Shopping directly at Taobao.com is an intriguing experience. While more faint-hearted shoppers may never leave the comfort of a taobao agent’s website, adventurous e-consumers will jump at the chance to shop direct.
Direct shopping will save you money. You’ll avoid agent’s fees of up to 10% and you’ll save the domestic Chinese postage for shipment between a seller’s warehouse and your agent’s place. But extra bucks in your pocket isn’t even the best part: a healthy feeling of accomplishment will grow as you maneuver the Chinese e-commerce system.
1.1 Can I buy from Taobao/Tmall internationally without agent?
Taobao has launched its overseas market website (world.taobao.com) and official forwarding Services(Taobao cargo) specially for international buyers.This service includes Taobao Global Direct Shipping and Taobao Global Consolidation and Shipping. It currently supports the following areas:
|Shipping Methods||Supported Countries|
|Taobao Global Direct Shipping||Singapore,Malaysia,HongKong,Taiwan|
|Taobao Global Consolidation and Shipping||USA,Canada, Australia,New Zealand,Singapore,Malaysia,Taiwan,Macao,Japan(new)|
1.2 Translate Chinese Taobao to English Taobao
the one of the major difficulty you are facing to shop on taobao is the Chinese language. In order to solve this obstacle, you need the Google Chrome to get the single page or the whole website translated into your onw language. Get started now:
1) Install Google Chrome. This browser enables instant webpage translation into English, a prerequisite for comfortable Taobao.com shopping. (Unless, of course, you are fluent in reading Chinese.)
This method is far preferable to individual-word translating because you get the big picture. Sure, some of the text may look weird or seem poorly translated, but it’s sufficient to allow you to shop.
2) Open Google Chrome’s settings and search for “translate”. Make sure on the Language Input settings that Chinese (Simplified) is checked for “Offer to translate pages in this language”.
Now, any Taobao.com pages you open will automatically be translated into English. Yay! Too easy. (When you mouse-over a translated word, the original Chinese-character set appears. Nice way to learn a new language.)
If you get stuck at a non-translatable section, a good source for instant translation from Chinese -> English ishttp://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php?page=translate. Just cut and paste the characters into the box.
If you cannot copy & paste to translate, you can install the google translate app on your phone,use your camera to translate text instantly.
or try screenshotting text that was not translated and use http://www.i2ocr.com to translate the actual image.
2. Creating Your Account
Open an account on taobao is very easy because it provides English version of sign up now.I have written another post on how to register a taobao account.just follow the steps you will be able to get your taobao account.
It is advised to to download aliwangwang to communicate directly with the seller and forwarder.here is the download page.
3. Product Search
you can use product image and English keywords to search on taobao.here is the guide.
Browse and shop in the translated Taobao.com site to your heart’s content.Click on a category or an item, and you’ll see a page lay-out similar to this one. Look familiar?
Clicking “Buy Now” will take you directly to checkout. If you’re filling a shopping cart, you will need to add a check (√) by your confirmed item(s) to activate the orange “Submit” field.
Some important shopping tips:
- Refresh your knowledge of the metric system or use a converter to ensure you choose the correct size
- Before you fall irreversibly in love with an item, check the seller’s rating,you can learn more about seller rating and buyer feedback from this post.
- Estimated shipping costs from the seller to your address can be viewed on this page by “Freight’ (the Chinese yuan (¥) is worth about $0.16, or ¥6 to one US$).
If you see the following information:
- sorry, this item can’t be shipped to your selected address.
that means Taobao cargo can not ship this item to you.you need to find a taobao agent or your own forwarder.
If you see information like this:
- 根據所在國法律法規或平臺政策 此項商品限制下單購買
- 根据所在国法律法规或平台政策 此项商品限制下单购买。
that means you can not buy this item from world.taobao.com.World.Taobao.com has a system to filter products that they think is inappropriate for international buyers to purchase from.if you still want to buy this item,you should try to：
- Contact the seller,copy the error info to them,ask the seller to give you a new item link with no brand name or minimal product info.
- Find a taobao agent to buy it for you.
4. Placing Your Order
4.1 Input Your Shipping Address
A weak point in the Taobao.com purchase path is the Chinese-language-only, non Google-translatable screen to enter Shipping/Delivery Information.
The option “所在地区 ” has two dropdown menus.the first is Region list,the second one is country list.If you are from Malaysia,you can choose “马来西亚” from the first menu,then your city from second menu.others should 海外其他 from the first dropdown,then choose your country.
For example, you are from USA,Reference the image above to choose the characters for the region “Overseas(海外其他)” and the country “USA(美国)” from the drop downs.
List of country names in Chinese:
- USA – 美国
- Canada – 加拿大
- Australia – 澳大利亚
- New Zealand – 新西兰
- Singapore – 新加坡
- Malaysia – 马来西亚
- Japan – 日本
The option “手机号码 ” is your mobile phone number,and “电话号码” is your landline number.If you don’t have landline number,you can input a fake one,it is not important.Make sure you input the real and correct mobile phone number.
