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There’s nothing we like better than cheap deals and one of the best places for getting shopping deals is Taobao.
Chinese online shopping giant Taobao is one of the most popular shopping sites with tons of items imaginable. They can range from clothes, accessories — all at insanely low prices, yes, even when there’s no sale.
Taobao has become so popular among Singaporeans who use it to buy everything, that it’s practically become a verb for shop — Let’s Taobao lah!
However, for those who haven’t quite gotten into it due to the language barrier and seemingly complicated interface, don’t worry as Taobao is not that complex once you become familiar with it.
In fact, I’ve never even used Taobao before because of my horrible Chinese language skills. However, when I recently became a homeowner and wanted to find more affordable things for my home (everything is so expensive these days, plus GST will increase from next year!), I decided to give Taobao a try. Besides, after hearing friends buy home furnishings and items, clothes, makeup, accessories and other knick knacks for cheap, I wanted to see what I could get for my home too.
What’s more, with the upcoming Taobao 11.11 Sale, it’s definitely worth getting onboard now to score great deals for all your shopping needs.
Here are 8 shopping tips to guarantee your shopping success and also a user guide to get you started:
Taobao 101: How to get started
If you’re new to Taobao, you need to register for an account first on the app.
The language is all in Chinese but there’s a helpful reference guide on @taobao.singapore Instagram with English to help those of us who don’t read Chinese. Phew!
Here are the steps to sign up and set up your account:
- Step 1: register your mobile number – remember to key in the +65 and your 8 digit number or it wouldn’t work.
- Step 2: You should receive a text message containing the OTP. Once you key it in, it’ll take you to the homepage.
- Step 3: On the homepage, click the gear icon at the top right to go to your account settings.
- Step 4: Set up password – click the 3rd option (账户与安全) to go to account and security.
- Step 5: Click the 4th option (设置登录密码) to set a password for your account.
- Step 6: Back to account settings, click the first option (我的收货地址) and subsequently, the orange bar (添加我的收货地址) to input your delivery address.
Now that you’re all set, here are some tips for you to get the most out of your Taobao experience this 11.11 sale and beyond!
Tip 1: Quicker search by image or audio
For those who know what they want to buy already, save time by using image search to pull up what’s on offer on Taobao.
Go to your homepage and click on the camera button on the search bar. From there, you can take a picture of an item you want to buy or upload it from your own gallery.
The search function is pretty impressive. Once I uploaded a picture of some old teacups I unearthed from my grandparents’ house, the app immediately pulled up a bunch of similar looking vintage teacups and tea sets.
All I needed to do was scroll and look for what I wanted and add to cart.
Check out Taobao.Singapore’s Instagram post for more tips on how to use the image search.
You can also use the Audio function to assist with search. Tap the search bar, you’ll see some suggested searches, as well as a mic icon below. Tap the mic icon and say clearly the item you want.
The search results will be based on what you mentioned and will find the closest matches to that. I initially had my reservations on whether a Chinese app would be able to pick up my English but I tried two searches and surprise, they worked!
Tip 2: How to ensure seller’s credibility
As with all online transactions, there’s a risk buying from someone you don’t know.
To check the seller’s credibility, refer to the indicator where it shows how many people purchased the items and look at the product reviews from others (use Google Translate if needed!).
Tip 3: Enjoy ¥299 Free Sea Shipping
Taobao’s ¥299 Free Sea Shipping Zone allows users to shop from millions of products and enjoy FREE cross border sea shipping from China to Singapore. No need for complicated consolidation or forwarder service anymore!
To enjoy free sea shipping, all you have to do is shop within this ¥299 Free Sea Shipping Zone and spend a minimum of ¥299, excluding any discounts added.
However, if you applied a promo code to your cart, your final amount should be a minimum of ¥299 to enjoy the free sea shipping.
To enjoy this promotion, switch your Taobao app location to Singapore and checkout with a Singapore address to enjoy this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Check out this handy post on Taobao’s Instagram for more info.
Tip 4: Consolidate your parcels easily
Direct delivery: Taobao’s Official Direct Delivery Service (官方直邮) allows you to know the price of the cross border shipping fee when you place your order.
You can pay for your products and shipping fee together at checkout, and your entire order will be shipped directly to you in Singapore.
There is no need to consolidate different parcels at the warehouse and pay a second time.
If you ship via this method, you can also enjoy discounts on your shipping fee at your check out page.
Be sure to always check the shipping options before checking out to ensure the right shipping method is chosen. You’ll have to make sure to select Direct Delivery and choose between sea or air shipping.
Tip 5: Look for credit card promos
For greater savings on your purchases, check for any Singapore credit card promos.
There are daily credit card promotions up to SGD10. These will vary based on the banks‘ promotion during campaign periods.
Tip 6: Look for cross store discounts
You can save even more with cross store discounts. When you’re shopping, you may come across some cross store discounts from Taobao and TMALL.
What’s great about TMALL is that it is a curated marketplace for brand owners or authorised distributors — they are proper businesses and not individual sellers or entities who just open an online store on Taobao.
In some cases, the sellers might be both on TMALL as well as the main Taobao platform itself.
Tip 7: Get local returns if you’re not satisfied
If you’re not 100% happy with your purchase, you can actually return it locally via the app.
Tap the button to request for a return and arrange for pick up at home at your preferred time slot.
This is only applicable to products with the “本地退” tag though. Refer to https://taobao.ec/localreturnsSG for more info.
Tip 8 : Follow Taobao’s social media for more tips
Check out Taobao’s social media accounts for more guides and recommendations. Yes they’re in English!
- Instagram: https://taobao.ec/SGTaobaoIG
- Facebook: https://taobao.ec/SGTaobaoFB
- Telegram: https://taobao.ec/SGTaobaoTG
DON’T MISS OUT ON TAOBAO’S 11.11 DEALS!
Set these dates and times in your calendar so you know when to check out your cart
*Remember to switch your Taobao app location to Singapore and checkout with your Singapore address to enjoy the above promotions.
Taobao seemed pretty intimidating to me at first especially with the language barrier. But after having tried it for the first time with these helpful tips, it’s not too difficult to buy things. You just need to know what you want to get and get started. Otherwise, there’s always the option of asking a friend who’s fluent in Mandarin to help!