furnitures bought from taobao and shipped to singapore

How do you shop on Taobao?

Getting rid of old furniture and looking for new, aesthetic ones in exchange?

Taobao is the home to unbelievably great shopping deals including furniture deals.

But, we feel your pain:

Shopping in Mandarin and being skeptical about the product quality.

That’s why, this guide will show you EXACTLY how to shop for furniture on Taobao.

We’ve included step-by-step instructions with screenshots and even included never-before-seen tips and hacks!

Creating an account on Taobao

The first step to shopping at Taobao is to create an account.

This account may be used to view your shopping cart, order status as well as to store personal information such as billing and shipping details.

When you access the Taobao website, this is the homepage that you’ll see:

Screenshot: Taobao homepage with button to register an account

Click on “免费注冊” (mian fei zhu ce; free registration) on the top left corner of the screen.

You’ll then be directed to the registration page to fill in your information:

Screenshot: Taobao account registration page

If you’d like to complete the registration in English, you may click on the “English” option at the top right corner.

Once you’ve created your account, you can proceed to search for your desired furniture using the search bar!

Using furniture keyword cheat sheet to search

The search bar is the white rectangular box that can be found on the homepage.

Just look out for the orange “搜素” (sou su; search) button as seen here:

Screenshot: Search bar on Taobao website

When searching for an item, it may get a little tricky since searching in Mandarin or Hanyu Pinyin can garner you more accurate search results.

But no worries, we got you covered with our handy furniture keyword cheat sheet!

Simply use the common keywords below to aid your search process. These keywords include overall design themes as well as specific furniture.

Design themes
American style美式 (mei shi)
Contemporary奥美 (ao mei)
Industrial chic工业别致 (gong ye bie zhi)
Japanese style日式 (ri shi)
Minimalist/simple简约现 (jian yue xian)
Modern现代 (xian dai)
Nordic/Scandinavian style北欧 (bei ou)
Vintage夏古 (fu gu)

Furniture
Ceiling light吸顶灯 (xi ding deng)
Chaise lounge躺椅 (tang yi)
Closet壁橱 (bi chu)
Coffee/end table咖啡桌/茶几 (ka fei zhuo/cha ji)
Dining table餐桌 (can zhuo)
Floor standing light落地灯 (luo di deng)
Open-arm chair扶手椅 (fu shou yi)
Sideboard餐边柜 (can bian gui)
Sofa沙发 (sha fa)
Striped carpet条纹地毯 (tiao wen di tan)
Study table书桌 (shu zhuo)
Track light轨道灯 (gui dao deng)
TV console电视柜 (dian shi gui)
Wardrobe衣柜 (yi gui)

Others
Glossy finish光滑 (guang hua)
Home decoration家居装饰 (jia ju zhuang shi)

Additionally, you can try to mix and match these keywords to obtain your ideal search. For example, vintage study table = 夏古书桌 (fu gu shu zhuo).

Tips and Hacks

1. Narrowing your search results using filters

Screenshot: Narrowing your search results using filters on Taobao

Use the following functions highlighted in the screenshot above to filter and narrow your search results further:

  • 销量 = Sales volume
  • 信用 = Credibility of seller
  • 价格 = Price range

2. Camera function

Screenshot: Taobao camera search function on mobile appA handy function that not many users are aware of is this photo function just beside the search bar.

Simply click on the camera icon as shown and upload an image of the item you’re looking for from your phone (you have to use the app for this function!).

The system will then search for the closest possible results from the Taobao website, making your search much faster and more convenient.

3. Use the “找相似” function

Shipping from Taobao - Use Similar Products FunctionAnother useful function not known by many:

Use the “找相似” (zhao xiang si) function to search for similar or same products.

This allows you to explore more choices from different suppliers – you may be able to find a better deal, more reliable suppliers or nicer designs!

Now that you’re comfortable with searching in Mandarin, let’s move on to how you can conduct your own quality checks before making your purchase.

How to find reliable Taobao sellers who sell quality goods?

When shopping on a huge e-commerce site such as Taobao, it’s crucial that you conduct your own seller reputation checks to ensure that he/she is reliable and trustworthy.

This not only ensures that your product is exactly as described by the seller, but also means that your parcel will be shipped on time for you to receive it by the estimated arrival date.

Therefore, to ensure that you are indeed getting a bang for your buck, here are 3 main ways that you can do a quality check.

1. Check reviews of past purchases

Scrolling further down the product page will allow you to read the comments and feedback given by previous customers (累计评论; lei ji ping lun).

Screenshot: Look at product reviews on Taobao

Feedback is essential in gauging the reliability and quality of the product that you’re about to purchase.

Hence, it is a good idea to let this section paint a picture of what to expect. (P.S. Google Translate the reviews if you can’t read Chinese characters!)

BONUS TIP:

You can filter out reviews with pictures by clicking on “图片” (tu pian) to verify if the actual product is true to the illustrations that the seller has provided.

