Three Ways to Buy China Products Online

When it comes to low prices, China products are hard-to-beat.I get a lot of enquiries from online shoppers wanting to find out the best way to buy China products online.They understand the benefits of buying products directly from China sellers, but have no idea how to begin.

In this post, I will look at three ways to buy stuff from china online,In my opinion, they are not all perfect.They all have their pros and cons. Let’s take a quick, snapshot overview of these three options in ascending order:

Taobao agent

In general, there are three methods of direct purchasing. The first method is to buy through a Taobao agent. This can save you time and money. You can either log on to an agent’s website, or get someone to help buy it for you. Just let them know what you want to buy, pay a service charge, and then sit back and wait for your parcel to arrive at your doorstep. Let the agent do the tedious work for you, from selecting the right item to shipping it overseas to you.

Using a Taobao agent is the most effortless and time-saving way. However, it has a lower customizability and carries a certain risks. For example, some unscrupulous agents may stealthily substitute one thing for another or endlessly postpone the delivery date when the item price isn’t good.

Do it yourself

The second method requires the user to manually perform every step. Since our main intention is to buy our favorite item at a lowest possible cost, this is indeed the most suitable method for all.

The only drawback of DIY is that it is relatively complicated. As a newbie, you’ll need to: be able to read and understand the Chinese web pages with the aid of Google, have a visa card, know how to choose a forwarder, be able to communicate with the customer service using translator tools, etc. Meanwhile, unexpected circumstances may occur during the shopping process, e.g. out-of-stocks, goods being held in the warehouse, parcels being held at the customs, etc.

Cross-border E-commerce

Another method of direct purchasing is through the various cross-border e-commerce websites, such as Aliexpress, etc. These websites provide customer services in English and their product details are written in English too. So, communication isn’t an issue at all. However, the item price can be a little higher compared with those of Chinese e-commerce websites.

Conclusion

As a conclusion, each of the three methods has its own pros and cons. Buying through an agent is the most convenient way, whereby all you need to do is tell them what you want, and pay them the service charge accordingly. Using a cross-border e-commerce provides you the ease of communicating in English. Some service providers even have their own warehouses, and thus it can be cost-effective in terms of communication and turnaround time. However, there is a potential risk of getting counterfeit goods. DIY can assure you the lowest cost of all, but communication can be inconvenient as everything has to be done in the Chinese language.

Make comparisons before opting for a choice. Take into consideration the various factors such as delivery options, products, location, buying habits, etc. Choose the method that is right for you, so that you can get the most out of it.

How to Contact Taobao Customer Service

Due to languarge barrier,you can easily run into some trouble about your orders, shipping, returns, money .etc when you buy directly from taobao.Contacting taobao customer service department is the best way to solve your problem,but it is not an easy thing.In fact, it can be difficult to even locate contact information for the taobao anywhere on website.

To assist you, here are several ways you can get in touch with taobao customer service when you have a problem with taobao.

#1. how to contact taobao

I only found their phone and emal contact info,they do provided a link to their livechat,but it is robot that only answers in Chinese,so it is useless for you.

1.1. Taobao phone support number:

Hong Kong

  • phone number: (852)30183610
  • working time: Monday-Sunday,9:00-18:00

Taiwan

  • phone number: (886)277054306
  • working time: Monday-Sunday,9:00-18:00

Singapore

  • phone number: (65)31633159
  • working time:Monday-Sunday,9:00-18:00

Malaysia

  • phone number: (60)392125564
  • working time:Monday-Sunday,9:00-18:00

Australia

  • phone number: (61)383738606
  • working time:Monday-Sunday,7:00-18:00

Other areas

  • phone number: (852)30183610
  • working time: Monday-Sunday,9:00-18:00

Note #1: When you are from”Other areas”,before making the calling,please notice that it is not a toll free,it is a HongKong phone number,so the rate will not be cheap.

Note #2: Taobao sometimes change the phone number,you can check the orginal page here to make sure the contact number is not outdated.

1.2. Taobao Email address for English support

Taobao listed an Email address on their website for English support,it is [email protected],they said email will be replied within 24 hours.you can try it if it is not a urgent question.

