TIPS TO BUYING FURNITURE ONLINE

Navigating the world of online furniture shopping can be a breeze with the right approach. Here are some handy tips to ensure you make the right choices when buying furniture from Taobao:

1. Measure Your Space

Start your online furniture shopping journey by measuring the room where your new pieces will live. Knowing the exact dimensions ensures that the furniture you choose will be a perfect fit, both in size and style.

2. Set a Budget

Decide on your spending limit before diving into the sea of online options. A pre-set budget keeps your shopping focused and financially smart, preventing any impulsive splurges.

3. Read Reviews

Take the time to read what others have to say about your potential new furniture. Customer reviews are invaluable for understanding the real-life quality and functionality of the pieces you’re eyeing.

4. Check Return Policies

Look for Taobao stores that offer flexible return policies. This safety net is crucial in case the furniture doesn’t quite match your expectations or arrives with any imperfections.

5. Choose Durable Materials for Your Furniture

When selecting furniture from Taobao, remember that material matters. It’s not only about the look; it’s about longevity, ease of care, and how it complements your way of living. Opt for materials that suit your daily needs and stand the test of time for a smart, long-lasting purchase. This way, you ensure that each piece is not only stylish but also a practical addition to your home.

6. Do a Simple Price Comparison

Don’t rush to buy from the first Taobao seller you find. A little comparison shopping can go a long way in ensuring you get the best value for your money. Shop around to find the best deal for the furniture you love.

SEARCHING FOR FURNITURE ON TAOBAO

After covering the basics like measuring your space, setting a budget, and reading reviews, let’s delve into some specifics for those considering buying furniture from Taobao.

Worried about not reading Chinese while shopping on Taobao? Fret not. 

A simple solution is using Google Translate on your desktop browser. This gives you a rough translation of the page you’re on. Though it’s not always accurate, it can still be helpful most of the time. For a more in-depth guide, check out our step-by-step How to Shop on Taobao article.

Image Search VS Word Search Function

When scouting for the ideal furniture on Taobao, understanding and utilising its search functionalities can greatly enhance your shopping experience. You have two main tools at your disposal: Image Search and Word Search, each with its unique advantages.

Image Search

If you’ve stumbled upon a furniture design that catches your eye, perhaps in a magazine or on a social media platform, but you’re at a loss for words to describe it, Taobao’s Image Search is your go-to solution. 

Simply upload the image, and let Taobao’s photo-recognition technology work its magic. It scours the platform for similar items, presenting you with options that closely match your visual inspiration. However, keep in mind that the specificity of your item can affect the accuracy. For more unique or less common furniture pieces, the search results might be broader.

Word Search

For those who have a clear idea or specific style in mind, such as a ‘Scandinavian minimalist desk’ or ‘Industrial Chic bookshelf,’ typing into Taobao’s search bar is more effective. This is where your knowledge of specific furniture terms and styles, possibly aided by Google Translate for non-Mandarin speakers, comes into play. 

Using the right keywords, you can navigate Taobao’s extensive catalog more precisely, leading you to exactly what you’re looking for. For instance, using the term ‘简约现代’ for ‘Minimalist’ can lead you to a range of sleek, modern furniture options.

Tip!

Sometimes, the best approach is a combination of both. Start with an image search to get a feel of the styles available, then refine your search with specific keywords. For example, after an image search for a modern couch, use keywords like ‘现代沙发’ (modern sofa) to narrow down your options.

Furniture Keywords
ENGLISHMANDARIN
Minimalist简约现
Scandinavian北欧现代
Modern现代
Contemporary奥美
Industrial Chic工业别致
Japanese Modern日式现代
Vintage后现代
Rattan藤编
Solid Wood实木
Sofa沙发
Closet壁橱
Wardrobe衣柜
Double Bed双人床
Bedroom Dresser卧室梳妆台
Coffee Table咖啡桌/茶几
TV Console电视柜
Bedside Table床头柜
Sideboard餐边柜
Open-arm Chair扶手椅
Extendable伸缩
Chaise Lounge躺椅
Nesting Table嵌套桌子
Glossy Finishing光滑
Drawers抽屉柜
Dining Table餐桌
Dining Chairs餐椅

HOW TO SHIP FURNITURE FROM TAOBAO

Shipping furniture from Taobao

Discovering your ideal furniture on Taobao is just the first step. The next crucial phase is choosing the most suitable shipping method to Singapore.

Understanding Actual Weight VS. Volumetric Weight Shipping

When shipping items from Taobao to Singapore, the cost is typically determined by either the actual or volumetric weight of the item, with the higher value being the basis for the fee calculation. This is a standard practice among many shipping and freight forwarding services.

For smaller parcels, shipping rates are often charged per 0.5kg block. However, when it comes to larger and bulkier items, such as furniture, the calculation often shifts to volumetric weight. This is particularly relevant for items like a dining table, where the physical dimensions can result in a higher volumetric weight compared to the actual weight.

The volumetric weight is calculated using a formula that considers the length, width, and height of the package. Different forwarders might use slightly different divisors in this formula, which can affect the final calculated weight.

