Taobao 101 Guide

You might find this useful if you don’t understand Mandarin and find it a struggle to buy or search for things on taobao.

Many people asked, taobao’s things really so cheap meh? Quality sure very bad one la. But honestly, whatever that you get here mostly also made in China la. And yes, taobao things are relatively cheaper sometimes 3x cheaper, sometimes up to 10x cheaper. Like how you’re shopping in a mall suddenly you saw this thing, and you’re like “WTH? are you serious? This one only selling RM0.50 in China and you sell RM10?”

What Taobao Offers?

When people asked me what to buy on Taobao and I’m like, are you kidding with me? I buy like everything on taobao even garbage bags because all these are way over priced in our own country.

This was few years back when China Press interviewed me and I started to Taobao around 13 years ago

Name it and taobao will have it. Most of the time I buy household stuffs from taobao, things like my son’s toy rack, his bed frame, some of his cheapskate toys that I let him destroy, kitchen’s water filter, manual clothes hanger for my backyard, custom made cushion covers, custom made curtains and a lot more other stuffs.

Recently I started buying even some food items from taobao. And the question is, safe or not? You think the mushroom you eat, the Hai Di Lao you ate not from China meh? I buy directly from the supplier which means my savings is a lot more. So I bought from Hai Di Lao soups packs and some famous ‘frozen’ dried vege chips.

My son’s bedframe
My son’s toy rack that I seaship back from China
Stuffs that I bought for winter
Manual clothes hanger for the backyard

However, I don’t really buy clothes from taobao because I find that the clothes are not that cheap and the quality a bit bad if the price is cheap except for clothes like cheong sam. But, there’s still some nice and cheap clothes that I manage to find but just need to search really hard. And I do buy winter clothes and jacket when I need to travel.

Besides, I do buy things like earrings because they’re dirt cheap like RM1.50 – 3.00 and they’re really nice like the korean ones selling at RM10-20 here. And I also buy boots when I travel because you can hardly find any nice and cheap ones in Malaysia. The boots only costed me RM50 and the quality, comfort is not too bad.

The gown that I wore for my wedding dinner
The gown that I wore for the morning wedding session
The jimui’s dresses
Wedding decorations

And if you’re getting married, you can find tons of things including decorations, nice ang pau packets, wedding stickers and everything here. Did I mention that I actually bought all my wedding gowns from taobao? Pretty risky, but yea I did that to save money back then.

How to Search for Things in Taobao?

Well, it’s actually quiet difficult to find the items you want if you don’t understand Mandarin. Usually my friends would ask me to translate for them and I will send them the link. Or else you will have to use Google translate because their site are not available in English. Or else, you can try sites like Ezbuy. Some people said the site is still ok, but I tried the last round and my stuffs took forever to arrive.

First, of course you will have to key in what you’re looking for in the search bar. Sometimes, translation from English is not that accurate and you need to get your Cina friend to help you a bit with the keywords.

Then after the results are generated, you will have to sort according to “sales ranking”. This would actually show you the items that are being sold the most.

After that, you just click into the link of the item that you’re looking for. And the most important thing is that you will have the read the review of the items. You will find a lot of fake reviews which is normal. Then if you wish to see the item’s photo, you click here and you can see the photos posted by the buyers.

Adding to Cart

Choose your item size and colour if applicable and click add to cart on that Red Button. You will find all your items in the cart.

Click the cart to see all the items that you’ve added into the cart. You will see the list as below.

Should I buy directly from taobao or agent?

There’s a few choice actually:

  1. Buy directly from taobao website and ship using taobao’s official logistic partners
  2. Buy directly from taobao website and ship to agent’s warehouse for shipping
  3. Use a ‘purchase’ agent and use back the same agent for shipping

The most feasible option is option 2. But 12 years back when I started to taobao their main target market was only within the country and I was using agent since then.

I usually use forwarder to help me bring back the items. And I get questions like why not use taobao consolidate?

  1. Taobao consolidate don’t allow me to ship some of the items back. Especially sensitive goods like toys that comes with battery, liquid, food, magnetic items, stationary, cosmetics and wooden items.
  2. The forwarded will provide me the weight and volumetric size on each of the item so I don’t get a shock when I send the items all for packing.
  3. Forwarder will reply me within a hour if there’s any issue. My experience with taobao consolidate is that they took so long to reply to me.
  4. Forwarder gets the item ship out way faster and even seaship can arrive in Malaysia in less than 8-15days.
  5. Forwarder will assist me if there’s any issue with custom here in Malaysia but taobao consolidate wouldn’t bother but just ask you to wait.
  6. Forwarder’s charges are way cheaper than taobao consolidate. And if I need to repack again after they’ve packed, I can put in the request and they will just charge me a small fee. Forwarder will take photos of my packages and upload in the system for my reference.
  7. Forwarder are better in shipping big and fragile items as they can help us to enforce the package with wooden crate with a fee especially when you order furniture and big electronic items.

In all, I still prefer to use forwarder because they’re much more efficient and I receive my things super fast.

Who’s My Forwarder?

I’ve been taobao-ing for nearly 13 years and I’ve used numerous forwarders, there’s of course good and bad and recently this is the one I’m using and they’re one of the best in Malaysia. Why?

