Taobao is basically eBay or Amazon of Asia. You could find anything that you can imagine and you actually wanted to buy. Of course , this is why services like Lazada have parted with Taobao to bring the collection to Malaysians.
There are two problems with that , one the choices are limited and second its slightly overpriced compared to what you get from Taobao.
A lot of my friends who are Chinese or who know how to read and write in Chinese buy directly things from Taobao directly. The reason being is that it’s cheap
Now as a computer scientist + marketer + geek myself. I will share with you on how to purchase things from Taobao in this easy to follow steps. After all it’s much more fun compared to say using agents to purchase things on behalf of you
Yep it’s simple and there are only 5 steps that you have to follow . Basically the whole end-to-end journey is covered.
Also it is recommended that you use Google Chrome as you are easily able to translate text or pages !
Pretty straight forward , go to http://world.taobao.com and click on the text as shown in the screen shot
Now for the sign-up process , it seems that Taobao has an English verison which is awesome as you do not have to worry about google translate or figuring out what does what next.
I highly recommend you to sign up for AliPay (the payment option) together as well
Then you would have to fill up your username , password and e-mail address (they do send a verification e-mail as well). Once that is done you are on your way to shop !
2.Shopping and Searching
Now a lot of sites that claims on how to buy taobao stuff from Malaysia does not mention about how to search or how to find your stuff. This is where , I say Google is your friend. In my case , I want overwatch goodies.
Now I can search for overwatch , chances are my search results may not be accurate and plus the sellers would know that it’s an international chap or so , hence the prices would be expensive.
This is where I resort to Google Translate or ask your Chinese-speaking friend to translate. In my case , I searched for Overwatch , got the Chinese characters for it and searched.Alternatively , you may even use Wikipedia even to get the search terms
Then you just look for the item , in this case I picked a D.Va t-shirt for women (it’s just an example)
This is where the power of Google Translate comes in handy to pick t-shirt size , variant and few others as well. I do recommend translating it first and then to purchase the item. Keep in mind to turn off translation when you are about to purchase as it breaks the site navigation badly 😀 .Once you are done you may hit the orange checkout button or if you are shopping for more items , hit on the button next to it , it’s just add to cart
Some Tips : Try to pick a high rating seller , generally you’ll see flags and few other things. So it shows that the person is reliable and also high-rated sellers generally allow the item to be shipped to a forwarder (which is what we need). The downside of it is of course it is slightly more expensive compared to the rest
3.Setting up Address & Paying for it
Once you have clicked checkout , for the first time you’ll be presented with the enter shipment address. You may take a look at the example below on what the field means
Also this is where I highly recommend to use Google Translate to pick your state and town. This is because all of Malaysian towns like Petaling Jaya are in Chinese ! So you would have to select one by one and translate. Again , you may Google Translate the whole page but it does not work and you are not able to submit. So be warned !
For the address , please put it in full address including the state again. I find that the state selection does not even contain ‘Shah Alam’ and other few places. It has Klang and Kuala Selangor but not Shah Alam !
Once you are done , you need to select a shipment provider or a forwarder (again not all sellers offer this. If you don’t see the option in the screenshot. The seller does not offer , so just find another seller). The way how it works is the the seller ships to the warehouse of the package forwarder and the forwarder will forward back to you in Malaysia. This is where you can buy multiple items and get it shipped at one go to Malaysia ! Psst – to change just press the text in blue colour to change it !
For me , I went with Lazada as the forwarder. There are other providers as well , in case if you are looking for others. So far no recommendation from anyone , so I just decided to go with Lazada
If you have any recommendation or suggestions , please let me know in the comment. Once you are done with it , you’ll be presented with Checkout option
Here you may choose to insure your package (if you think it’s worth it by paying insurance). The other option are anonymous checkout and get someone else to pay for you which we wouldn’t cover in this tutorial
Always remember that the orange button is Confirm/yes – so just keep that in mind
4.Paying for the item
Once you click confirm , you’ll be taken to AliPay Website. For the first time , you are required to enter a 6-digit PIN. I highly recommend you to memorize this as in the future you would be using it to login to your AliPay account
Once you are done with that , you’ll be presented with payment option. For Malaysians , you may choose to pay using Credit Card or Online Banking
I’ve found out that AliPay does not enforce 3D secure , so in my credit card – it just got charged anyway without asking for a TAC Code. I’m not sure why. It depends on your credit card.Chances are Debit card wouldn’t work and you have to pay using Online Banking for it !
If you select Credit card , you may have to do the google translate trick by copying the text and translating it. Once it’s done , you are almost done. You would just need to perform the last step
5.Paying for the Shipment
Now the waiting game comes , your seller needs to ship the item out to the warehouse. It takes about 1-2 days. Thankfully Lazada (the forwarder provider that I have selected) , sends a SMS reminder that the item has been received
This is where you would have to login to Taobao account to check. Just follow the picture guide below
Once you are in the 3rd page ,just follow the instructions in the picture below
Once you have selected the blue button (whereby you would need to pay for the forwarder for shipment) , you would then select the items that you want to bundle together and pay for the shipment process. The process is pretty similar. I’ll try to post a screenshot here , but if you are looking for the experience , you may checkout video presented by JoelleChoong (link in the bottom)
As for the tracking part , you may Google Translate it and roughly get where is your shipment. This is in my case , it looks like it’s shipped out of China (or it has arrived in Malaysia). I just need to wait and see.
So I received my item , it took about 1 week to get the item. Here are some of the pictures on how I got the item – so that you can take a look at it
Here are the items of the goods itself.
You may want to check out the following guides to complement my guide. It’s worth reading them
Reddit Guide (very much US centric but has the step-by-step guide)
JoelleChoong’s YouTube Video (addresses some of the gaps in my guide)
HowToTao (outdated guide but still pretty useful)