What is your experience with Taobao, the Chinese version of Ebay?




来源:无极4 http://www.abaripsen.com/46143.html    译者:Jessica.Wu


Ayu Razumova, Taobao VIP Level 4 Member. Taobao-ing on daily basis.

As a foreigner living in China, I can proudly say that 90% of the things I own today were bought right off Taobao. I created my account back in 2013 when I just came here, with the help of Google Translate. I started buying small items that were mostly cheap office supplies and had it delivered to the office for my own convenience (so that the delivery man will not call me for being unable to find my address as I can’t speak Chinese at all back then!). A month later, we moved in to a new apartment where I wanted to decorate it so bad, so I went back to use my Taobao.


I decided to download the app to my phone and then my Taobao adventure begun. I bought fabrics, clothes, shoes, toys, homewares, home appliances, cookwares even IKEA stuff from Taobao seller (there is IKEA in Shenzhen but I really hate going there…). It took me few weeks to figure out how Taobao search algorithm works, as inputting a translated English word on search, never really gives me a good search result. I also learned to use filter, price range, comparison, etc without even knowing a word in Chinese. In the end of my 1st year in China, I literally bought everything, except fresh groceries, straight from Taobao. I even found several trusted sellers that opens purchasing service for cosmetics and luxury items from overseas.


My rule of thumb in shopping on Taobao:


ŸAlways check the seller’s level (there is hearts, diamond & crown to mark the seller’s reliability, also how long is the store have been operating, etc)


ŸAlways check the reviews section of the product you want to buy


ŸTry to compare the price of a product, with different store (this is quite tricky as it requires you to know some basic Chinese characters)


For me, my Taobao experience have been surprisingly good. The platform gives Chinese people to sell goods in between themselves, faster and efficiently than brick & mortar. Yes, there were shoes that didn’t fits well and I had to send it back, there were some defective items that I need to ask for a refund or exchange, but these are all part of the online shopping experience!


I mean, seriously, now getting a Russian kolbasa (sausage) that my husband been wanting and a whole box of Indonesian Indomie noodles that I love, is just a Taobao away!


Taobao makes my life as a foreigner, so much more easier in China and once you are able to use it successfully, it becomes so addictive that I have a bank card dedicated just for Taobao (as my husband is getting concerned on my spending habit) and even become the middleman for my foreigner friends who wants to order stuff from Taobao but didn’t know how :)

淘宝让我一个外国人在中国的生活更方便,一旦你学会使用,你就会上瘾。我有一张专门绑定淘宝账户的银行卡(我丈夫越来越担心我的消费习惯)。我甚至帮我的外国朋友从淘宝订购东西,因为 他们不知道怎么用。


Yiran Z, Experienced money spender.

This will be a long answer.


First off, as others have pointed out, Taobao isn’t the ‘Chinese version of Ebay’, not exactly. Taobao has practically become an omniscient entity in China, and people have even come to use its name as a verb—我打算买个X. 我回家淘宝一下. I plan to buy X. I’m just going to Taobao it when I get home.


Taobao also provides a huge variety of services—you can buy movie tickets, order takeout, bid in an auction, top up your phone, book hotels and flights, etc.

Utterly insane.


Right, my thoughts. I’ve been using Taobao for years and my mother has been using it since the early 2000s. A woman in possession of the true pioneering spirit, that one.


I’ve found Taobao to be both reliable and convenient. Extremely convenient, to be perfectly honest. I shall elaborate.


1stAuthenticity of products (in the case of brand names). The elephant in the room, eh? After all, China is the motherland of counterfeits and fake products. It’s a huge problem and I will not deny that. The truth is that all sorts of vendors exist on Taobao. For some products, especially popular household brands, you’re indeed knee deep in very murky waters. Say you want to buy a Mac lipstick of a particular shade. You search for it on Taobao and about 13948914 results come up (I made that number up). Some sell for 50RMB and others 130RMB. Some have garish thumbnails and some display photos taken in MAC shops, showcasing the lipsticks and swatches. Now which do you buy? This is where one needs to exercise careful judgment and draw on accumulated wisdom. You check the seller’s credentials, their ratings, customer reviews, product description and the pictures attached. You do all that and then make the decision. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Put plainly, if you jump into Taobao and purchase from the cheapest seller with terrible ratings and dodgy shopfront, you’ll get cheated and it’s only to be expected, really. Don’t buy that 50RMB MAC lipstick. It’s a bloody crayon.

