Wanna shop cheap goodies but can’t Chinese for nuts? I got your back. “But why bother?”, you might ask.
Sure, there are middleman agents like Ezbuy that translates the language and does the shipping for you, but by making your purchase directly off the website, you get seller discounts sometimes and no agent fees! Not to mention that Taobao has basically everything.
Here’s your ultimate guide to getting started on Taobao – you can thank me after.
1. Setting Up An Account
When you arrive at the main page, look out for the words 免费注册 (register for free) and you’ll be directed to the account set up page. At the top right corner, there should be an option to toggle the language to English, so you should be able to follow the instructions and set up accordingly.
Now you can get to browsing for items!
2. Get Shopping
If you’re not sure where to start, simply scroll down on the main page where Taobao offers daily recommended items!
The first row with blue fonts are based off your most recent searches and bookmarked items, so we’ll touch on that later. We want to focus on the yellow zone – 每日好店– daily recommended shops.
This is where the magic begins. Ladies and gentlemen, hold on to your wallets. Shown in the image is the section with recommended shops selling female apparel.
Notice the crowns and diamonds? Those are the shop’s ratings. Ideally, you’ll want to shop from stores with crowns, because those are the more reputed shops with good reviews.
However, it doesn’t mean that shops with hearts or diamond ratings aren’t good! Always make sure to check the review for the item you’re interested in as well.
Take this denim skirt for example. Notice the star button at the bottom left of the photo? You can ‘save’ your favourite items so you can access them easily later on.
Before adding your item to the cart, you’d want to find out if the material is good or if the sizing runs large or small, etc. The second tab there, 累计评论 (collated reviews), is what you’ll want to check out.
Don’t worry if you don’t get the Mandarin; just right click and translate the words to English (on google chrome), and you’ll be able to get a rough idea of how good the item is! I’m pretty happy with my good find.
The search bar does interpret hanyupinyin into Mandarin, but it’s not always accurate. To help you get started, here are a few search terms you can use: 半身裙 – skirt, 针织开衫 – knitted cardigan, 牛仔短裤 – denim shorts, 连衣裙 – dress, 露肩上衣 – off-shoulder tops, and 卫衣女 – female sweaters.
Once you’re done and ready to checkout, head to your shopping cart by clicking the icon at the top-right corner.
Upon clicking the checkout button, you’ll be asked to enter your address. List it as an overseas one, 海外其他. You may leave the final row asking for a china number blank.
Make sure you pick the second option 集运 (consolidated shipping) for this one, as it would ship all the items you bought to a warehouse in China, before repacking it together for you! I recommend using 4PX. Click on the blue-coloured words at the bottom right of the row to change your shipping company.
The next step is to set up your payment options. After you’re done saving your address, click on payment and you’ll be directed to set up your Alipay.
Enter your credit card details under the “Visa/Mastercard” option, and key in the relevant information. Once that is done, your payment should be made and you’re ready to wait for your items to arrive at the warehouse!
4. Shipping To Singapore
Once all your items have arrived at the warehouse, check all of them to ship and you’ll be directed to a page where you can choose between shipping to your home address (first option highlighted in orange) or to a popstation (second option)!
Depending on the overall volumetric weight of your parcel, shipping cost varies. Generally speaking for clothes and stationery however, it shouldn’t cost more than a few Singapore dollars.
And there you go! The ultimate guide to getting started on Taobao. Don’t forget to bookmark your favourite shops as well.
Ever since I started shopping on this website, I’ve been getting most of my basic clothing from Taobao shops. Allow me to apologise in advance for your wallet. But hey, you’ll be getting more bang for your buck, so it’s all worth it right?!