Shopping / Taobao Guide & Links

Taobao Guide & Links

For those who love making a bargain

Taobao is a large marketplace, similar to Ebay, but it mainly consists of fixed prices. To buy items from Taobao, you will need to use a shopping service. A few reliable and popular shopping services are Taobao Spree, Taobao Now, Taobao Buying and Dollypoddle. The majority charge a 10% commission fee, offer 40-50% off EMS shipping, and payment can be done via Paypal or credit card.
Other fees that apply to most shopping services are a 4% Paypal fee, insurance fees (optional), domestic shipping fees and the shipping fees to send the package to you. Note that shipping from China is expensive.

So how does Taobao work? First off, the entire site is in Chinese, so you may want to use Google Translate to decipher the content. Users with Google Chrome have the option to automatically translate pages, and can also use this handy Currency Converter plugin. You can also use XE. All prices on Taobao are in renminbi (RMB) (the unit is called yuan (CNY)), which uses the ¥ or 元 yen symbol.

What Sizes Do They Carry?

Normally most sellers will state the measurements on the item pages, including any information about custom sizes (you can ask your shopping service to inquire about this, or sizes in general if you're unsure). Bra and most shoe sizes (some in US size) are the same as EU sizes.

You can use this clothing chart and shoes chart and compare with your country's size charts, in order to figure out which size to get. You can also use an international size converter for clothes/underwear to help you further.

The Feedback System & Item Authenticity

With the large quantity of stores, and the seemingly huge number of duplicate items, I'm sure one of the first questions that pops up is how do I know if what I see is what I will get?

Taobao goes by a certain feedback system, that ranges from hearts to golden crowns, and reveals how many successful transactions the store has made. You should avoid buying from stores below 98% positive feedback and less than 3-4 diamonds. Below is an image illustrating the feedback box at Dear Celine (it looks slightly different now, but the principle is the same).

The feedback scores are as follows, with hearts being the lowest, and golden crowns the highest:

  • 4 - 10
  • 251 - 500
  • 10,001 - 20,000
  • 500,001 - 1,000,000
  • 11 - 40
  • 501 - 1000
  • 20,001 - 50,000
  • 1,000,001 - 2,000,000
  • 41 - 90
  • 1001 - 2000
  • 50,001 - 100,000
  • 2,000,001 - 5,000,000
  • 91 - 150
  • 2001 - 5000
  • 100,001 - 200,000
  • 5,000,001 - 10,000,000
  • 151 - 250
  • 5001 - 10,000
  • 200,001 - 500,000
  • 10,000,000+

You will also want to read the feedback of the item you are ordering. The feedback is located at the bottom of the product pages. Even if the store has a good reputation, there's always the risk of an item being in the wrong color, size, having loose buttons etc.

Last, but not least, you can look for the following icons to further make sure your item is authentic. They're displayed in the search hits, and on the product pages. The shopping mall icon means the store is officially confirmed by Taobao to carry authentic products.

  • Shopping Mall
  • Authentic Item
  • Accepts Returns in 7 Days
  • Item as Described

About the Store Listings

Store item quality is split into superior, high, average and low.
Superior: Flawless quality, great design/construction.
High: Great quality, good design/construction.
Average: Good quality, may use low-quality fabric and lace, decent design/construction.
Low: Bad quality. Many items use low-quality fabric and lace, have bad construction and may come with flaws such as sewing or sizing mistakes.

Please notice I'm unable to confirm if all these carry authentic items. Please use the information given above, and purchase items at your own risk.

Lolita Fashion Stores