Taobao & Tmall
The interest and and enthusiastic in Taobao and Tmall has always been high among folks. Most can spend hours and days searching for the ideal item to purchase.
Then again, some pre-requisite are required before one can venture further. Able to read Chinese, is half the job then. The rest, there is always Google Translate.
Just to pen down some thoughts and journey went thru. Searching for the dream item is not the hard part. There some many items to of various design, pattern and colours to choose from. Choosing to buy from who is the tricky part. First there is Taobao and Tmall. So what is the difference? From what I understand, Tmall are more of a premium sellers. Chances of getting fake stuffs from there are lesser the sellers are more reputable, quality assurance is there as well. Then again, this does not means Taobao has no good stuffs or mainly fakes. Practice some due diligence, if an offer looks too good to be true, then mostly it is.
For me I will look for those with 1) sales transaction 2) comments 3) higher diamonds seller. Read thru the comments, make sure the comments are coming from different names and also are frequents buyers and not some bogus buyers. Takes a little time but normally shall pay off well.
Next, the interesting part, all vendors has a MSN like chat 阿里旺旺, if you are able to type Chinese, download it. You can chat directly with the seller, asking questions of your concern and clarify some doubts such as colour & dimensions (esp for wood grain furniture). And seriously, you can bargain a little as well if you are buying a few items or more, or request free delivery to an address in China. With chatting, the seller can "custom" a link for you to meet your requirement be it the pricing or dimensions. Troublesome you may say but to me, it is part of the fun of online shopping.
I always chat when buying big ticket items and kinda get a little discount here and there. I was looking for some rain shower head, found this vendor, chat with him and found out that he is selling bidet spray as well but not listed on his site. So he sent me some pics, ask him about the material so end up buying 2 shower head and 2 bidet from him. He gave me a discount and I got some savings. Now he is offering me with more of his products for my consideration, send me mails with pics of some faucets and taps, will seriously consider if the price is right. Actually there is a small hiccup when buying from him, we both calculated the wrong amount to pay, I paid RMB60 more and the same evening, he refunded me straight away.
If you ask me, do I trust them? Yes and no. Yes because the Chinese are slowly moving into the phase understanding the importance of customer service, word of mouth. Passed were the days where they do guerrilla warfare, whack & run. No due to the lack of monitoring in QC and sometimes one may get a lemon item once in a blue moon. Still it wont deters me from continuing to buy from there for some items are pretty enticing. Like a study table, local prices are like $500 up to $1k or more, carpentry is like $120 per foot run, while in TB/Tmall, you can get easily for approx. $300. Makes it more appealing if you are buying 2.
Later I will post abit on how and who I used to ship the items.
Shipping By AMCON
I did a little homework, ask around a little, made some calls and decided to use Amcon.
Why I choose them? I called them a couple of times, I even spoke to the lady boss – May.
Communication is there but pretty much on the vague side though. Only thru more conversations I managed to get a better grasp of the complete process.
The process is actually pretty straight forward, especially if you purchase yourself and send to Amcon’s warehouse in China.
Though Amcon provide purchase on behalf option but I believe the charges is RMB50 per order (regardless of quantity) which I totally skipped.
Amcon has 4 warehouses in China. Namely – Guangzhou, Dongguan, shanghai and Zhejiang Yiwu.
So choose one point as your delivery point. I used Guangzhou because it seems most items on Tmall or Taobao are from the Guangdong region.
Next, when you order your items, you have to “mark” your items. By marking means filling in a standard for all delivery address such as following:
广州市越秀区北站南路69号义庆商储仓135 / 112库
联系人：倪先生 / 何小姐
电话/传真：020 - 3637 7718
手机：137 1160 1896
BLOCK 135/112,NO.69 BEI ZHAN NAN RD,YUEXIU,CHINA 转
Ang Mo Kio Ave 6 Blk xxx #xx-xx Singapore xxxxxx (your name) (mobile number)
转 = transfer
This is for Amcon to identify things you have ordered and to consolidate. One shortcoming is that Amcon will not follow up if they received the items .
You have to tracked it yourself from Tmall or Taobao (so far both will indicate item been delivered and signed for), neither nor will Amcon check the items for defects. So practice caution when purchasing fragile items.
Do note that though Peeka offer to check items but limited to certain packaging only. Anything that is wooded crated, they will not check as well.
In my opinion, the risk is still worth taking, especially if you have getting savings from the items purchased after comparing with getting locally.
Pros & Cons
Pros: Reasonable shipping rates, office in Singapore, able to consolidate items, good for bulky items.
Cons: No checking of items, a bit slow cos only sea freight, no informing when received items.
From Guangzhou Warehouse to your Warehouse
A) 1 CBM 550RMB/CBM
B) Documentation Fee SGD35/set
C) 7% GST
Note: I am only still consolidating now, so unable to comment on delivery and items received condition.
The world is ever changing. A slight update on Taobao and Tmall.
Some folks are still a little confuse so I will try to be a little more detail.
Set up an account in Taobao or Tmall, set up in one and you can use the same account in either site.
Go fill up the delivery address in Taobao, as always, all on line shopping needs a shipping address.
Shipping address, please refer to above quoted post. you MUST write in 2 address for Amcon to identify as you item.
Else simply shipping to Amcon China will not indicate who is the buy or what is inside the package.
Next is the payment in TB, I understand when nowadays when you sent up a Taobao account, you will auto get a Alipay account.
Alipay 支付宝 is the payment platform similar as Paypal. If you did not get the account, suggest you to get set up one Alipay account as well.
In Taobao, after placing an order, the site will direct you to payment page. From there choose this ： 海外其它地区版.
From there, you will see Nets payment. Yes, Nets payment. Surcharge is SGD1 per transaction.
And from here, I believe the rest is history.
So there you go, Taobao made easy for all.
I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.