The Quickest & Easiest Ways To Find Products on Taobao.com

In my last post, I showed you all how you can buy directly from taobao.com. I received tons of positive feedback and great questions from that article, and I can’t explain how much I appreciate it – thank you all!

but I failed to explain product search well enough in my last post,which I know is one of the most important part!

In this article,I am going to share with you some practical ways and tips of search on taobao.com.I use some of the search tips myself as Chinese.

1. Image search on www.taobao.com

this is the most common method and has been mentioned a lot on reddit and some other forums.

1.1 change region on taobao

most of the time,when you try to taobao.com,you will be redirected to world.taobao.com.but the image search feature is not enabled on world.taobao.com.so the first thing you need to do is change from your region to 中国大陆.see screenshot below.

1.2 upload the image

this step is pretty easy and straightforward,just click that little camera icon at the end of the search bar to upload the image.There are something you need to take note of.

  • the image format must be .jpg or png.
  • image size should be larger than 201*201
  • image file size should be less than or equal to 5M

1.3 taobao image search results

Taobao will find and display listings that are same or similar to the image(with price tagged!).Clicking on any product image will direct you to the specific product page.Don’t forget to change your location back to your country if you want to use taobao official forwarding service.

1.4 select an object or area on the image

this is a more advanced feature for image with multiple objects.

for example,in step 3,the search results showed the skirt this girl wears,but what if your intention is to search the boots,well,this feature enable you to select and search the exact object or area of the image.

Click “框选主体”,in the popup,move that rectangle to select the boots,then click “确定(means confirm)” to search again(see screenshot below).now you can see all boots that is similar to the one in the image.

2.Image search on www.pailitao.com

Actually pailitao is the official name of taobao image search engine,It is embeded in www.taobao.com and taobao mobile app,It also has an independent website which is www.pailitao.com.

using image search on pailitao.com works the same way as in taobao.com.so I am not going to talk too much here.

3.Image search using pailitao chrome plugin

This is my favoriate one and I personally use it myself.this plugin will make your prodcut search so much easier,with this plugin installed,you can search almost any image you found on the web without going to taobao.com

here are steps:

3.1 install plugin

first, click here to go to google webstore to install this plugin.after successfully installed,you shall see a pink camera icon near the search bar(see screenshot below).

3.2 select “用拍立淘找同款宝贝”

Now you need to right-hand click the image you found on the web and select “用拍立淘找同款宝贝”

sometimes,you can not find the option “用拍立淘找同款宝贝”,that means this image is encrypted by this website.

for example,if you right click on the image that is in the aliexpress product image gallery,you won’t see the option.in this situation,you can:

  • take a screenshot of this image,and upload it to taobao image search.
  • click on the image that is in the product details,you will see this option

3.3 search results

Now you will see the same or similar prodcut currently listed on taobao.com

4. Taobao Image search on your mobile devices

Taobao also brings the image search feature to mobile phones and tablets. with taobao app installed,you can upload a picture you received from WhatsApp or Facebook that you’d like to search or you can use taobao camera search  capture the product photo then search.

4.1 download and install taobao app

please note that you should download taobao app which is made for domestic users.Taobao global app is another application for international users without the image search feature.

here is the official link to download taobao app or search “手机淘宝” in your app store.

4.2 active the “Camera” icon on the top of the app

4.3 press “Camera” icon capture the product

then press the pink “Camera” icon at the bottom of your app to capture the product.

or if you want to choose an image from the photo gallery of your phone,click the “相册” icon which is on the left of this pink camera icon.

4.4 search results

Now taobao will show all the products on taobao.com that have similar images

5. English Keywords search on English Taobao

Image search is qucik and easy,but it is not good fit for certain products.then you will need the keywords search.

en.world.taobao.com is the English version of world.taobao.com.even through it is  machine translated,it is more stable and accurate than google translage.

5.1 input English keywords in the search bar

5.2 taobao will show the most relevant results.

don’t forget to use the categories option on the left side of the page to refine the search results.