Myeasy 86

  1. Just message them on Facebook and they reply me almost immediately every time. But when it’s peak, expect reply to be much slower
  2. They’re very efficient. Once my items arrived, on the same day, they will weigh and I will be able to see my items in their warehouse with weight.
  3. Their seaship is extremely cheap only RM40+ for 10kg for small seaship and there’s by cubic metre as well.
  4. They’re so fast that I don’t even bother using air shipping anymore. Unbelievable that from consolidate packing until the ship start (Every Friday and Sunday) and arrive at doorstep only takes 10-15 days.
  5. Other agents I used took very long for custom clearance but surprisingly, theirs is way much faster.
  6. They use their own fleet of drivers to send your item. No more scolding Poslaju, Skynet for holding up your items.

Shipping Fees

Please take note that small seaship starts from 10KG and don’t go buy 1 item then submit the order. It’s called consolidated shipping for a reason, unless you’re buying a large item that is enough for the weight/volumetric.

“Small” seaship

Once your order reaches a certain weight or volumetric, then you can opt for large seaship which is relatively cheaper than small seaship. You will know when your comes in and you can add them up by cubic meter.

How to Use Forwarder for My Stuffs?

Key in your forwarder’s address in your taobao

Of course you must have an account in taobao first in order to do that.

After you register, go to here to add the forwarder’s address:

Here’s where you can fill in the address of the forwarder

Now, you will have to go into Myeasy86 website and look for their address to fill in. Make sure you’ve registered before hand.

Click here to get their warehouse address
You can find their warehouse address here and you can even copy using that icon. Please note that I’ve erased my membership number and make sure you do include that EY/xxxxx

Go back to taobao site and fill in the address

Here’s how the address will look after you fill-in. But make sure your membership number is inside because they will use this to sort the packages. I’ve erased mine but you should see yours in the address above.

After this step, you can go back to your cart and start to check out 🙂

Click to access your cart

Check the items that you like to purchase and there’s also a box for vouchers ie. buy above 68 and get 5 off, buy 100 to get 10 off. Remember to click on them if you’ve purchase the amount entitled to vouchers.

Vouchers you can collect to deduct on your purchase if you meet the minimum amount

Scroll down and click check out on the red button 结算 and you will reach this page which you’re supposed to choose the address. Make sure you pick the right address.

Next, scroll down and submit your order

You will reach the next page request for payment. You can select credit card (3% charges) and online banking (1.5%).

After that you can go into my purchase and see that all your items are listed as paid and waiting for shipping.

Next, wait for your order status to update and change as ship in order to get the tracking number to key into myeasy86 system.

Next, install a Google Chrome Extension call – myeasy 86

This thing makes your life super easy. Then just go back to taobao’s website under your order and you will see this – 提交包裹 (red icon)

And you should click every single 提交包裹 (red icon) first to add into myeasy’s system. And when you’re done, click on the top’s 提交运单

And once you click on the red icon to submit your order, the extension will lead you to myeasy’s page and you will see all your items listed automatically in their website. Then you just need to click submit.

Click Confirm

After that you can check your list of Product Order that you’ve keyed in by selecting view product order.

On this page, you can even see the status of the order. And once arrive, just wait for at least half a day or so you can see the weight of the parcel. This is very important because this would determine if I would choose air or sea shipping.

And when all your items arrive, tick your orders on the most left and scroll down then you will see submit delivery order.

Make sure that you double confirm and you’ve selected all your orders in the list.

FYI: if you buy something big or there’s free gifts, please message the merchant and make sure that they ship everything in one parcel. Or your parcel will be left behind.

After that, select your existing address or key in a new address and choose the method of shipping. But don’t need to worry about seashiping if you’ve chosen Ocean Parcel freight and the size exceed this will auto change to Ocean Freight.

After they pack (around 1 working day), you will see your package photo and also the total weight and the cost. And you will receive an email notification as well.

And you will have to pay up the shipping fee via Billplz e-payment gateway

For Billplz, you have to go through MyEasy86 site and pay through the gateway.

Do select, pay directly to the shipping fee of the parcel when you submit the payment. Once the payment go through via Billplz, the forwarder can arrange for shipping immediately. But do note that for seaship, they need at least 4 days for the parcel to be arrange into the container and for the container to go to the port and be on the ship ready for shipping. The ship will depart every Friday and Sunday.

Then you can check your order status via My Account – Delivery Order

Click on Delivery
Click on order tracking but this is in mandarin only

And the best part is you can see that your parcels are packed properly

And that’s all about how to Taobao and using shipping from agent.

So what’s left now is too shop. And don’t forget to use shop back too 🙂 Happy spending.

What I don’t Recommend?

Ezbuy. This is the worst agent/forwarder I’ve used so far. And my previous ship-for-me agent namely ESES, who left my things behind 3 times and made me pay very expensive shipping fee.

They hike up the price on their site and it’s way expensive than the actual site. The customer service from Ezbuy takes forever to reply to you and your problem won’t get solve in like months. And when I paid for my items, they took forever to place the order in taobao and after the sale period is over, I’m forced to pay the original price. Their delivery team is slow as well because they can’t handle the amount of goods to deliver. If you think I’m lying, just google Ezbuy and click on review.

Why is there even people still using them?

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