1. What is an Agent?
The major problem for people in western countries with taobao is: The whole website is in mandarin and not every country can order directly from Taobao. This is when Taobao Agents come in, they provide services to foreigner outside China, assisting them to shop from Taobao.
The business model for Taobao Agents is like this. Foreign shoppers select products in Taobao then entrust Taobao Agents to shop for them. Taobao Agents will buy the items from Taobao to their own warehouse and then ship them out to foreign shoppers.
Superbuy is an industry leader e-commerce platforms catering to overseas customers wishing to purchase products from China. Superbuy aims to provide its global user base a best-in-class shopping experience of Chinese products. From purchasing, inspection, storage and delivery to after-sales services, Superbuy offers a one-stop solution to its users
Many people combine several purchases from different seller into a single international shipment from the China warehouse. This significantly reduces the chargeable shipping weight, and hence their international shipping costs.
Here are two easy methods to find products on Taobao without knowing mandarin. Taobao is very similar to Ebay or Amazon, and the only difficulty you will face to find the product you want is the Chinese language. In order to solve this obstacle, I recommend Google Chrome browser to translated the whole website into your local language.
Searching in chinese using a translator
Simply type the English word you are looking for and copy/paste the chinese translation.
Generally, there is no problem searching in English, but the results might be very limited.
Searching Taobao by Image
1. Check if you see a little camera on the searchbar on the main page. If you do, skip to step 4.
2. Hover over the dropdown menu on the top left of the page that says “全球”
3. Click the second option in the dropdown menu, it should say “中国大陆”
4. Now you are on the China version of Taobao. Find a picture of a product you want. In my opinion it works best with stock images of the brand.
As mentioned before, first thing you should do is to register with any agent in China. Personally, I use and continue using Superbuy, hereby a link to register. (by using this you’ll get shipping coupon and support this project). Once registered, you’ll be able to create your virtual shopping cart across all Taobao stores.
STEP 1: Copy and paste a taobao link into superbuys big blue box. Then hit the blue search button.
Step 2. You will be taken to a page where Superbuy translates the color and size options for you, and all you need to do is select the color and size you want. After, you can either Add to Cart or Buy Now. Scroll down the superbuy page and you will see the product details where there is (usually) also a size chart.
If you see on the top right side of the screen the “risky” or “not recommended” tags, this doesn’t necessarily have to be an indicator of the quality of the goods or the store, you should pay attention and consider this when purchasing.
Step 3. Next you have to select your country from the Choose Destination Country box, then hit submit to be taken to the payment screen.
Step 4. Just select your desired payment option and pay for your order. Superbuy, through one of its agents, will then purchase the item from the Chinese seller and have the item sent to their very own warehouse. Now, you have a list of payment options. Just choose the one you want, and click pay now.
However, for one like to use PayPal, unless you are on superbuy app, you have to top-up your balance via PayPal, and then pay with account balance. Here’s how you do that:
Click your account name in the top right corner, Click Top up, enter the amount you want to top up, click top-up now, and choose PayPal and press pay now. Then go back to your shopping cart, and on the payment options page, choose account balance.
Receiving the goods
Once the order has been placed and you pay for the items, an agent working for Superbuy will purchase these items for you from the sellers. In your recap page, here, you’ll be able to see all the items within the order. In the first window below you may see how the order status looks like just after the agent has purchased the item. In the last one, how it looks like when the items have been received.
Once the items have arrived you should receive an email from Superbuy informing you the items have been stored in the warehouse. This usually happened 1-2 days after the products actually arrive to the agent – you may verify at all times in the recap page or through the app.
At this point you can check if the items fit the description and are in line with your expectations. In order to do so you have to click on “View the inspection”. This will open a window where you may be able to see pictures of the item you received. Disable any adblock as some plug-ins conflict with the website. Superbuy stores your products 180 days for free.
It may happen that you will not be able to see the small details of your item. In this case, you can request more pictures by clicking on “Detailed Photo”.
If you have any questions regarding your order you can contact your agent handling this your order by pressing on the yellow “contact” button.
