Qanvast Guide: Hacks To Shopping In Taobao
Now, as you eagerly anticipate moving into your house, the next hurdle will be to design and decorate a home that suits your needs. The challenging part comes later - fitting your ideal homes into shoestring budgets. Affordability in home furnishing has thus become a key concern amongst many homeowners.
It comes as little surprise then, for Taobao’s surge in popularity amongst many worldwide. A survey revealed that 26% of new homeowners in Singapore purchased their furniture from Taobao! To understand this phenomenon better, we speak to Ezbuy, a Taobao agent and share all you need to know about buying furniture on Taobao.
Taobao is one of China’s largest e-commerce platforms with millions of products listed under one roof. We lost count of the diverse styles this platform carries, ranging from mid-century, Scandinavian, modern, contemporary, industrial chic, retro, vintage and even perhaps some ‘undefined’ style as well. With this range, it is likely that you will find something to suit your taste!
The competitive prices available on Taobao give it an edge over its rivals. Hefty prices are kept to a minimal as many of the products sold on Taobao are directly from manufacturers, eliminating unnecessary middleman costs.
(Image credit: Space Define Interior)
Here’s a guide to acquire some know-how when buying from Taobao.
1. Reputation rating of the seller
Every seller on Taobao has a rating, which is based on buyer’s feedback and the number of transactions made on Taobao. These ratings consist of four levels – Heart, Diamond, Blue Crown and Gold Crown (from low to high – Gold Crown being the most reliable). It is advisable to find sellers with at least one Diamond when making any purchase.
2. Feedback and reviews of the furniture
Feedback and reviews are a great way to evaluate whether the sellers are trustworthy and reliable. Spot the negative comments to see what common problems past buyers have encountered.
(Tips: Some comments come with pictures that will allow you to get a better idea of how the furniture fits into their new homes.)
3. Inaccurate orders
Occasionally, sellers may make the mistake of sending the wrong product, or products in the wrong design or colour. Do take note that there are no warranties for any products. Hence, it’s up to you to sort it out if there are any disputes with the order.
A common mistake that first-time Taobao buyers make is that the failure to factor in shipping costs, which are excluded from the product cost. The shipping fee is based on actual weight versus the volumetric weight whichever is higher.
There are instances where the shipping fee is higher than a low-cost product due to the volumetric weight of a bulky item (for example, a sofa). But, the overall cost would still be relatively cheaper than purchasing from local stores. Buyers should seek for the right forwarder/agent who offers the lowest per cubic meter rate.
(Image credit: Aart Boxx Interior)
Damaged items do occur, and are mostly caused by improper packaging by the sellers. Here are some packaging tips to help you manage your shipping. Inform your seller during your purchase to:
• Use wooden boxes for shipping heavier or fragile items
• Refrain from using damaged boxes or containers
• Use cushioning materials such as bubble wrap to prevent loose or fragile contents from being damaged
Hopefully, you are now more well prepared before riding on the Taobao wave. Stay safe!
This article is done in collaboration with Ezbuy, a Taobao agent that ships directly to China, Taiwan and US. It is one-stop concierge service which covers everything from pre-sale to after sales, from purchase to inspection, saving you the hassle to track orders from various merchants.