Believe me, I tried both methods! This post is my honest opinion on which method appeals to me more in terms of ease, accessibility, reliability and overall satisfaction.
I’m sure you have heard of TAOBAO!
Taobao is a Chinese eCommerce website equivalent of Amazon.com and eBay.com where you can buy almost anything!
I had ALWAYS wanted to try shopping at Taobao, but the thought of paying agent fees was quite off-putting. I knew its existence but wasn’t on the ‘shopping sprees’ bandwagon years ago either. Granted, I didn’t want to pay an extra sum when I can get it cheaper! That was my mentality about a year ago, and I was actually pretty pleased when I found out that Taobao SEA decided to extend direct shipping to overseas and I could save on agent fees.
So I bravely decided to try my hands at buying some items from Taobao in March 2014. I have to admit, my Chinese is not really that good! Google Translate was my best friend; I literally had to translate everything I wanted to buy! Haha.
In order to buy from Taobao, I had to sign up for new Taobao account, and Alipay account, which by themselves are already confusing to do so
Then I found out that I had a ton of softwares and plugins to download and install – such as Aliwangwang, Alipay etc.. Those were quite confusing as I didn’t know why I needed them (cuz everything is in Chinese…), but then I realised that Aliwangwang is the Chinese messenger, and Alipay is their Paypal. And there’s this Aliedit plugin, which till now I still don’t know what it is for, but Safari will ask me to approve it whenever I’m on Taobao.
If you ask me, I would prefer not to add so many weird stuff to the com… but, I was quite determined to buy Taobao SEA direct, so I did everything.
After registering was done, I started shopping! I used Aliwangwang to talk to the sellers as I was getting a few items from the same shop and wanted to ask if there was a combined shipping instead of paying for shipping one by one. Everything had to be in Mandarin. The interesting thing is, mandarin spoken by China-Chinese is different from that of a Singaporean-Chinese. It sure took a bit of deciphering, but that part is still fine.
Getting the Shipping Fee and Forwarding Service Right
This step made me so anxious cuz I was afraid that they would either overcharge me, or send my items to the wrong place. And I needed friends to help me point out exactly what to do, after I sent a ‘Need help on Taobao!’ message on Facebook.
I added some items into my cart, but then realised that I had to input my Singapore address, and select the option to choose to send my items to their warehouse and then use their forwarding service to send it to my Singapore address. Before I did that, shipping fee came up to SGD30 for a pair of shoes for the seller to ship directly to Singapore!! After I figured out how to do it, I had to choose my preferred forwarding service, which all of them have different rates/kg to forward the parcel to Singapore and based in different cities. I went with what people mostly used: 4PX forwarding service.
After shopping was done, came another hurdle… Payment
This step really stumped me for a few days.
There were three options – 1) Use prepaid cash in the Alipay account. 2) Use DBS credit card to pay. 3) Malaysia E-payment for Malaysia users.
I could choose to use DBS cards to pay, but that would incur a 3% fee, and again, I did not want to pay extra. I also didn’t feel safe inputing my card details on Taobao. I chose to try the first option, which is to prepay to my Alipay account at an AXS machine. That option incurs no extra fee and I felt was safer.
Then, there is a reference number on the AXS machine receipt, which I have to enter into Taobao when making payment. There was a lot of self-figuring out what to do next because instructions were in Chinese and not exactly easy to understand.
When all the items have arrived in the warehouse, I submitted them all to be repacked and shipped over to my Singapore address! Finally, finally, finally.
Basically, a lot of time was spent trying to figure out HOW TO BUY
I read a couple of guides on Taobao SEA Direct forwarding before I decided to try it myself, and I’m not saying that it’s not possible to do it. I’m saying that if your Chinese is good, and you don’t mind managing the entire process by yourself, this method is for you!
But there is a reason why I only shopped on Taobao once using direct forwarding, because firstly, to me it is too damn difficult and tedious… even though I had it figured out alr, there are simply too many steps for me to want to shop direct again. Secondly, I had to read and understand pages and pages of Chinese text. And lastly, even though I got my items, I didn’t quite enjoy the whole process…
Why not just focus on SHOPPING?!
So previously, I mentioned that I was against the idea of paying for an agent to handle my purchases on Taobao. But, trying to figure out how to work that mega website sure took all the fun of online shopping away!
I thought I would never shop at Taobao again after that first time because it was quite a nightmare, but then I was introduced to 65DAIGOU.COM.
Shopping on Taobao using 65DAIGOU was so easy that I felt so silly racking my brains trying to do everything by myself! Firstly, all I had to do was to sign up for an account at 65DAIGOU (I didn’t even need a Taobao account, which means no installations of any softwares/plugins).
1) Convenient Copy-and-Paste of URL
65Daigou has this amazing bar at the top of the webpage. All I need to do is to copy and paste the URL of the page of the item I want to buy into the bar and click EZ-BUY.