4.2 Choose Shipping Method
After hitting the orange “Submit” field, you’ll see your delivery details. Choose here between the Taobao.com default shipping method “Taobao Cargo(淘宝集运)” or an individual arrangement with the seller:
Taobao Cargo: Taobao Cargo,also called Taobao Global Consolidation and Shipping, is Taobao’s official forwarding service.the process is very simple.you need to make two payments just as using the taobao agent.
First payment: Product cost + Domestic shipping fee (to forwarder warehouse)
if you choose Taobao Cargo while check out in taobao,Forwarder warehouse address will be shown as the receiver address,seller will automatically send your order to that address,You don’t need to let the seller know warehouse address privately.
Second payment: International shipping fee (to destination)
Once all the parcels you bought has arrived at the forwarder warehouse,you can log in your taobao account to consolidate items and pay for the International shipping fee (from forwarder’s warehouse to your destination address)
Note: you must register and purchase from world.taobao.com to use “Taobao Cargo”,you won’t see this option if you order from taobao.com
Taobao Cargo currently only support USA,Canada, Australia,New Zealand,Singapore and Malaysia,Japan.if you are not from these countries,you won’t see this option.
Contact Seller Shipping: Seller Supported Countries,you need to contact the seller personally before select this option.Most of taobao sellers do not ship internationally or the shipping fee can be extremely high,so I do not recommend this option.
4.3 Choose the Forwarder
For USA,The default forwarder is JCEX-ups,click “modify(修改)“,you will see more options:
NOTE: you should remember the name of the forwarder,once your parcel has problem or you want to track your order,you can contact them on live chat and aliwangwang.
Items the carrier do not ship internationally:Battery,Liquid,Electric products,Powder,Lighter,Magnet,Tea,Food.
High risk items: replicas and counterfeit items,it will bring high risk to pass customs if your parcel contains fake items or anything that infringe an intellectual property right.
Zhongshan courier can ship the high risk items.
JCEX Jiacheng is stricter,if they found your package includes high risk items,they will hold them in their warehouse,you should either pay to return the items or pay to get them shipped with a higher shipping rate.
4.4 Confirm order details and submmit your order
find somebody to pay(找人代付) means you can ask someone with an Alipay account to pay for your item(s).
anonymous purchase(匿名购买):check this if you do not want people to look up what you purchase, when, from whom, etc.
大陆段运费:means domestic shipping fee.
海外段运费:means international shipping fee.it will be caculated when reaching the warehouse.
Note: even if an item shows to be in stock and a payment could be made, this doesn’t mean that the seller actually has the stock. Thus, it is recommended that, after payment, you send the purchase order number and warehouse address to the seller to verify if they could send out the goods on time.
5. First Payment: Product cost + Domestic shipping fee (to forwarder warehouse)
On the next screen you will be on the Alipay account platform. There you’ll see your own User Name assigned to an Alipay account.
If it is your first purchase using Alipay,you will be required to create an Alipay payment password (6 numerical digits, non-repeating). This password is a unique one, and will NOT be the same as your Taobao.com password.
Then you will be able to choose payment method as shown below:
Credit Card/Debit Card:
- 3% service fee
- Sellers with credit card payment gateway :per transaction limit: 10000 CNY,per day limit: 10000 CNY
- Sellers without credit card payment gateway :per transaction limit: 6000 CNY,per day limit:6000 CNY
Malaysia eBanking : 1.5% service fee
Singapore eNets :1.00 SGD service fee
eNets is not supported by Taobao since September 26, 2016
Alipay purchase card(支付宝购物卡):
- 2% service fee
- Australians can buy it from local post offices
- per transaction limit: 4500 CNY,per day limit: 5000 CNY
6. Consolidation &Second payment: International shipping fee (to your address)
After making the first payment, you may go to “Purchased Items(已购买的宝贝)” to check the order info.
Label 1.you can click this blue icon to chat with the seller.
Label 2.退款/退货 this is where to request return and refund.
Label 3.退运保险 if seller has bought domestic shipping insurance for you,you will be would be compensated when you return items from warehouse to the seller.
Label 4. this filed displays the delivery status for demestic shipping period,I will talk more about this label later.
Label 5.order details page
Label 6.logistic details page
Label 7.countdown timer, when this countdown timer expired,your payment will be released to the seller.It is not the time left to pay the freight forwarding fees.
Label 8.确认收货(confirm recepit).you don’t have to click this to pay for international shipping.this confirmation is telling seller you have received the item,when that countdown timer expired,it will auto confirm.Just ignore this filed.
6.1 Check order status(Label 4)
Label 4 shows the delivery status of your order:
—- 买家已付款 means you have successfully made the payment.
—- 卖家已发货 means seller has sent your items to the warehouse.
The seller usually ship out your items within 1-3 days,if you do not see”卖家已发货” within 3 days after you make the payment,you should contact the seller for confirmation.you can send this message to him-“老板,我的订单为什么没有发货”
If the item you want is out of stock or does not have your preferred size, color, etc. the seller will send a notification to you via aliwangwang. So, if you found out that your item was not in the warehouse where it was supposed to be, you should check your aliwangwang immediately for any notification.