1.3. Contact Taobao via social media

Their Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/sea.taobao/ or https://www.facebook.com/taobao.global/

On Instagram, they’re — https://www.instagram.com/taobao.official/

#2. how to contact alipay

when you have problems with your money,payments,refund,bank account,then you need to contact alipay to solve it.

2.1. Alipay phone support number:

Taobao and alipay share the same phone number,so you can call taobao support phone number,after getting through,choose service language and Press “1 “to talk with Alipay support.

2.2 Alipay livechat support:

1.click this link to go to livechat page

2.Copy&paste Chinese keywords”人工客服”in the Dialog and click the grey “发送” button to send this query to their system.”人工客服” means live human support,so this step is to tell alipay you need to chat with a real person.

3.then you will see a blue button with text”连接在线客服”,click it,and will connect you with a Alipay customer support member. Hopefully, your issue will be resolved quickly and easily.

#3. how to contact your forwarder warehouse

Warehouse plays a key role during the whole taobao shopping process,your orders will be shipped from seller to warehouse,then from warehouse to your address.If you are a newbie,you most likely will run into some problems related with it.So It is important you know how to contact the guys there.

3.1. contact your warehouse via “Cross-border logistics management(跨境物流管理)” page.

1. Log into your taobao account,Click [跨境物流管理(cross-border logistics management)] in the upper right corner of Taobao homepage or click here.

2. On the [待集运订单(To be shipped)] tab,you need to select your forwarder(by default,it is 官方配送服务), you can click [集运操作咨询(Consolidation Consultation)] or [问题咨询(Problem Consultation)] to contact forwarder Customer Service.

3.On the [物流订单(Logistics Order)] tab, click on the blue icon to consult with the forwarder Customer Service.

3.2. contact your forwarder via livechat

Click the following forwarder link to have a livechat with them,if you are not sure which forwarder you are using,check it from this page.

United States

Canada

Australia

New Zealand

Japan

Singapore

Malaysia

Hong Kong

Macau

Taiwan

#4. how to contact your seller

In order to contact the seller,you need to download a software called aliwangwang(阿里旺旺),it is the official chat app.they have windows,Mac,ios and Android version,you can download it here.

4.1. contact seller on the product page

After logging in to Ali Wangwang, go to product page,click the blue icon on the right corner of the page.

4.2. contact seller from [已买到的宝贝(purchased)]

If you have placed an order, go to the on the [已买到的宝贝(purchased)] page you can find the seller aliwangwang right next to the order number.

Note: AliWangwang is the official chat software on Taobao. if there is a dispute in the transaction, you can provide a screenshot of your chat history as a valid proof.Dont add seller’s wechat id if you dont know him.

China Post Air Parcel Review

China Post Air ParcelChina Post Air Parcel is a parcel service offered by China Post. A parcel can be delivered through the following 3 transport means:

a. China Post AIR: A parcel is delivered totally by air and will usually take 10-15 working days to reach the destination country.

b. China Post SAL (Surface Air Lifted): When flight is available, a parcel will be transported by air. When there is no flight available, land and sea transport will be used. It takes 15-20 working days to reach the destination.

c. China Post SURFACE: A parcel is delivered only via land and sea transport. It takes a longer time to reach, i.e. 1 to 2 months, but the shipping fee is lower.

Postage Rate

China Post Air Parcel is relatively cheaper as it is not calculated on size or weight.

Fee Calculation

The calculation of shipping fee for air parcel is similar to that of EMS, i.e. based on every 500 g.

Parcel Requirements

Weight: Greater than 2 kg and less than 30 kg (for certain countries the maximum weight is 20 kg).

b. Maximum size:

1. Each side ≤ 1.5 m, Length + the greatest cross-sectional circumference ≤ 3 m (maximum weight is 30 kg)

2. Each side ≤ 1.05 m, Length + the greatest cross-sectional circumference ≤ 2 m (maximum weight is 20 kg)

Disadvantages

When using an Air Parcel service, one may find it hard to track the parcel status on the China Post’s website. This will affect the timeliness and accuracy of the tracking.

Conclusion

Air parcel is suitable for big size, light weight items. For time-sensitive and valuable items, it would be good to opt for some other delivery means.

