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Tutorial: How to shop on Taobao SEA

I've previously done a tutorial in 2012 but there are changes to the site and now Singapore/Malaysia residents can buy directly from Taobao so I decided to redo this tutorial. Added in some tips too :)

Taobao is similar to Ebay and it is a great place to get different sorts of products at a low price range! I realized many of the clothes and accessories retailing on blogshops can be easily be found on Taobao. Yes the site is in Chinese but you can use Chrome's google translate to help you with that, I find it rather accurate. The new site is user-friendly and they have a page dedicated to using freight forwarding service here.
I've already ordered a batch of items in March and everything was done in about 2 weeks, I will do a review in a separate post with my new batch of items that I'm expecting to receive this week! Can't wait :)
So just like the previous site, type the item you want to search in the bar above, in either English or Chinese characters. If you don't know the exact name of item in Chinese, you can always use English then select the suggestions below(just like the ones I highlighted) for a more accurate result. There will definitely be more choices if you search in Chinese characters. You can always use trial and error if you aren't sure which to click, that's what I always do. I'm surprised at the results sometimes and I tend to buy more than I need.
A list of items will be displayed in no particular order, you can sort them out by clicking  销量, where it will arrange in the order of most items sold. It's better to buy from a seller who has sold a number of items already, then you can view the feedback on the items. I find it more useful to view the feedback with images than rely on the service ratings on their site as some sellers actually pay people to rate them positively.
Remember to check the seller's rating and the user feedback. I would recommend you to choose a seller with at least 4.6 for each of 3 different category listed if there isn't much user reviews to refer to. Anything below that, I would say that you're buying at your own risk.

Other things to lookout for will be photos&ratings in terms of icons, it'll be good if the seller provided actual photos of products so the chances of products looking different from stock photos will be lower. As for ratings, there are hearts, diamonds, crowns and gold crowns graded in that order and there can be 1-5 of them. An example: a seller with 1 diamond is better than a seller with 5 hearts.
Example of the icons:

One of the new features that Taobao added sometime ago is to find the same item from different sellers with a click of a button, this would save your time looking for the correct search terms to find the items. The seller ratings are also clearly displayed at the side together with the prices. I love this new feature, now I can get probably better quality item at the best price!

*I'll edit this post along the way if I find new things to add :)

If you need anymore help on ordering from Taobao, you can leave a comment below:)


  1. hi I just finish selecting my items, but when the page asked to key in my hp no it saids 请检查手机号码格式是否错误!hope u help me on it.
    and are u helping people to order from taobao? thanks, kitty

    1. Hi Kitty, from what I know, if you want to buy directly from Taobao, you have to call them and ask them to verify the phone number for you! :)


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