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Taobao (TB) is the Amazon and Etsy of China. It’s a massive marketplace of stuff, and sometimes it’s the same products that popular RL sellers are selling. Operative word here is sometimes. As with WeChat/Yupoo sellers, there is a lot of bait and switch (B&S) on TB.
Shopping on TB can be less expensive than going through a traditional rep seller, but there is a big learning curve. You will have to work for it. If you just want an easy, “I know I want this [insert name of a very specific high quality item here], and I just want to pay for it then have it shipped to me,” TB may not be for you and you’ll be better off buying from a regular seller. However, if you like online browsing and hunting for good deals, after you get the hang of it, TB is a rabbit hole of addiction, and in no time, you’ll be posting for help on how to manage your impulse buying.
Where to Start
- Use Google Chrome and install the Google Translate extension.
- Go to Taobao.com and click the button to translate.
- Register for an account. You will need to in order to browse listings. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll also be able to save favorites for future shopping. However, buying directly from TB is Next Level and you are not there yet.
- Understand the difference between buying direct, or TB Direct vs. using an agent. Most people go through an agent for greater convenience and additional buyer protections.
What to Buy
Do your own image search on TB to find what you’re looking for.
Which Taobao Agent Should I Use?
Once you’ve amassed your “haul,” it’s time to choose an agent. Superbuy is the most well known and, by far, the most popular. That being said, it’s recommend that new TB shoppers use a smaller agent with better customer service (e.g. Basetao). This way, when you get stuck, you can email someone and have a better chance getting a helpful, hand-holding response. You might have questions about what colors are available, sizing, etc. Ask your agent to ask the seller. You are paying them to make things easier for you, so get your money’s worth.
If you’re looking for an agent, you can refer to the sellers and agents list. Each member has their own preferred agent. You may have to try a few before finding one you like. In so long as you stick with one of those options, you should be fine. You take a risk dealing with other unknown agents, and like other rep sellers, there are many scammers out there looking to take advantage and steal your money, so be careful.
TB agents can be reached through private message and/or live chat through their websites, by email, and, for some, by WeChat. If you get confused along the way with order processing, payment, or shipping, contact your agent. This cannot be stressed enough. You’re going to pay anywhere from 6-10% in added service fees on top of the item purchase price and shipping cost, this is what that fee is for.
Where Can I Get More Help?
Again, this is a very basic starter guide for TB. There are many guides to help you get comfortable with shopping on TB. Refer to the below for more ordering how-tos, shipping and customs best practices, various other TB agent services like warehouse storage and parcel forwarding, store/seller ratings explanations, and additional invaluable tips to help you score everything on your wishlist.
Taobao Agent Services
- RL Common Issues and Suggestions for TB Agents
- Basetao - How to Order
- Basetao - Payment with Credit Cards or PayPal
- Superbuy - Beginner’s Guide
- Superbuy - Expert Service and Buying Branded Items
- Note - Contains affiliate links benefiting
- Superbuy - Parcel Forwarding
- How to Buy from TB - A Step-by-Step Guide
- Comprehensive TB Direct Guide
- How to Ship From TB
- FashionReps Abbreviated TB Direct Guide
- How to Use AliWangWang to Chat with TB Sellers
Searching on Taobao
- Chinese Search Terms
- Chinese Search Terms (Part 2)
- How to Find Good TB Sellers - Ratings Guide
- How to Search Using an Image Visual Tutorial
- How to Search Using an Image
- How to Search Using Your Wishlist
- FashionReps Comprehensive TB Search Guide
- FashionReps Abbreviated TB Search Guide
- How to Resurrect Dead TB Links
Shopping on Taobao
Additional Taobao Resources
- TB Frequently Asked Questions
- TB Mobile to Desktop Link Converter
- QC Suite - deprecated because the database is offline
- FR: Reborn 1:1 Replacement for QC Suite by u/RobotOilInc. It’s still tampermonkey and requires some fiddling around.
- FashionReps TB/AE Beginner’s Guides Link Compilation
- RL Shipping Wiki
- TB Agents Services Comparison Chart