Taobao Australia

Country Forwarder Local Courier First kg(RMB) Next 0.5kg(RMB) Size Limit Weight Limit
Australia 秀驿物流/中通 Toll 85 26 Single Side: ≤150cm
Total: ≤220cm
30kg
4PX Toll 85 28 Single Side: ≤105cm
Total: ≤185cm
20kg
佳成JCEX Jiacheng International Toll 75 20 Single Side: ≤80cm
Total: ≤150cm
80kg
Sources: Taobao.com ,Data is current as of May 11, 2016.

Tips to Save Shipping Costs When Buying From China Taobao

Save Shipping Costs China TaobaoYour shipping expense is an essential part of the total cost when buying from China online. Thus, it is important for you to know how the fees are charged and how to save the shipping cost.

There are two types of shipping fees:

1. Domestic shipping in China: This is the shipping cost from the seller to the forwarder’s warehouse.

Most of the sellers are offering free shipping on a certain order value,Therefore, it would be more cost-effective if you can exceed the minimum order value, or else you will have to pay for the shipping fee.

2. International shipping: The fee charged for shipping the items from the forwarder to your house.

The international shipping fee is not decided by Taobao, but by the forwarder. When your purchased goods have reached the forwarder, they will pack them up and send it to you. While the box by itself has a weight, you’ll have to pay for it! For example, if your purchased items weigh 0.9 kg, and the box weighs 0.2 kg, they’ll add up to a total of 1.1 kg and you’ll have to pay for 1.5 kg! Why? Because that’s how they calculate – the decimals will always round up rather than down!

Now let’s see how to save the shipping cost! This would require some small tricks.

Firstly, it is recommended that you ship your items in mixed parcel! What’s that? It means mix up everything while you pack! Try not to have all clothes or all shoes in the same parcel. Of all items, baby products such as baby bottles, cups, bowls and spoons, are least likely to be taxed. Other items such as clothes, shoes, watches, cosmetics and electronics are more likely to be taxed! Therefore, it is advised that you mix the items into different parcels to reduce the cost by eliminating the possibility to be taxed! If you have too few items to mix, it is advised that you limit the weight of cosmetic items within 1-3 kg, and clothes within 5 kg! This could reduce the chance of being taxed!

Secondly, you can save more by having the total weight of your parcel exceeding 1kg! Why? Let’s take the US as an example: The first kg would cost you $15 while each subsequent 0.5kg is $4. So, for a parcel of 1.5 kg, it would be 15 + 4, equivalent to $12.67 per kg. On the other hand, for a 6 kg parcel it would be 15 + 4*10. That’s equivalent to $9.16 per kg and that’s more cost-effective!

So, when you have several parcels and want to save the shipping cost, the best way would be to consolidate the items. For instance, if you have a parcel of 1.1 kg and another of 0.3 kg, it would cost you a shipping fee of 1.5 kg + 0.5 kg = 2kg. But if you choose to consolidate, the forwarder will split the items and repackage them into one parcel. Then, you’ll only have to pay for 1.5kg.

Don’t forget DIM weight. Please remember that the forwarder charge by the weight of your parcel or the size of your parcel, whichever is greater. If possible, it’s not suggested to purchase bulky items like pillows and chairs as they tend to be expensive to ship based on their large size.

Top 10 Sites like Taobao in English

For the majority of us non-Asian shoppers, online Chinese retail websites boggle our brains and squash our joy of shopping. That popping clear photo of the cute floral dress makes you drool with desire, right? But those indecipherable Chinese characters can drive you back to good old familiar Amazon. Google Translate reveals a more inviting site, but the gerryrigged translations, particularly in the terms and conditions, might turn you off Chinese shopping for good!

The good news is that there’s a swathe of foresighted Chinese companies that have created English-language shopping websites.  Our favorites are AliExpress, Light in the Box, DealeXtreme, Mini in the Box, Banggood and Focal Price. Since each site is different and features its own specialty, it’s worth taking a look at each one.

1. AliExpress

AliExpressAliExpress (www.aliexpress.com) is a warehouse store. Its customers are primarily suppliers and importers looking to buy big lots of Chinese goods to sell under their own retail banner. AliExpress is really just a portal connecting buyers and sellers with each other. If you’re running your own small import business, or shopping for party favors for a crowd, AliExpress could be your one-stop destination. It features an easily-searchable database. AliExpress also offers tip-top payment processing logistics. So if minimum order quantities don’t bother you, do check it out. Minimums may even drop over time as AliExpress expands its activities to include sales to everyday retail addicts like us.