METHODS TO SHIP FURNITURE FROM TAOBAO

There are 2 methods of shipping furniture from Taobao — Taobao’s existing forwarders or external freight forwarders.

1. Direct shipping from Taobao

Leveraging Taobao’s integrated shipping services, like Cainiao, can be a straightforward choice for your furniture items. This option simplifies the process, as you can select and pay for shipping directly on Taobao. However, keep in mind the potential challenges such as language barriers and limited options for shipping larger, bulkier furniture items.

2. Ship via an external freight forwarder

Choosing an external freight forwarder, like M&P International Freights, offers more tailored services for your furniture shipping needs. This includes better handling of bulky or heavy furniture, enhanced communication in English, and options for cargo insurance to protect your valuable items during transit.

Still unsure about whether a Taobao forwarder or external freight forwarder is more suitable for you? Get in touch with us today!

PROCESS OF ENGAGING AN EXTERNAL FREIGHT FORWARDER AS A TAOBAO SHIPPING AGENT

When using a third-party shipping agent or freight forwarder for shipping items from Taobao, the process typically begins with creating an account with the forwarder. Upon registration, you’re assigned a unique address in China, which you then add to your Taobao account. 

Setting this Chinese address as your default on Taobao can be advantageous, as it allows you to access a wider range of items that might otherwise be unavailable for direct shipping to Singapore.

Here’s how the process generally unfolds:

Step 1: Shop and checkout on Taobao

With your forwarder’s China address set up in your Taobao account, shop as usual on the platform. During checkout, ensure the shipping address matches the one provided by your freight forwarder of choice. 

Step 2: Track your purchase

Once the seller dispatches your item, you’ll receive information about the courier and a tracking number. Input these details into your freight forwarder’s website or inform them via your agreed upon communication channel. They’ll notify you when your items reach their warehouse.

Step 3: Consolidate your items (Optional)

Before finalising the shipping, you have the option to consolidate your items at your freight forwarder’s warehouse. This step is optional only if you have multiple purchases from different sellers and wish to ship them together to Singapore. 

Remember to add any new items before finalising this step.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CHOOSE M&P INTERNATIONAL FREIGHTS AS YOUR TAOBAO SHIPPING AGENT

However, if you choose M&P International Freights, the process is more streamlined and does not require you to manually consolidate your items. 

Here’s how it works with M&P International Freights:

Step 1: Purchase your furniture of choice and checkout on Taobao

After confirming your order on Taobao, contact M&P International Freights with a packing list of your purchases and the contact details of the Taobao suppliers.

Step 2: Pickup and verification

M&P International Freights will then coordinate with your suppliers to collect the items. They’ll take photos for verification and share them with you for confirmation.

Step 3: Shipping

For furniture purchases from Taobao, sea freight is the preferred shipping method due to the size and weight of such items. M&P International Freights specialises in handling these bulky shipments, offering two main sea freight options to cater to different needs:

LCL (Less than Container Load):

This option is ideal if your furniture shipment doesn’t fill an entire container. LCL allows your items to be shipped in conjunction with other shipments, effectively sharing container space. This method is cost-effective for smaller furniture orders or when you don’t have enough items to fill a full container.

Full Container Load (FCL):

If your shipment is large enough to fill a whole container, FCL becomes the more economical choice. This is often the case for substantial furniture orders, such as outfitting an entire home or for larger pieces. FCL not only offers cost savings but also minimises handling, as your furniture is loaded and sealed at the supplier and remains untouched until arrival.

Looking for a reliable freight forwarder to ship your Taobao furniture? Get a quotation from us now!

FAQS ABOUT BUYING FURNITURE FROM TAOBAO

Is it safe to buy furniture from Taobao?

Yes, purchasing furniture from Taobao is generally safe. Taobao is a well-established online marketplace with a robust system for buyer protection. 

 

However, if the furniture you receive doesn’t match the pictures or description on the website, Taobao’s return and refund policies offer a layer of security. It’s always a good idea to read seller reviews and product descriptions carefully before making a purchase to ensure the best possible experience.

 

Find out how to return your Taobao purchases from Singapore in our guide.

Shipping fees for furniture from Taobao to Singapore can be calculated based on three different methods, which vary depending on the forwarder you choose:

 

  • Actual Weight: This is the physical weight of the item.
  • Volumetric Weight: This method calculates the space the item occupies. It’s computed using the formula: Length x Width x Height (in cm) divided by 5,000 or 6,000, depending on the forwarder’s policy.
  • Cubic Metre (CBM): This calculation is based on the size of the item, using the formula: Length x Width x Height (in metres). It’s particularly relevant for bulky furniture items.

 

Each method caters to different types of shipments, and the most cost-effective option will depend on the size and weight of your furniture.

The shipping time for Taobao furniture to Singapore varies depending on the shipping provider and the mode of transport used. Typically, the duration can be as follows:

Taobao’s Forwarders: Shipments can take up to 2 weeks. This is usually faster but might vary based on item size and forwarder efficiency.


External Freight Forwarders: These might take up to 3 weeks. While potentially slower, they often provide more customised services, especially for larger or more delicate furniture pieces.


These timeframes are estimates and can vary based on factors like customs clearance, the volume of shipments, and specific logistical considerations of the forwarder.