There you have it, folks. You have now learned useful tips to search on taobao for your products—and I hope with these tips, Taobao shopping “somewhat” will be easier and simpler for you!

Additional Questions?

Please leave a comment below or let me know any questions you have.I’d love to hear what you think!

WARNING! G20 Summit May Affect Your Taobao Shopping

G20 Summit will be held on September 4 and 5 in Hangzhou,Zhejiang.The local government has taken a series of measures to provide a safer environment for this summit,

one of the measures is stricter parcel inspection,which means many many parcels will be detained or held.

here are two things I recommend you not do from Aug. 22 to Sep. 7

1.Don’t buy from sellers that are located in Hangzhou.

2.Don’t use forwarders whose warehouse are located in Hangzhou.

JCEX told me they will severely examine every parcel.if you buy replicas,liquid stuff etc,they will hold it.

Here is the Taobao official announcement in Chinese:

https://world.taobao.com/helper/knowledge.htm?spm=a312a.7762693.2015080302.5.BE7gEF&kid=13467943 

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.

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.

Top 5 Chinese Online Store besides Taobao

Have you never stepped outside the world of Taobao.com for your Chinese shopping? If not, you may find yourself stuck in a rut of sales-driven discounting, fuzzy photos of products you’d never want or need and, well, just too much stuff. Why not explore more specialized e-commerce experiences that offer higher quality, cooler technology, unique products and “designer shop” dazzle!

T-Mall, JD, Suning, Yihoudian and VIP Shop are all worth checking out, and each one will impress you with its own individual character. Tip: opening their websites in Chrome. Google Translate will help you maneuver within largely Chinese-language sites.

T-Mall – 天猫

9875e0c67ebfdc31755d7d7d8a54fef5T-Mall (www.tmall.com) delivers a glorious shopping experience grounded in the quality of its vendors. Leave behind the irritating cartoonish diamonds and crowns rating system of Taobao: on T-Mall, you know every vendor is trustworthy. T-Mall has vetted sellers’ histories and reviews, allowing only selected retailers to ply their wares. Sellers are required to document the authenticity of their products. Watch for the little blue ribbons vouching for each officially certified product. Virtually every type of product available at Taobao.com is also sold at T-Mall. Big difference is, T-Mall’s products are all cream-of-the-crop quality.

JD – 京东商城

40e850768e177ee1bbcb808268b0744bJD (www.jd.com) likewise stands for reliability and authenticity. It is T-Mall’s major competitor and one of the largest online retailers in China. Originally focusing on electronics, computers and phones, it now also offers fashion, household goods, toys, even travel packages, lottery tickets and crowdfunding opportunities. You could help get new Asian musicians careers off the ground or fund robotic breakthroughs! Overseas shoppers, be aware that you’ll likely be auto-directed to the English portal en.jd.com. While you’ll find a layout that’s calm, cool, collected and appealing to a refined taste, what you won’t find is the diversity of products available at the Chinese site.

Suning – 苏宁易购

1cab56e97089813051a6f86952e87890Suning is a household name in Asia thanks to its collection of 1600 bricks-and-mortar electronics and appliance stores spread across China, Hong Kong and Japan. www.suning.com presents an e-shopping experience that will surprise and delight. Specialized “Quality House” national and regional stores featuring products from Japan, Europe, Hong Kong and Taiwan are Suning’s hidden jewels. What a pleasure to dig up low-priced Weleda cosmetic products from Germany’s leading natural-ingredient manufacturer. Or maybe you’re in pursuit of fish oil tablets from Australian nutritional supplement company Blackmore? Like T-Mall, Suning is a partner of Alibaba so you’ll be sure to enjoy a smooth online experience.

Yihoudian – 一号店

u=1433363128,1902550471&fm=21&gp=0Yihoudian (www.yhd.com) was originally one of China’s pioneering online grocery stores. It’s made headlines amongst tech-loving consumers with its giant-poster campaign in public spaces where mobile phone users scan product codes within an image of an attractive, well-stocked store shelf. Then they shoot their order over to Yihoudian and the goods are delivered within hours to their home! Nowadays Yihoudian is owned by Walmart. Its product selection has expanded accordingly to include apparel, home improvement gizmos, gift cards and toys. Delivery service is limited to metro areas of China, so if you reside overseas, an agent is a “must”. Your choice of products may also be limited.