2. Light in the Box

LightintheBoxLight in the Box (www.lightinthebox.com) can feed anyone’s fashion, gadget and lifestyle products addiction. With half-a-million top-class items in its catalog, it boasts a huge selection of eye-catching finds. Any bride-to-be will delight in its gorgeous display of wedding gowns, attendants’ fashion, shoes, hairpieces and all the other trappings you crave for that special day! All you bargain-hunters will be delighted to know that there are loads of coupons available that slash Light in the Box’s already low prices to unbelievable lows. Customer reviews are unanimously positive, reflecting Light in the Box’s commitment to quality, selection, efficient delivery and impeccable customer service.

3. DealeXtreme

DealeXtremeDealeXtreme (www.dx.com) is an amazing wonder-world of electronic gadgets and accessories. Tech-savvy guys and girls can browse and buy to their heart’s content. You can even hang out in a lively DealeXtreme forum. Community is a big deal here, especially in the club that discusses the best in entertainment, automotive and hardware-store deals and discounts. But DealeXtreme is not just about electronics. Looking for a chic purse to match those turquoise wireless headphones? Then don’t forget to check out DealeXtreme’s catalog of the latest styles in men’s, women’s and kids’ fashion. Penny-pinchers will love this company for its worldwide free shipping policy.

4. Mini in the Box

miniintheboxMini in the Box (www.miniinthebox.com) is a close relative of Light in the Box, with a focus on electronic accessories, jewelry and watches. Its selection of all the bells and whistles you’ll ever need for Apple products is massive, with over 42,000 iPhone cases, iWatchbands, iPad stylus pens, chargers and lots more. Samsung gets its due too with a selection of 29,000 accessories. If you love everything that glitters, you’ll be wowed by all the watches, gems and precious metal fashion accessories presented in sparkling photos. And more than 4 million Facebook followers of Mini in the Box can’t be wrong!

5. Banggood

banggood-espanaBanggood (www.banggood.com) is looking for price-conscious shoppers, as its motto implies: “Best Bang for Your Buck”. Deep discounting, special deals and coupons abound on this shopping website with a focus on electronics, hobbies and (adults’ and children’s) toys. Two mini-sites of the main English-language portal serve exclusively US and European customers in their local currency. A relatively small shopping site with just over 100,000 products in its international English store, Banggood is the place to go if you’re looking for rock-bottom prices but aren’t adamant about having only big-time designer names in your shopping cart.

6. Focal Price

focalpriceFocal Price (www.focalprice.com) boasts electronic gadgets, small appliances, car accessories, cameras, computers, jewelry and sports equipment on its chock-a-block homepage. Get your specs on! To help you keep track of what’s trending, a homepage tab displays products newly arrived in the past 15 days. With a catalogue of around 50,000 products, Focal Price offers a smaller selection than some of its competitors, but its super-low prices easily make up for its smaller scale. However, you may want to weigh up potential savings within your customer service considerations: reviews of Focal Price indicate recurring dissatisfaction with delivery logistics and sketchy customer service.

Alipay Account Verification for Foreign Users

alipay

Verifying your account helps for a few reasons.

  • You can receive money from other alipay users.
  • You can open a store on taobao.com as a foreigner.
  • Verifying adds a layer of security to your account.

Once you’ve officially been verified by the system, your account will display a blue check mark to show you’ve verified your account.

Things you need to prepare for verification.

1. A copy of your passport.(biographical page+stamped page)

2. Bank card issued by banks located in China Mainland.

(Note: You can not use bank cards issued by Chinese banks located in your country to verify your alipay account.)

The process for verifying Alipay account

1. Log in to your www.alipay.com account, click “Manage Account” – “Account Setting” – “Basic Information” – “Verify Now”.

2. Click “Verify Now(立即认证)”.

3. Fill in your personal information as required .

护照 means passport

4. Upload your passport scan

5. Submitted successfully, Verification will be completed in 24 hours.

6. Once the verification is approved, you will then have a verified real-name account.