Seller-generated photos are usually edited to make the product look more flattering while buyer-generated photos will portray the true image.

2. Seller reputation check

Next, you can check the reputation of the seller. This can be done by looking at the sidebar as indicated below and focusing on 2 ratings.

Screenshot: Check Taobao's seller ratings

(a) Checking seller’s Taobao rating

Simply refer to the 信誉 (xin yu; trust) rating where the shapes are.

Here, the trustworthiness of the seller is ranked with shapes, with the highest level being a gold crown, blue crown, diamond and lastly, a heart.

For instance, in the screenshot above, the seller has 4 blue crowns which signifies that they’re pretty reliable.

(b) Average ratings from customers

There are 3 ratings in total and these scales represent the

  • accuracy of product description (描述相符; miao shu xiang fu),
  • customer service (服务态度; fu wu tai du) and
  • logistics (物流服务; wu liu fu wu).

The rating scale is from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest.

A top-rated seller would have 5 gold crowns and average ratings of 5 across the 3 scales.

BONUS TIP:

A heart seller may not necessarily indicate that his products are low quality. It may just be that he’s new and has yet to establish himself as a reputable seller!

In such cases, the review section is your best friend.

3. Communicating with Taobao sellers

(a) Live chat function

Live chat function on desktop

Screenshot: Live chat function on Taobao desktop

Click on the blue icon on the right hand column.

Live chat function on mobile

Screenshot: Live chat function on Taobao mobile app

Click on “客服” (ke fu; customer support).

This live chat function allows you to communicate directly with the sellers.

If you’re doing a bulk purchase, you can even request for discounts ;)

(b) Phone app

Taobao also has its very own chat phone app called 阿里旺旺 (a li wang wang), which you can use to communicate with the sellers.

You may request for the seller to

  • send real life pictures of your preferred product and
  • to advise on the product dimensions.

Furthermore, you should note that damages on parcels are common occurrences when there is a lack of package protection.

Thus, you should kindly remind the seller to be extra careful with your parcel, especially if your item is fragile.

The following are some packaging tips that you may choose to highlight to the seller during your purchase:

  • Use wooden boxes for shipping heavier or fragile items
  • Use cushioning materials such as bubble wraps to prevent loose contents
  • Sticking “Fragile” and “Handle with Care” stickers is insufficient

BONUS TIP:

Always add “加强包装” (jia qiang bao zhuang) in the comments section to request for sellers to cushion your package with extra protection.

After you’ve verified that your item is up to your expectations, it’s time to add it into your shopping cart.

List of recommended Taobao furniture vendors

Here are some of the furniture shops on Taobao that we recommend:

Recommended furniture storesWhat they sell
优梵艺术旗舰店 (You Fan Yi Shu Qi Jian Dian)Furniture in various styles including American style, nordic, modern minimalist etc
欧格贝思旗舰店 (Ou Ge Bei Si Qi Jian Dian)Nordic luxury furniture
柏幕家具旗舰店 (Parker Curtain Furniture Flagship)Scandinavian, neutral coloured furniture
卡斯摩时尚创意家具馆 (Cosmo!)Retro and modern furniture
小简 (Xiao Jian)Wood furniture
三洛旗舰店 (San Luo Flagship)Lighting

Adding and checking out items from cart

Like other e-commerce websites, the shopping cart is where you can view all your carted items, change the quantity of each individual item, tally the total price and check out once you’re ready.

Screenshot: Add Taobao item to cart

Once you’ve completed the quality check, click on the orange button that says “加入购物车” (jia ru gou wu che) to add the item into your shopping cart.

Screenshot: Go to Taobao shopping cart and check outNext, head to your shopping cart by clicking on the “购物车” (gou wu che) button at the top of the page and proceed to select the items that you wish to check out.

BONUS TIP:

For desktop: click on “优惠卷” (you hui kuan) to get coupons and vouchers that you can use to offset the price of your product if you meet the minimum spending requirement.

Screenshot: Discount coupons on Taobao

For mobile: click on “领券” (ling kuan).

Screenshot: Discount coupons on Taobao mobile app

During Taobao’s many festivals, these requirements are very easy to hit, e.g. spend a minimum of ¥5.00 to get ¥5.00 off your purchase.

Once you’re done, click “结算” (jie suan) at the bottom to check out.

How do I select Taobao shipping?

The next step is to key in your shipping details.

This includes your shipping address and shipping (or forwarding) agent which is the company that will be delivering your parcel to you.

Screenshot: Key in shipping address

In this window, you’re required to key in your shipping address. This address should be the location that you wish to receive your parcel.

Don’t worry if you think you might want to ship to a different address for future parcels; you’ll still be able to add other addresses after this purchase.

