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3 Tips to Save Shipping Costs When Buying From Taobao

Updated on July 30, 2019

Your 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.

Understanding the shipping fee

There are two types of shipping fees:

Domestic shipping

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.

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!

Three Tips to save the shipping cost

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

Tip 1: 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.

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!

Tip 2: 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.

Tip 3: 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.

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15 thoughts on “3 Tips to Save Shipping Costs When Buying From Taobao”

  1. Do the agents weigh your items heavier than they actually are or use volumetric weight or something. Consistently Superbuy will weight my items heavier than I expect them to be. For example, a hoodie that I just ordered was weighed at a kilo which is obviously not accurate. Can you explain this? Thanks in advance!

  2. Hi Eric, do you know if the shipping charges had increased? Because last week it was still RMB 20/kg. Last night it was RMB 25/kg when i tried to check out. Btw i was trying to ship the products to Malaysia

  3. Hi Eric,

    I do not understand how this work. I actually want to buy some paper product that cost around 10 RMB but the shipping cost is already 500 RMB.

    That is actually not worth at all. Is this how taobao works?

  4. hi eric , i had purchase abt 21 item and most of the item is 3d puzzle n nanoblock (come with packing box as well) and some clothing , is there anyway that i can ask the forwarder to repackage all the item into 1parcel so that i won’t need to pay much of the shipping fee? or what can i do to reduce the shipping f

  5. I bought 3 pillows and they are charging me 9kg of freight but my friend bought the same pillow x 2 unit and hers is only 3kg. Tried to ask them to re weight but they are not entertaining. Any idea how can i get out of this situation? How do i ship by sea?

  6. Hi Eric, I am looking for the stainless steel clothes airer which I can only get from China, the weight is 8.5kg which means the shipping will cost more than the item. As I don’t need the item urgently, is there any possibility to reduce the cost of the international shipping using a slower mode but cheaper??

    Thanks for sharing lots of ideas and info.

  7. Hi Eric,
    Can you explain more on volumetric weight calculation? As far as I know, ZTO/COE takes the greater value of either volumetric weight or actual weight. According to 4PX customer service, they use a 3:1 ratio where if your volumetric weight is more than 3 times of your actual weight, the volumetric weight is taken as shipping weight.
    However, I don’t see the logic behind this rule.
    Example:
    Bob has bought a teddy bear with dimensions 20*20*60
    The volumetric weight is 20*20*60/6000=4kg
    The actual weight is 1kg
    Ratio of volumetric weight against actual weight=4:1
    4:1>3:1
    Therefore, Bob has to pay the volumetric weight of 4kg.

    Robert has bought another teddy bear with dimensions 20*20*60
    The volumetric weight is 20*20*60/6000=4kg
    The actual weight is 2kg
    Ratio of volumetric weight against actual weight=4:2
    4:2=2:1<3:1
    Therefore, Robert has to pay the actual weight of 2kg.

    In both cases they have the same volumetric weight but Robert has a higher actual weight therefore he has to pay less?

  8. Do you know if taobao’s consolidated shipping charges by just normal weight or the higher amount between normal and volumetric weight?? if i’m buying more than a dozen shoes for performance purposes, how do u suggest i do my shipping?

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