Shipping the products to you
Once your order arrives in the Superbuy warehouse, you will receive a notification per Email or though the App. When your item(s) arrive, go to your warehouse page this is how you send all your items to your house.
When you feel like you have accumulated enough items, then you can proceed to pay the shipping fees for the shipment from Superbuy to you. As I mentioned before the costs vary according to what shipping carrier you pick, and not all the carriers may be available according to which country you are shipping to.
Click on the Warehouse icon on the sidebar to access your stored items.
You may see the sizes and weights of the single items and combined weight of the parcel.
If you click on submit you will be able to see the page where you effectively need to choose the carrier and the most appropriate packaging for your items. You will now see some shipping options depending on where you live and what you ordered.
You need to consider that most carriers calculate shipping at increments of 500 grams, kicking in after the first 1000 grams which are usually flat fee. In order to optimize your costs, you should aim at combining items and reach the threshold 1000 grams, 1500 grams etc without ever reaching them. Prefer having 1499 grams to 1501 grams all the time to save money.
Advantages: CheapDisadvantages: Slightly longer delivery time, lack of updating tracking info
- China Post
- USPS Air Mail
Advantages: Resonable price, less mail restrictionsDisadvantages: Not stable delivery time
- Preferential line
- SF Logistics
- Superbuy Economy line
Advantages: Fast delivery and fully trackableDisadvantages: Expensive
It’s time now to declare the value of your package. You should take into consideration what is the value of your goods and what are the thresholds above which taxes are due in your country. Most of European countries have a limit up to 22 Euros.
If the items you are shipping are delicate, fragile, or would need any kind of special wrapping or packaging, Superbuy allows you to choose, under the “Value Added Services” section, special arrangements for your package.
The only step you would have to take after this is to pay for the shipping, in the same way you pay for the items, by clicking on Place Order.
This is a very important question. Some products will be reproduced with the same original size designations. Others will be shifted to better accommodate their Asian clients. Some items purchased from Tao could be a Large that fits like a US XS. So you really need to pay attention.
Most of the time, sellers will have a size chart towards the bottom of the item page. You’ll have to scroll down a bit to find it.
Here are the translations for sizing:
肩宽 – Shoulder Width
胸围 – Bust
衣长 – Length
The surefire way of picking the correct size is to identify the type of item you’re purchasing (shirt, coat, pants, underwear) and measure an item of that type you own. So, if I wanted to buy a t shirt , and I didn’t know my size, I’d take a shirt that fits me, and measure from shoulder seam to shoulder seam for shoulder width, pit to pit for bust then x2, and bottom of collar to the bottom for the length.
Chinese Yuan ¥ is used for all transactions on Taobao.com. However Superbuy uses US Dollars as their default settlement currency.. The currency rate is based on the Bank of China exchange rate, currently it is 1$=6.61¥ or 1¥=0.15$, it might change from time to time along with the changing live currency, which they will always indicate to you.
For exchange rate from other currency to USD, please refer to Paypal currency calculator.
Use Google Chrome while browsing Taobao and utilize the full-page automatic translation by clicking on the translate button in the URL bar.
Shipping works a bit differently than you’re probably used to. You will pay a small fee (1$) for shipping when you first order the item. Then, once your agent has all the items and weighs them, you will pay them for the final shipment of everything from them to you.
To get a more accurate idea of the shipping costs, check superbuy’s tool to estimate shipping:
and here you can see roughly how much products weigh https://www.parcl.com/education/forwarders/docs/parcl-approximate-weight-of-goods.pdf
You have to look up the laws for your own country. For most european countries, the value of package has to be under 22€. For US it can be up to 800$ Otherwise some regulations kick in and you have to pay more.
Additional I would try to keep your packages under 6 kg,If possible ask for vacuum sealing your package and let them put a Commercial Invoice on the outside of your package including shipping costs.
For tracking use Superbuy’s built in tracking (Go to your parcels and then you can click on Parcel Details). I like to use ParcelFlow or 17track on my iPhone just because it gives me notifications whenever something moves. You can also sign up for email tracking notifications when you use DHL (On their tracking page).