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:
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:
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:
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.
|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)|
|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)|
|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).
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).
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!)
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.
(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.
3. Communicating with Taobao sellers
(a) Live chat function
Live chat function on desktop
Click on the blue icon on the right hand column.
Live chat function on mobile
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
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 stores||What 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|
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.
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.
Next, 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.
Once you’re done, click “结算” (jie suan) at the bottom to check out.
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.
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.
Once you have keyed in your shipping details, you have to make payment for your purchase to confirm the order.
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.
Once your order has been placed, you’ll be able to access the following tabs.
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.
With that, you have completed your first furniture purchase 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!