Ohai Taobao Hackers.
Now that you’ve figured out which delivery service works for you from our last article, it’s time to take the plunge and get your precious loot delivered safely to your door.
Option 1: Direct Shipping
Direct shipping means exactly what it says – you’ll be paying the shop you made your purchases at to deliver your items.
Taobao has an instant messenger function called Aliwangwang that allows you to chat with the shop owner.
Click on the blue Aliwangwang icon (see below) to speak with the shop owner and confirm if they can do direct international shipping.
It’s really important that you do this before paying for your items, because some shops do not offer delivery services for international orders.
What to say
English: May I know if international delivery to Singapore is available?
So the shop has informed you that they do deliver internationally – congrats!
Now you can proceed to put the items you want in your shopping cart and select your shipping destination on the dropdown menu by choosing ‘海外’ (Overseas).
At this stage, the prices shown do not actually reflect international delivery cost.
You’ll have to contact the shop owner again to find out how much shipping would cost you, and – if the price is agreeable to you – for the shop to proceed to arrange for your items to be delivered.
So click on the blue chat bubble to get that sorted out, and when you’ve determined that you’re happy with the charges, tell the shop owner to include charges for international delivery to your payment details. Now you can proceed to pay!
Payment is done by clicking on ‘立即购买’ (Buy It Now).
Can I estimate how much shipping would cost me by this method?
Unfortunately, asking the seller is the only way to find out how much direct shipping would cost you.
This is due to 2 reasons:
1. Because every shop has a different courier service provider.
2. Shipping costs depend on the location of the shop. If the shop is located in a city that’s further away from Singapore (e.g. northern Chinese cities like Beijing and Dalian) the delivery fee will cost more.
Thus this method is generally not recommended as it tends to be more expensive and complicated for non-Chinese speakers.
Option 2: Taobao’s Forwarding Service Partners
Shipping your items by Taobao’s official forwarding service partners means you can breath a little easier, as these providers are more trustworthy. Furthermore, the delivery status can be easily tracked within Taobao.
Step 1: Done picking out the items you want? Go to your shopping cart, check the items you actually want to buy. Then check out by clicking on ‘结算’(Check Out).
Step 2: To choose Taobao’s Forwarding Service as your delivery option, check the box in front of ‘使用淘宝集运’ (Use Taobao Forwarding Service).
Step 3: Now you’ll have to select a forwarding service provider to use. Choosing the right forwarding service provider is pretty trial-and-error affair. If it’s your first time, we’ve personally tried ‘DPEX’ and ‘4PX’, and found both to be reliable.
Next, hit ‘确认’ (Confirm).
If you did Steps 1-3 right, you’ll see that ‘官方物流服务商’ (Official Forwarding Service Provider) is selected.
If you’ve gone on a spree and bought more than a couple of times, play it safe by messaging the shop owner to ask them to dispatch your purchases in one single delivery with this line: ‘请多件一起发货 (Please dispatch the multiple items together at one go)’.
This will ensure that your items will reach the service provider’s warehouse in one consolidated shipment, instead of in separate deliveries (which will be very confusing to the warehouse!) Finally, click “提交订单/Submit Order” to proceed with payment.
What happens if my packages reach the warehouse in separate deliveries?
The warehouse won’t have the full list of items purchased by you from the shop.
They only have a tracking number for each package that is sent to them.
So if your items are split into different packages, they will deliver them as separate deliveries. The first package that reaches them will be delivered to you as per normal. However the other packages will be marked as unregistered packages and left at the warehouse.
You’ll then be caught in the trick situation of having to contact the forwarding service provider to arrange for manual delivery. Avoid at all costs!
After you’ve paid, your items will be delivered from the shop to the forwarding service provider’s warehouse in China.
Once your items have reached the forwarding service provider’s warehouse, you’ll get a text message on your mobile phone (but only if your mobile number is registered in the system).
Next, click on ‘我的淘宝 (May Taobao)’ -> ‘已买到的宝贝 (Purchased Items)’ to arrange and pay for international delivery.
You’ll them see an orange button with the words ‘支付转运费(Pay International Forwarding Fee)’ – click on it!
In the next screen, you’ll be able to see the weight of your item in the 2nd column, as well as the fees for international forwarding (green box).
Hit ‘运费结算 (Delivery Fee Check-out)’ to proceed with payment. You’re done!
How much would shipping cost by this method?
With this method, shipping cost is calculated by weight.
The formula is simply:
Price for first 1kg + Price for every subsequent 0.5kg = Final delivery cost
Your items can only be stored at the forwarding service provider’s warehouse for a maximum of 20 days. If international shipping (steps 5 & 6) is not arranged after 20 days, you will be charged 1RMB per day for storage.
This easy-peasy table shows delivery charges of 3 of the more popular service providers (for China to Singapore only – sorry!)
Alright, now practice makes perfect.
Let’s use 4PX as an example to work out how the costs are calculated.
These are 4PX’s charges for shipping to Singapore:
1. First 1kg – RMB43 (if your item is less than 1kg, the min. charge is still RMB43)
2. Every subsequent 0.5kg – RMB12 (if your item is less than 1.5kg in total, they will still charge the weight outside of 1kg at a fixed price of RMB12)
Let’s demonstrate that in 3 different shipping weights.
Total shipping weight is less than 1kg
Your item weighs 0.56kg
Your shipping cost is therefore RMB43
Total shipping weight is more than 1kg, but less than 1.5kg
Your item weighs 1.03kg
Your shipping cost is therefore:
1 x RMB43 + 1 x RMB12 = RMB 55 (SGD 11.64)
Total shipping weight is more than 1.5 kg
Your item weights 2.5kg
Your shipping cost is therefore:
1 x RMB43 + [(2.50-1)/0.5] x RMB12 = RMB79 (SGD16.72)
How do I avoid paying for GST?
You may not be aware of this, but if your delivery hits SGD400 and above, you’ll be slapped with GST charges! To avoid this, break down your shipment so that each delivery does not exceed SGD400. Then proceed to pay.
Option 3: 3rd Party Forwarding Service Providers
Getting a 3rd party forwarding service to deliver your loot is definitely a little trickier – just purely because each service provider follows different processes and protocols.
But here’s the good news: English is an option on their websites!
You can very easily follow their instructions, so we’ll spare you the pain and direct you to the websites of 4 of the more popular providers where you can find out more.
How much would shipping cost by this method?
Each provider has different rates, but the costs are generally similar across the 4 providers mentioned above (65Daigou, Wiwaa, 86Daigou and SG Shop).
The difference between these 3rd party forwarding service providers and Taobao’s official Forwarding Service Partners is that an additional handling fee is charged.
Let’s use 65Daigou as an example – here’s their delivery cost calculations separated by delivery type.
They even have pretty infographics that will help you to figure out how to calculate your shipping fee!
Lastly, don’t forget the agent handling fee we mentioned.
Now my young padawan, you are finally finally ready to shop on Taobao!
Congratulations for graduating Taobao delivery school!
This is one very exhausted editor signing off.
Got a question? Leave a comment – we love getting messages!
Team Taobao Hacks