Society & Lifestyle

How to shop on Taobao

The secrets of successful shopping on Taobao

How to shop on Taobao. Source:

Despite the worldwide popularity of AliExpress, consumers still use another Chinese e-commerce giant service Taobao.

PaySpace Magazine has spent some time working out how to shop at the site, and are now ready to share this knowledge with you.

How to order an item from Taobao

Before answering the question of how to buy on Taobao, we would like to clear up why this website is so popular.

Taobao is the largest Chinese (and some sources claim the world’s biggest) e-commerce website with a broad range of products for fairly low prices. Moreover, according to Alexa, Taobao is the eighth most visited site in the whole world. But the online store has one serious drawback. And that is the absence of any interface language other than Chinese.

This small disadvantage may scare an inexperienced online shopper. However, if you are able to spare some time in working out how to order goods on Taobao and how to pay for your purchases, you will dramatically reduce the average price of your shopping session.

Difficulties arise in the early stages of interaction with the site. But if you know how to search for goods in the right way, you will not face any issues.

Let’s consider the most convenient ways to find what you need:

  • Rubricator (the list of headings). This option is handy if the item you are looking for is listed in one of the sections on the Taobao home page.

  • Search string. This may be nothing new, except the fact that you’ll have to type the name of the item in Chinese characters, which is not as easy as it seems at first sight. You can also type in English, but this will significantly reduce the number of results.

There is also an important point here to bear in mind. The top brands in Europe and the United States have their own way of spelling in Chinese, which is completely different from writing in Latin script. In order to find out the correct name in Chinese, you can use the search engine

How to choose an item on Taobao

After you have finally found the product you are interested in, you’ll have to decide which seller you will deal with. Here are several standard tips on how to order quality products from Taobao and not make a mistake:

  1. Ignore the cheapest offers. It does not mean that you have to overpay, but it is better to choose a product with a price that is slightly below average, but not the lowest one.
  2. Check the possibility of delivery to the desired country.
  3. If the item you wish to order is not one from a specific/sectoral/domain, then it is worth looking at the number of units sold and comments left.
  4. If the description of the product includes a wide range of prices, it is a good idea to take a look at all the items included in the search results. It is also desirable to double-check all specs.
  5. Seller rating is one of the most important points. Pay attention to the number of hearts, diamonds, crowns, and the existence of a gold medal.

If you want to know how to pay for purchases on Taobao, then the answer is more obvious that it appears. You can do it through the Alipay payment system. It is important to clarify that the completion of the payment transaction does not guarantee an item’s delivery. If the goods are out of stock, the transaction can be canceled by the system. Of course, you’ll get your money back, but this does not apply to the time you have spent. Therefore, it is better to check whether the item you want is in stock.

How to buy on Taobao

We’ve considered the Alipay option above. Now let’s talk about other ways.

The use of a middleman company is another good way to save time and avoid unpleasant situations.

Yes, we have anticipated your question, and we’ve prepared the answer even before you have decided to ask it, so, “This is not for free”. However, in most cases, it is totally worth it. The following table is useless except for experienced Chinese marketplace shoppers. Therefore, if you are not one, it is worth considering:

Intermediary Tibimi Mastertao gorodtao
Fees 6% 5% or each item for 5 yuan 5% and additional 3yuan for each item
Delivery Up to 100 kg – 29 yuan/kg

Over 100 kg – 35 yuan/kg

33,8 yuan/kg Up to 50 kg – 33,8 yuan/kg

Over 50 kg – 27,8 yuan/kg

Package Free of charge Package or bag costs 20 yuans for each 20 kg N/A
Minimum sum No No 500 yuans
Restrictions No Up to 5 items in one order N/A
Placing an order Visit the website Excel Excel

You are the only one in charge of the decision-making process, and eventually, you will choose the way to shop on Taobao. There are a lot of other intermediary firms (we’ve listed the most popular ones). You can also purchase things yourself in order to save some money.

SEE ALSO: How to buy safely on AliExpress and avoid scams

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