  1. 产品的真实性(品牌)。房间里的大象(明明存在的问题却被人刻意回避),嗯?毕竟,中国是假冒伪劣产品的发源地。这是个大问题,我不会否认。事实上,淘宝上存在着各种各样的卖家。对于一些产品,尤其是流行的家庭品牌,水确实很深。比如说,你想买一种特定颜色的Mac口红。你在淘宝上搜索,会出现大约13948914个结果(这个数字是我编的)。有的卖50元,有的卖130元。有些人的缩略图很花哨,有些人展示在苹果专卖店里拍的照片,展示唇膏和色板。那你该买哪个?这需要仔细判断和发挥才智。你要查看卖家的资质、评级,客户评论,产品描述和图片。之后再做决定。记住,一分钱一分货。简单地说,如果你从价格最便宜评级又差的卖家那里买东西,你会被骗的,这是意料之中的。不要买那50元的MAC口红,这是一支血色的蜡笔。

2ndTmall for your trust issues. Tmall is an extension of Taobao, it’s better regulated and all the registered vendors are companies, instead of individuals. Many companies have ‘flagship stores’ there, and you can safely place your trust in them. For these companies, their Tmall pages serve as an online outlet, more or less.

  1. 天猫为您解决信任问题。天猫是淘宝的延伸,监管更严格,所有的注册供应商都是公司,而不是个人。很多公司都有“旗舰店”,你可以放心地信任他们。对于这些公司来说,他们的天猫页面或多或少充当了在线渠道的角色。

3rdIf you don’t care about the brand. Then Taobao is heaven. Need to pick up some hair bands? Hundreds of shops sell them for near to nothing. Good quality as well. I bought about a lifetime’s supply for 15RMB, shipping included!

  1. 如果你不关心品牌,那淘宝就是购物天堂。需要挑选一些发带吗?数百家店铺几乎都以及低的价格在卖,质量也很好。我花了15元买了几乎够用一辈子的发带,还包邮!

4thCustomer service. You can chat with the seller real-time. None of that leave-a-message-and-I’ll-get-back-to-you-in-3-years nonsense. You can talk to a real person in real time, asking any and all questions and even haggle. A typical conversation that I have with shop owners goes like this—Me: I’m gonna buy this and this, I live in X city. Care to waive the shipping? I’m an old-time customer. Them: Sure. You go place the order and I’ll take the shipping off for you. Just like that. Additionally, Taobao has third-party customer service that will intervene if the seller refuses reasonable requests, such as returning damaged items. You also get your requests processed more quickly, the better credits you have. The refund/return process is amazing on Taobao.

  1. 客户服务。你可以和卖家实时聊天。不是那种三年内才会回复的留言。你可以和一个真实的人实时交谈,问任何问题,甚至讨价还价。我和店主的典型对话是这样的:我要买这些,我住在X城市,可以包邮吗?我是个老顾客。他们会回复:你去下订单把,我帮你免邮。此外,淘宝还有第三方客户服务,如果卖家拒绝合理的要求,比如退回损坏的物品,他们会进行干预。你的信用就越好,你的请求处理得越快。淘宝的退款/退货流程非常棒。

5thShipping. Shipping is cheap and fast (this is more because of the courier companies but I digress). I often get my package the next day. And the sellers wrap the items so well that I need about 12 sharp tools to open them. Sellers really care that their products arrive in mint condition.

  1. 发货。发货便宜又快速。我经常在第二天就能收到我的包裹。卖家把商品包装得很好,我需要锋利的工具才能打开。卖家真的很关心他们的产品是否完好无损。

If I were to sum up Taobao in one word, I would say that it’s very human. And just as humans are, you get the crooks and the kind-hearted, with the vast majority being good people who just want to make a few bucks.



Carol Hilton, Sourcing, purchasing and shipping agent in China

I’ve shopping on Taobao since it’s launched in 2003 and I know its history very clearly. Frankly speaking Taobao is way too better than Ebay now if you take a look at both of their websites, Taobao is far more user friendly than Ebay and Amazon.


Now the chinese are get used to online shopping daily on Taobao and JD, I nearly shopping online every week for household staff like clothes, foods, electronics etc. Nearly everything you can imagine is available online.


Now let’s come to your concern, is Taobao reliable? I know you are concern about the security and product quality. No one internet companies can guarante 100% safe even Google and Apple has lots of holes on Android and iOS system, but Taobao is safe to shopping (it has 450 millions people and 30 million orders everyday, Alipay offer compensation guarantee if you money hacked on their website, another way you can ask taobao agent shopping for you which has lot security issue on yourself). The second concern is the quality, based on my experience shopping on Taobao, I buy small things like clothes, socks, fruits and many other things with law value on Taobao, the phones, computers, TV and notebook I bought from JD or Tmall, JD(similar to amazon) offers very fast delivery service in China and I do not have to worry about the quality cause they are all from the brands factory.


Usually foreigners have lots of difficult when start shopping on Taobao because they have no idea about Taobao, I highly suggest you take a look at The best Taobao forwarder shipping agent for foreigners which offers Taobao tips and tutorials to help foreigner shopping on Taobao.



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