Once the URL is entered, the product page exactly the same as the Taobao will appear on 65daigou’s webpage. They have upgraded their system whereby you don’t have to type in anything. Just select the options accordingly and click ‘Add to Cart’!
The options are also translated into English, so even if you can’t read Chinese, you are still able to buy things from Taobao using Google translate and 65DAIGOU!
! Tip for selecting warehouse: Choose a warehouse nearer to the majority of your sellers so you can save on domestic shipping!
2) See all your orders in the 65Daigou Shopping Cart
Perks of using 65Daigou’s shopping cart:
No matter how many shops/sellers you buy from on Taobao, you only need to liaise with one 65Daigou to deal with all your orders.
65Daigou’s shopping cart instantly converts yuan to SGD, so you don’t have to manually calculate, as opposed to Taobao SEA Direct.
3) Make Pre-Payment to 65Daigou
When using Taobao Direct, you need to pay the individual sellers on your own. Which means, if you buy 10 items from 10 different sellers, you need to make payment 10 times!! But with 65Daigou, all you need is to pay ONCE – when you’re happy with your shopping cart.
Besides, making prepayment to 65Daigou is very easy and can be done on the spot. With options such as Internet Banking, ATM transfer, Credit Card, and even Paypal, making payment is a breeze as we are all familiar with these methods. (Definitely way better than when I had to figure out how to buy Alipay credits at the AXS machine…)
4) Get updates on your purchases
Check in on your purchases to see their whereabouts by clicking on ‘My Orders’.
Introducing… the 65Daigou mobile app!!
AMAZING CUSTOMER SERVICE
I love this app SOO MUCH. I can check in on my purchases any time and it has everything I need. So far, using 65Daigou to shop on Taobao is really worry-free for me! In fact, there was an issue where one of the sellers sent my purchase to the wrong address! Imagine if it was just ME & Taobao, how am I going to contact the seller on my own to get him to refund me? Is it even possible?
By the way, 65Daigou didn’t manage to contact the seller, yet they still refunded me my money. Incredible! T.T
Was pretty amazed at their excellent customer service! Without any intervention on my part, my lost parcel was refunded to my Prepay account, and I was able to submit a new order. :)
For another item that I bought, I was also promptly notified that it was out of stock, so I was able to submit a new order. :)
Reflections on Taobao SEA Direct vs 65Daigou.com
Between the two, I have to say honestly that I really enjoyed shopping on Taobao using 65Daigou. Previously on Taobao SEA Direct, I was literally sitting in front of the com and frowning. But I’m glad that I was determined enough to see it through, so that I could share my experience with you guys now. Now that I have discovered that using 65Daigou is so easy, I will definitely shop on Taobao again! :)
How much more did I pay?
Just to be sure that I’m not over-paying by a lot, I also checked out how much shipping fee and agent fee I actually have to pay using Taobao SEA Direct.
- Taobao SEA Direct 4PX service: First 1kg￥43.0/kg，Subsequent 500g￥12.0/500g
- 65Daigou Economy Air: Every 500g $3/500g
After calculating how much I would have to pay for shipping if I used Taobao Direct using the weight provided, the amount came up to SGD34.30. SGD1.08 cheaper than 65Daigou in terms of forwarding to Singapore. Granted, the items that I bought were bulky and heavy – mostly shoes! – so shipping will definitely be more expensive. But if you’re buying just a few light items, or if you’re in a rush to get it shipped over, the flat rate of $3/500g will work in your favour!
Not to mention, there is also the super affordable sea shipment option which is as low as $1.70/500g!
So in total, using 65Daigou costs me SGD10.57 more (including agent fee), which is still money, if you see it that way. I’m definitely looking forward to earning some credits in their credit points rewards system so I can offset the agent fee! Although I have to fork out SGD10.57 more, the impeccable customer service really won me over. Hands down.
A little more for a piece of mind, minus all the fumbling about on the site, setting up Alipay (something which I may never use again), all the liaising with sellers, or worse, trying to get your money back if your package got lost! For me, I think it’s worth it.
What do you think? Are you willing to pay the agent fees?
Now I am just waiting for a last item to arrive at the Shanghai warehouse, then I can submit all to be shipped to Singapore! I can’t wait for my purchases to arrive! :D Will definitely show you guys my Taobao haul in a future post! Stay tuned!
Sign up for an account at www.65Daigou.com and start shopping on Taobao now!
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(Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by 65Daigou, but opinions are strictly my own.)
(Update: Their economy shipping is even cheaper now at $2.50/500g. But one word of advice is don’t go for their Express shipping, because you will not get your products within 1-2 days as they still have to pass through checks. It will take 3-4 or even 5 days (if it hits the weekend) to get your hands on your purchase. With that, I think it’s better to just stick to Economy shipping…)