Furniture purchased from Taobao

Want to buy Instagram-worthy furniture from Taobao but afraid of the shipping cost?

Don’t fret — we’re here to share with you how to ship Taobao furniture to Singapore in the easiest and most cost-effective manner! 

In this article, we’ll lay out the advantages and disadvantages of shipping directly from Taobao vs engaging an external freight forwarder and elaborate on the process of engaging an external freight forwarder. We’ll also share our answers to some frequently asked questions below!

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Taobao Shipping Options

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

1. Ship directly from Taobao

Shipping directly from Taobao means that you’ll be using the delivery services of their existing forwarders such as 4PX, PRouter and Cainiao. 

Cainiao, in particular, is Taobao’s preferred shipping partner. They offer to ship bulky items (30kg – 500kg) via sea freight and smaller items (up to 30kg) via air freight.

Advantages

  • Hassle-free

    Shipping directly from Taobao is a hassle-free option as you’re simply required to select your preferred Taobao shipping partner and make payment.

  • Reliability

    Taobao closely monitors the efficiency of each forwarder based on customer ratings and those that underperform will be replaced with newer and more efficient ones. This ensures that your parcel will be in good hands.

Disadvantages

  • Lower sense of security

    Since you don’t have a dedicated shipper to follow up with closely, the Taobao shippers may take days to get back to you or not get back to you at all.

  • Language barrier

    Even if you manage to get hold of the Taobao shipper, most of these agents speak Chinese and this may pose a language barrier for buyers who aren’t confident in communicating in Chinese.

  • Lack of insurance

    While many buyers often think twice about getting insurance for their shipments as it isn’t compulsory, it’s recommended for items of high value as it allows you to get reimbursed in the event that your item is lost, damaged or stolen. However, Taobao forwarders don’t provide cargo insurance.

2. Ship via an external freight forwarder

Shipping via an external freight forwarder means that you’ll be engaging your own international forwarding service to assist you.

Advantages

  • Ease of communication

    Unlike Taobao’s direct shippers, you’ll be able to communicate with freight forwarders in English. Additionally, the freight forwarder will constantly be in contact with you throughout the entire shipping process. This facilitates communication and offers greater peace of mind.

  • Cargo insurance

    Freight forwarders typically offer the option of cargo insurance to safeguard your shipments against damage, thefts or losses. While the claiming process may take some time, having a reimbursement is a more favourable outcome as compared to losing your money and furniture altogether.

  • Repackaging of goods

    If you’re purchasing multiple items from different suppliers, freight forwarders allow you to repackage and consolidate your items so you can enjoy the most cost-effective rates possible. Additionally, you can store your goods in their appointed warehouse until all your goods have arrived for shipping.

Disadvantages

  • More research required

    When engaging an external freight forwarder, you’re likely to be spoilt for choice with the number of forwarding companies available in the market.

    Thus, you might have to do some research to identify which freight forwarder offers the best shipping rates and the best service quality.

  • Longer shipping time

    Shipping via an external freight forwarder may require a longer shipping time as compared to shipping via Taobao’s existing forwarders. On average, freight forwarders may take up to 3 weeks to deliver your cargo whereas Taobao’s forwarders may take up to 2 weeks.

    All in all, when choosing your freight forwarder, be sure to take these pros and cons into consideration and pick the right company that’s suitable to deliver your package.

    With a more appropriate forwarder, you’ll get a more satisfactory shipping experience.

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

If you’ve chosen to ship via an external freight forwarder, this is the general process of engaging a freight forwarding company for your Taobao shipment.

  • Step 2: Contact an external freight forwarder

    After the order has been confirmed, proceed to contact your chosen freight forwarder and provide them with a packing list of the items that you’ve purchased, together with the contact details of the Taobao supplier.

  • Step 3: Pick up items from suppliers

    Next, you can take a step back while your freight forwarder steps in to contact all the suppliers and makes arrangements to pick up the items you’ve ordered.

  • Step 4: Verify shipment

    Photos of your items will be taken upon pick up and sent to you for verification purposes. Upon confirmation, your goods will be shipped.

  • Step 5: Shipping (via 2 options)

    Depending on the weight of your goods, you may have to opt for air freight (for lighter goods) or sea freight (for heavier or more bulky goods). The former is typically more expensive but faster, while the latter is often cheaper but takes a longer time to arrive at your destination.

    For sea freight, there are 2 options:

    a) LCL – Less than Container Load shipping

    In the event that your shipment is less than the container load, you’ll have to opt for LCL shipping. This simply means that your shipment will be combined with other shipments to fill up a container before it’s shipped.

    b) FCL – Full Container Load shipping

    On the other hand, if you have sufficient cargo to fill a container fully, shipping via FCL shipping would be better as you’ll enjoy more cost savings. For FCL shipping, forwarders will collect the cargo from suppliers and bring them back to their warehouses to load into the container.

    Once the cargo is loaded onboard, customs clearance for the export shipment will be arranged and the shipping documents will be prepared by the forwarder. An extra copy of documents will be provided to you for reference as well.

  • Step 6: Purchase insurance

    As mentioned previously, purchasing insurance is important, especially for big ticket items like furniture. Most of the time, the purchase of insurance can be done by the external freight forwarder on behalf of clients.

  • Step 7: Custom clearance and delivery of shipment

    Once your shipment arrives in Singapore, the last step is for the freight forwarder to clear the shipment at customs and deliver the cargo to your doorstep.

    Just like that, you can enjoy reliable shipping services while getting good deals on Taobao!

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

Choosing The Right Freight Forwarder

​​Now that you’re aware of how simple it is to engage an external freight forwarder to ship your Taobao loots, here are some factors that you may want to consider before choosing a forwarder.

  • Country of origin

    Be sure to check if the freight forwarder you are considering is located in the same country where you are residing in. This is crucial in order to liaise with the company conveniently.

  • Reasonable quotation

    Cost is another factor to consider as ideally, you would want to save on shipping costs. It is always wise to request for a few quotations from different companies and compare them before deciding on the forwarder you wish to engage.

  • Reviews and ratings

    Another thing to look out for is the reviews and feedback that the forwarder has gotten from past customers. This serves as an indication to the quality of service that the company is able to provide you with.

    Some platforms where you can get these reviews would be Google, Facebook and forums. If a company has recent reviews with detailed descriptions of the customers’ experiences, it is more likely that they are trustworthy and worth your consideration.

At M&P International Freights, we’re dedicated to shipping your Taobao furniture safely and efficiently. Enquire about our rates today!

Frequently Asked Questions

How are shipping fees calculated?

Shipping fees can be calculated by 3 methods, subject to your choice of forwarder:

  • Actual weight: Weight of the item
  • Volumetric weight: Amount of space that the item occupies, converted into weight; LxWxH (in cm) / 5,000 or LxWxH (in cm) / 6,000 depending on the forwarder
  • Cubic metre (CBM): Size of the item; LxWxH (in m)

How long will it take to ship Taobao furniture to Singapore?

It depends on your choice of shipping provider and mode of transport. In general, these are the shipping durations:

  • Taobao’s forwarders: Up to 2 weeks
  • External freight forwarders: Up to 3 weeks

Shipping Taobao Furniture To Singapore

Shipping Taobao furniture from China to Singapore can be costly and stressful. Choosing the right freight forwarder will allow you to enjoy cost savings on your shipments and facilitate the shipment process!

If you need help shopping for furniture on Taobao, check out our step-by-step guide here!

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