VIP Shop – 唯品会

0e0318b011006c6d18f7c2ec080f1e20VIP Shop (www.vipshop.com) will strike you as a pretty eclectic shopping site. Cosmetics, nutritional supplements and products for mothers/children are the big attractions here. But men will also find popular fashion brands like Vans, Adidas, Camel and Hilfiger as well as fragrances and loads of designer shoes. An intriguing element of the VIP Shop’s product mix is Asian financial products and investment opportunities. Non-Chinese readers may be less than satisfied with the minimal English translations on the site, but if you’re up for some adventurous shopping in new territory, this is the place to come.

Taobao Singles Day Festival

taobao-singles-day-festivalThe “Double Eleven” Online Shopping Carnival was originated from a promotional activity held by Taobao Mall (Tmall.com) on November 11, 2009. Although at that time the number of participating retailers and promotional efforts were limited, the sales value was unexpectedly good that November 11 has then become a fixed date for Tmall’s grand sale events. In recent years, Double Eleven has become an important annual event in China’s e-commerce industry, and it is gradually affecting the entire e-commerce industry in the world.

On the Double Eleven, most of the items will be on sale for fifty percent off. To the online shoppers, this is definitely a great temptation. According to a survey conducted, 47% of the shoppers were attracted by the special discounts and offers, while those who has also shopped by need has accounted for 35%. This clearly shows that most of the shoppers have indeed spent rationally in this event. Only 7% of the respondents have shopped on a whim.

Among the customer groups, majority were from the age range of 25 to 30, which accounted for 36% of the respondents. In this age group, majority of them are fresh graduates and white collars who have been working for only several years. Owing to the high living standards, their lives have been tough. Therefore, when there is such a huge reduction in price, they will grab the opportunity to replenish their household supplies in one go, from electrical appliances to clothes. This could really save their day-to-day expenses. So in order to reduce their expenses to the greatest extent possible, they would buy as many things as possible. As a result, doubtlessly, the sales value on the Double Eleven could be so huge and has hit 19.1 billion yuan. Also accounted for a large portion was the age group of 18 to 24, which comprises mostly of college students. With limited pocket money in hand, their spending behaviors are similar to those of white collars. In order to save their daily expenses, they have actively joined the carnival.

On November 11, 2014, Double 11 reported a sales value of 57.1 billion yuan.

On November 11, 2015, Double 11 reported a sales value of 91.217 billion yuan.

A total of 217 countries and areas have participated in this carnival.

People from all around the world, from the northernmost Archipelago to the uttermost south of Chile, from Republic of Seychelles the archipelago in the Indian Ocean that has a population of only 100 thousand to Barbados the famous tourist destination in the eastern Caribbean, have participated in this online shopping carnival.

Buy Direct from China Online: A Step by Step Guide

Buy Direct from China Online

Owing to the weak RMB as well as the inflation, many consumers choose to shop directly from China. Why? Not only because it is more cost-effective, but there are also more choices to choose from. However, due to the differences in user habits and languages used, direct purchasing has become not-so-smooth. So, how do we learn up the process quickly? Just remember to follow these steps to keep your direct China shopping a pleasant experience.

In general, direct purchasing is a DIY kind of self-service shopping, without relying on an agent. Its overall process is: Registering at the forwarder’s website and obtaining its Chinese address -> shop at the Chinese e-commerce website -> the forwarder will receive the goods at its address in China and then ship it to your country -> customs clearance and to you via courier. As such, you’ll get to enjoy a lower cost and the advantage of shopping in the “Manufacturing Capital.” In fact, many taobao agents are using this method to run their businesses.

Five steps:

1. Register for a forwarder account

(Note: In Chinese, the word forwarder/transshipment 转运 also carries another meaning, i.e. to change your fortune. I think this is why they wrote it with the quotation marks – to suggest that you can register for a forwarder account in order to change your fortune.)

