I am not very familiar with using Taobao, I have only bought a few bags and that was a couple of years ago. For that order I used the agent Taobaospree This time I decided to use Taobaoring as their website looked much easier to use than the excel spreadsheet Taobaospree uses. Indeed at first it seemed much easier, all you have to do is copy the URL of the item you want and paste into the 'Quick Order' section.
The item will appear in your shopping cart then, be sure to write the colour, size you want or any other information that may be important in the 'Remarks' box. To make sure I normally write the colour in English and then paste the original Mandarin text in brackets just to be sure. You can also provide a link to the picture, so if it's a specific colour you can put a direct link to that picture.
Taobaoring's fees are usually 8% and it is calculated simultaneously as you add items to your basket. Paypal fees are not added to this charge and will be calculated separately when they send the invoice. Once you confirm your order TBR has to confirm that your item is available with the seller then they will send you the invoice once all items are confirmed. This was the tedious part! TBR took over a week to confirm my order and by then a few of my items had sold out/were not available. This was due to the backlog from Chinese New Year so it was understandable that they were busy inundated with orders to check. During this period you can still add or delete items from your shopping cart.
During this time I became more adept at searching for items on Taobao even with my non-existent Mandarin skills. I usually perused through Tumblr blogs such as Random Taobao and Taobao Finds for good Taobao finds. Google translate and copy and paste help immensely when trying to look for specific items like cable knit sweaters or Mori girl related items. I finally managed to get the hang on it an made this order:
After Taobaoring had confirmed my order and contacted the sellers, they informed me that the cable knit cardigan was out of stock. Luckily I managed to find the same one in a another shop. After all items were confirmed in-stock TBR sent me the Paypal invoice, including Paypal fees, service charge and domestic delivery but not including international delivery. I paid the invoice straight away but a day after TBR informed me that the Totoro purse was out of stock and the green jumper was not available in that colour, and suggested a different item and different colour for me to choose. I didn't like the new Totoro purse they suggested so I told them to cancel that item and purchase a watch that I had seen instead. For the jumper I went with the navy colour instead of the green. Now my order is in the 'Purchasing' state so I will have to wait till the items arrive for the second invoice.
- The website is very easy to use and understand, you just paste the URL to your item and the price shows up automatically.
- The Taobaoring agents speak very good English so there's no need to worry that they won't understand you. The are very helpful and polite.
- You can add more items to your shopping cart in the confirmation stage.
- You can easily find out the current status of your order with asking.
- They will mark down your package.
- There is a wide variety of shipping options available, including discounted EMS.
- The fee is 8% which is the average fee for Taobao agents, some are higher but I have yet to find one lower.
- They give you options to change the item to another if its out of stock or change the colour if the colour you want is not available.
- It takes quite a while for items to be confirmed with the seller
- You cannot reply to the comments made by TBR on your order page so will have to email them separately or on the 'Message' section at the bottom of your order. This could get quite confusing.
- Messages sent by TBR about your order are not sent to your email so you will have to keep logging in to your Taobaoring account to find out the status of your order and any changes to your order.
- Items can still be out of stock once you paid for them but this is common to most Taobao shopping services.
- They are quite slow at replying to emails.