For the drop-down menu of the “所在地区” (suo zai di qu; current location) field, the Chinese characters refer to

  • China (中国大陆; zhong guo da lu),
  • Taiwan (台湾; tai wan),
  • Hong Kong (港澳; gang ao),
  • Malaysia (马来西亚; ma lai xi ya) and
  • others (海外其他; hai wai qi ta).

If you reside in Singapore, select “others” and choose the first option (新加坡; xin jia po) in the next drop-down menu.

Complete the form by filling in the other fields according to the English translations in the screenshot above.

After keying in your local delivery address, select “国际转运服务” (guo ji zhuan yun fu wu) to opt for international forwarding service. 

Why opt for an external freight forwarding service?

Appointed forwarders on Taobao (e.g. 4PX, PRouter) have placed a package size and weight limit of 1m x 1m x 1m and 30kg respectively. The only Taobao forwarder that does bulky item shipping is Cainiao.

However, with an external forwarder, you can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Easier to communicate as you can liaise in English,
  • Safer as you can opt for cargo insurance to safeguard your shipments, and
  • More cost-effective as they can consolidate your items from different suppliers and ship them together.

Learn how to ship Taobao furniture to Singapore via an external forwarder in our detailed guide!

How to pay on Taobao?

Once you have keyed in your shipping details, you have to make payment for your purchase to confirm the order.

Screenshot: Make payment

After filling in your credit card details, click on “确认付款” (que ren fu kuan) to confirm your payment.

It usually takes approximately 24 hours for the system to verify your credit card details if you’re an international buyer.

When the payment has been verified, your order will then be processed, and you’ll be able to track your order status.

Tracking your orders on Taobao

Once your order has been placed, you’ll be able to access the following tabs.

Screenshot: Check Taobao order status

Here are some useful tabs to take note of:

  • 待付款 (dai fu quan): Waiting for payment

Items in this tab have not been paid for and the order hasn’t been confirmed.

If you wish to remove items from your shopping cart, you can still do so through this tab.

  • 待发货 (dai fa huo): Waiting for seller to ship out your parcel
  • 待收货 (dai shou huo): Waiting for buyer to receive the item

Once your parcel has reached this status, it means that your seller has shipped your parcel out.

  • 待评价 (dai ping jia): Awaiting review from buyer

You should’ve received your item at this point.

BONUS TIP:

Click on “查看物流” (cha kan wu liu) to check the current status of your order.

Shipping from Taobao - Check Shipping Status (Mobile)

With that, you have completed your first furniture purchase on Taobao!

Shopping on Taobao

Shopping for furniture on Taobao may seem tricky and tedious, especially if Mandarin isn’t your dominant language. But with our handy guide, we’re confident you’ll become a Taobao expert in no time!

If you’re keen to find more cheap deals, you can also check out our article on other popular Chinese shopping platforms!

Want to ship bulky furniture from Taobao to Singapore? Contact our freight forwarding team and we’ll be able to assist!

18 replies
  1. Jasper Ang
    Jasper Ang says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I always have trouble shopping on taobao due to Chinese. This post make things a lot easier!

    Reply
  2. Bevin Quek
    Bevin Quek says:

    I was looking for a shop to get affordable furniture cus my family has been planning to get a new dining table and sofa. Came across this article and its really timely and helpful! I nvr would have thought of buying furniture from tb and I havent been shopping there for some time cus my chinese is not very good. Thanks for this guide and the recommedned shops on tb :))

    Reply
  3. Cecilia
    Cecilia says:

    I bought a furniture from Tao Bao and it was SENS to their appointed forwarder. The order was being rejected and now I understand why after reading your article. Do you advise to ask for a refund instead?

    Reply
  4. Aris Lee
    Aris Lee says:

    Hi I have been using a third party logistics to shipped my items from China to Singapore via their warehouse, and recently the agent have been adjusting their charges and it seems ridiculous now to uses their services. Can I know how to do about it with registering with your company and how do I get a glimps of the charges for both air and sea freight. Thanks

    Reply
  5. Ho
    Ho says:

    Hi,

    I am thinking of purchasing an office chair from Taobao, approx 15kgs including box packaging. How do I proceed with air freight? Which forwarding address to put? Can I have your quotation?

    Reply
  6. Jane
    Jane says:

    Hi, for reference if I order full dining set, office desk and book shelf, L shaped sofa set and 2 queen bedframes from TB to Singapore and opting for sea freight. Can you give me an idea of approx shipping cost?

    Reply
  7. castle
    castle says:

    Hi,

    I would like to enquire on your charges to ship from taobao (or Alibaba) to Singapore.

    Could you please send a quote to my email ?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  8. Tommy
    Tommy says:

    Hi, can share the estimated cost to ship 4x dining chair from China. One chair package is 53x52x82cm weighs 5kg.

    Reply
  9. Jessie
    Jessie says:

    Er, you got the rating system wrong I believe. Shouldn’t it be hearts > diamonds > blue crowns > gold crowns, gold crowns being the highest….?

    Reply

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