—- 物流派件中 means the domestic courier is delivering this shipment.
—- when you see ” 快件已签收” and hopefully a red button “支付转运费” on the right like picture below,it means the warehouse get your items and you need to pay for the international shipping fee to get your items.
When all your orders reach the warehouse,Click the “Pay for international shipping(支付转运费)” button,you will then be able to select the orders that you want to consolidate and pay the international shipping for them.Click here to see the step-by-step guide on how to do this.
- The free storage time in the warehouse is 20 days,so you can consolidate all orders from different sellers within that period.
- you will be charged 1 CNY per parcel per day for extra days.
- You can only consolidate up to 20 parcels/orders,if you have more than 20 orders,you’d need to consolidate your orders into 2 packages as each package can only have 20 orders.
- There is a weight and size limit by the forwarder,Make sure your package does not exceed the limit.
—- when you see “快件已签收” but no “Pay for international shipping(支付转运费)” button or only button like”处理转运”,this is not good because there might be something wrong with your items.
Here, I would like to remind you that in average,your purchased items should reach the warehouse in 3-5 days from the date when order status changed to “卖家已发货” (which means that your items are shipped by sellers). If the “Pay for international shipping(支付转运费)” button does not appear after 5 days, it simply means there’s something wrong with the items. You should then check it with your forwarder and the seller immediately for clarification.
This is very important. I have received emails from many readers saying that they have waited for days for the button to appear. Little did they know that there was something wrong with their items.
And They won’t send you emails or SMS when items reach the warehouse,so You are advised to download “Taobao Global App” from App Store or Google Play. The “Logistics Helper(国际物流助手)” in the app will automatically send you the notification.
6.2 Check order details page(Label 5)
if you want to know where the warehouse address is just in case,click Label 5 after your payment,find “收货地址”,that address is the warehouse address.”转运至” means your address(see screenshot below).
6.3 logistic details page(Label 6)
Click Label 6 to go to logistics info page.then on the left bottom of the page,you will see the following info:
- 国内段运输 means domestic shipping
- 海外段运输 means internatioanl shipping
- 运单号码 means your waybill number
- 物流公司 means your courier/forwarder
- 发货地址 means seller address
- 集运仓地址 means forwarder warehouse address
- 收货地址 means your address
7. Tracking &Receving
Don’t forget to check the delivery status very closely to track your order! —
7.1 How long does it take to receive my Taobao order?
Below is the average delivery time provided by the forwarder:
- USA: JCEX UPS 5-7 business days,JCEX USPS 7-9 business days,Zhongshan EMS/DHL 9 business days
- Canada: UPS 5-7 business days,EMS/DHL 9 business days
- Australia: JCEX 5 business days,ZTO 秀驿物流 6 business days,4px 7 business days
- New Zealand: 7 business days
- Singapore: 5 business days
- Malaysia: West Malaysia 5 business days,East Malaysia 7 business days
- Japan: 4PX 5 business days,PRouter 4-8 business days.
The speed of the local customs clearance and local postal services will affect the delivery time.
7.2 How can I track my orders?
Note: for some countries,Waybill number for international shipping can only be trackable after your country’s Customs clearance.you will find no tracking information before that.
— Track it via courier’s website
for example,if you use EMS or DHL,you should go to the following site to track the shipment.
— Track it via contacting the forwarder
You can provide your waybill number and ask them where your items are now(我的货现在在哪里),they will tell you the shipping status.
7.3 Avoid Customs import duties
The forwarder will modify your package to pass through Customs, they’re very smart at this so you shouldn’t have a problem.for example,Zhongshan courier will declare a lower price on the package or use EMS to avoid getting taxed with customs when shipping parcels to Canada.
If you are worried about this,you can get the forwarder to declare a lower value or marked as a gift etc by aliwangwang the forwarder right after your payment for international shipping.
From many buyers’ personal experience,EMS is the best shipping method when you want easiest clearance through customs since most of their parcels don’t have to go through the hassle of opening and inspecting.
7.4 What if I get seized by Customs
If you are using UPS or DHL then they will email you invoice of custom and collect money at your doorstep at the time of delivery.
If you choose EMS then once your courier reaches your local post office,you will receive a call from post office and you will need to go there and pay.
8. After Sale
After the seller has sent out the goods, you may request for a refund within 25 days.
- Within the first 10 days, you may request for a refund by clicking the “Refund” button.
- Within the subsequent 15 days, you may request for a refund via “After-sales application”.
If there is a refund,Money will return to your credit card within 7 business days.Service fee will return to you if the refund is initiated within 30 calendar days from the time you make payment. After 30 days, no return for service fee.
You can return the goods from the warehouse to the sellers,but the return shipping address is needed,you have to contact the seller to ask for it.here is the step by step guide.
9. Resolving Issues
Enjoy Your Taobao.Com Shopping!
Trust me, once you get the hang of buying directly from Taobao, It will always be your No.1 source when buy inexpensive and amazing stuff online.