.

 

My blog archives have amazing vocabulary and sentence structure, see for yourself!

 

Oh crap. It’s a group text.

grp txtPardon the diversion from reviewing talk, but for the record; a group text among a small group of close friends trying to decide on a place to meet up is the only acceptable use of group text, everything else is an MMS gang bang.    I cannot be the only one who despises the overuse and abuse of group texts, right?  I cannot fathom why I still get so many group texts.   Have we not learned?

It happens to me at least once a week that I get roped into these unfortunate group texts.  Even when the text is relevant to me, I still despise them.   Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if so many people didn’t need to chime in with irrelevant banter – but of course people feel compelled to do this.  Do people enjoy having their phones explode with rapid fire irrelevant texts?  Do they not have better things to do with their time?

And, maybe the more pressing question – why is there no option to exit a group text?  That should definitely be an option.  Some app maker could make a fortune.  Be the only messaging app with a feature to remove yourself from group texts.   But in the meantime while we wait for this miracle app, maybe there ought to be some rules for group texting- you know, some basic etiquette.

  1. If you are group texting eight or more people who are not close friends, don’t.
  2. If you still insist on sending your group text, add a caveat at the end telling people to respond to you privately, and not on the group text.
  3. Any person still responding to the group text will be publicly shamed until they stop.
  4. If you are the unfortunate recipient of a group text do not reply, ever. If you have to tell the originator something, respond to them in a personal text.

If people adhered to these basic rules, think how much time would be saved.   Think of how much better our lives would be!   And, maybe I wouldn’t mind so much when I see I have a group text.

 

Don’t forget to check out my blog archives!

Vacation

Vacation prep for me always has to factor in my reviewing.   One week from vacation, I (try to) stop taking in new review items – unless I have the seller’s permission to hang on to the item until I am back and review it then.  Most people might do a vacation mail hold from the post office; I also have to do a FedEx and UPS vacation hold for packages as well.   Thank goodness they offer that!  The amount of tonnage that would pile up in my garage or on my front doorstep would be immense.

This year’s main vacation lasted a couple weeks.   It was a road trip over most of the western US.   I was able to see a lot of things that I haven’t seen, some things I’ve seen but wanted to see again.   It was quite an undertaking.

It was (for me) a working vacation as I didn’t take off time from my regular paying day job. I brought my laptop and hotspot with me in the car and for the most part, it worked out ok except in the mountains when I lost signal.vacation

I don’t have much of a distinction between work and home because I work from home, and now I work on vacation.  I’m not complaining at all, because I love my day job and I love my review job.   But I wish there were more hours in the day, especially because this is what awaits me when I get home:

2016-06-13 16.04.11

Check out the blog archives!

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