Most of the Chinese online stores do not support direct shipping to overseas. Even if they do support, the shipping fee will be high. The forwarder companies can solve this problem by providing you with a unique Chinese shipping address, receiving the goods on your behalf in China, and then ship it to your address, charging you a certain amount of service charges. There are a great lot of items available on Taobao and it is currently the main direct purchasing platform in China. Most of the forwarder companies provide Taobao forwarding services. Their charges may vary and their clearance time may differ, but their functions are almost the same. After registering on a forwarder’s website, the consumer may find his Chinese shipping address in the homepage. Each forwarder’s website works similarly.

2. Start shopping

Before shopping, get your credit card ready (Master, Visa, JCB, etc.) Many of the Chinese merchants, such as the famous Taobao and Tmall, accept international credit cards. However, there are also some merchants who do not accept international credit cards. For such cases, we’ll have to buy through an agent. The shopping method is quite similar to those of B2C, with only slight differences in the payment steps. Basically, the process would be: Register – login – add items to the shopping cart – checkout – fill out the shipping address (i.e. the Chinese address provided by the forwarder) – fill out the payment method – confirm order – receive a confirmation email. Usually the payment is made via a credit card, whereby you’ll just need to fill out your card number, name, valid thru date and the CVV code.

Tip: Some websites will pre-authorize $1 to verify that your card is legitimate. Don’t worry, as the 1 dollar will not be shown on your bill.

Taobao is China’s largest online shopping mall with a wide range of products, which are normally sold at favorable prices. Moreover, there is no limitation whatsoever to foreign users, making it your first choice for direct purchasing. Since Taobao is a Chinese website, it is recommended that you start your direct purchasing journey on Taobao with help from friends who are good in Chinese, or by means of some translation tools.

3. Dispatching and transshipment

Several days after making a payment, you can check from the forwarder’s website whether the goods have arrived at the shipping address/warehouse. If you are worried or if there’s a delay, you may check the tracking number from the order details and get updates from the courier’s website (e.g. UPS etc.) Jot down the waybill number and verify with the forwarder if necessary.

Each forwarder will have a slightly different operating procedure, but nothing more than transferring a sufficient amount to the forwarder’s account for shipping fee, filling out your address, confirming forwarder’s storage invoice, verifying weight (shipping fees are usually based on weight), submitting application for transshipment, calculating the cost, etc. After that, you may just sit back and wait for the goods to be delivered to your address. In most cases, there will be a tracking page where you can check the real-time status of the consignment and the delivery time.

Tip: Certain forwarder services are prepaid. You may reload a little more than needed to avoid any delay due to insufficient balance. Each forwarder has detailed instructions for the whole process, you don’t need not worry about this. After doing it once, you’ll get to know how it works.

4. Custom clearance and receiving

Products purchased need to be custom cleared before they can be shipped locally. If any customs duty needs to be paid, it might cause a delay in delivery time. However, even when a customs duty is charged, the product price will still be lower than if you buy it locally. If customs duty is charged, the forwarder will contact you via phone or email. After reloading, the forwarder will settle the payment for you. Forfeitures are very unlikely to happen.

Most of the forwarders are using EMS as their courier service, while some others are using UPS, DHL, etc. You can check the waybill number from the forwarder’s website and track the real-time status of your parcel from the courier’s website. Once the status can be seen using the tracking number, it’ll only take another 2-3 days for the goods to be delivered to you.

5. Conclusion

Although it can be very tempting to shop from China, not all items are suitable for “direct purchasing.” For instance, the shipping cost of certain heavy items may offset the price difference. For such items, it’s not worthwhile for direct purchasing. In addition, you should avoid purchasing items that are prohibited from shipment, such as perfumes, aerosols and other pressurized cans. Lastly, be patient when doing a direct purchase. The entire shipping process will usually take up to 2 weeks or 20 working days, which is very normal. If you have any enquiries, please contact the forwarder or the merchant. Other than that, if there is any defect in the item purchased, you will definitely have to face the inconveniences of returning the product.