How to Taobao for Dummies 2019 | Perfect for the English Speakers


“Sian, I don’t know Chinese so I cannot shop on Taobao”
“Aiya, Taobao is too complicated for me already”

These are myths that are commonly associated with online shopping on Taobao and we are here to debunk them! Shopping on merchants such as and can be tricky as they are not based in Singapore and requires you to do overseas shipping.

Why Should I Shop on Taobao?

Firstly, shopping on Taobao can save you loads of money! If you shop directly on Taobao instead of shopping through an agent (e.g ezbuy, Peeka, SGshop, Oops), you can avoid fees of up to 10% and save on the domestic Chinese postage shipment between the merchant and your agent.

Shopping on Taobao VS Shopping in Singapore
Shopping on Taobao VS Shopping in Singapore

In the example above, you’ll be saving up to 14% on a chair that you bought from Taobao instead of Singapore. Secondly, you can enjoy the comfort of shopping from anywhere with a device with internet and wifi. Thirdly, delivery to your doorstep! Need I say more?

We took up the challenge to figure out how to navigate this e-commerce giant and here are all the tips and tricks we found. Welcome to part I of our comprehensive 4-Part Guide on How to Taobao! Read on to make your online shopping journey a cost-saving and hassle-free one.

Insert: 3 Simple Must Know Taobao Hacks for the Lazy Readers!

A sneak preview of what the other parts will touch on:
Part 2: 6 Best Taobao Shopping Hacks That Even Pros Do Not Know
Part 3: What are the best buys on Taobao?
Part 4: Don’ts on Taobao!

Part 1: Creating a Taobao Account

Here is a quick rundown on this guide!
A. Getting Started
B. Start Your Online Shopping Efficiently
C. Time to Check Out
D. Paying for Your Items
E: Waiting for Your Goodies to Arrive
F. Returns and Refunds

A. Getting Started

Let us solve 50% of your problem right from the get-go. If you do not understand Chinese, fret not!

Tip #1: You can just use Google Translate to shop on Taobao from the Google Chrome browser. Simply right-click on the page and select the option “Translate to English”. Its like magic ~ If you do not have Google Chrome installed – Download here!

Translate into English
Translate into English

To start off your online shopping journey, you have to sign up a Taobao account on Upon loading the website, you’ll arrive on the screen below. Click on “Register for an account” as shown below.

Where to find the "Register" button on Taobao
Where to find the “Register” button

Afterwards, you will be redirected to the page shown below – where you will be able to fill in your credentials and sign up for a free Taobao account!

Mobile Verification
Mobile Verification

Enter your phone number accordingly. Taobao will then will send you a OTP (One Time Password) to input into the form, remember to agree to the terms and conditions!

Login Credentials
Input Your Login Credentials

Fill in the relevant information in the form and submit it to complete your registration of a Taobao account . You are now ready to shop online!

B. Start Your Online Shopping Efficiently

Let’s say you want to purchase a messenger bag. You would first type “messenger bag” into the search bar, Google Chrome does a pretty good job translating and searching for the right products. However, the products showing up under search are of varying qualities and price range, and it will probably take you another 20 – 30 min to skim through each review to find a good seller *boohoo*. But you can solve this problem easily.

Tip #2: Make use of the filter tabs to improve the quality of your search results – specifically the tab “Sales volume”. The greater the sales volume, the more reliable that particular product is from that seller. You can also specify other preferences such as if the seller allows more than 7+ days return or if the good is genuine.

Taobao-Online Shopping-searching for items
Select “Sales Volume” To Get The Most Reliable Products

After you have selected the type of bag you want, Taobao will redirect you to the product page.

Taobao-Online Shopping-Choosing Styles
Selecting Different Product Styles

Wait! What if instead of a specific price, they show a range? That is because there are multiple styles available for the product. Once you’ve chosen a style, you can then add the product to your shopping cart by clicking on the button to “Add to shopping”.

C. Time to Check Out

Tip #3: Setting up your shipping address will make the checkout process more convenient. Click on your username on the top left corner of the screen, this should direct you to your profile page.

Taobao – Where to set up picture address to shop online
Your Taobao Profile Page

Afterwards, select “My shipping address” to get started!

Taobao Shopping – Fill in your shipping address
Fill In Your Shipping Address

Ensure that you click on “Save” after finalizing your shipping address. Ready to checkout? Select “Go to the cart settlement” to finalize the transaction.

Taobao-online shopping-Checking out
Click On The Orange Button – 去购物车结算

This is where things get tricky. You can either:

  1. Choose to have the logistics partners of Taobao ship the goods directly to you or
  2. Choose your own couriers
Taobao Shipping Options
Choosing a Taobao Shipping Method

We advise you to select the first option – having the logistics partners of Taobao ship the goods directly to you. The shipping cost is more expensive, but the convenience of this option makes up for it! Furthermore, you can shop for multiple items at once to reduce the shipping cost/item.

If you opt to choose your own couriers, there are people who discuss directly with the sellers and have their own shipping arrangement. Of course, not all sellers can speak English and this is not as convenient as direct shipping from Taobao!

D. Paying For Your Items 

To pay for your items on, you can choose to pay with Taobao’s payment processor – Alipay or through an alternative payment method – RateX.

1. Alipay

(Source: Taobao)

Payment through Credit Cards (VISA/Master/JCB)

To make payment for your Taobao and/or Tmall purchases with Credit Cards, you will have to follow the steps below:

  1. After you proceed to checkout, you will be redirected to your Alipay account – which is automatically created along with your Taobao account.
  2. At this page, select the credit card payment method and you will be prompted to enter your card number (Refer to the screenshot below).

    online shopping Alipay payment methods
    Choosing A Payment Method
  3. Next, enter the remaining card details.

    online shopping Alipay payment methods
    Enter Your Card Details
  4. Fill in your desired billing address.

    online shopping Alipay payment methods
    Fill In Billing Address
  5. Lastly, after filling in all the required information, click on “Confirm payment” to complete the payment process.

Payment through Alipay Purchase Card.

Alipay Purchase Card (支付宝购物卡), is a prepaid card issued by Alipay Singapore. You may use the Alipay Purchase card to buy items from Taobao or Tmall only.

Each card can only hold a maximum amount of CNY 4000 and can only be used by one Alipay account and the validity period is 36 months.

  1. To purchase an Alipay Purchase Card, head over to any AXS station or AXS App

    online shopping Alipay payment methods
    AXS Machine Alipay Icon
  2. At the station or App, select “Top-up”, followed by “Alipay Purchase Card”.

To make payment for your Taobao and/or Tmall purchases using Alipay Purchase Card, you will have to follow the steps below:

  1. Proceed to Taobao checkout and select the items you wish to checkout.
  2. After you have been redirected to your Alipay account, select “Use Alipay Shopping Card” as the payment method.

    online shopping Alipay payment methods
    Select Alipay Shopping Card
  3. Next, key-in the required card number and pin number.

    online shopping Alipay payment methods
    Select to Confirm Use
  4. After you have successfully added the Alipay Purchase Card to your Alipay account, enter the amount you wish to pay through the Alipay Purchase card and complete the payment by entering your Alipay account pin code.

2. Another option is paying with RateX.

Tip #4: RateX offers the lowest exchange rates with no transaction fees! You can download the browser extension at our home page on the two browsers we support:
1. Google Chrome and
2. Mozilla Firefox

On our home page,

online shopping RateX homepage
RateX Homepage

Click on “Get RateX- it’s Free” button. Next, it will prompt you to click on the “Add extension” button and the installation will begin.
A new pop-up tab (shown below) will indicate a successful installation.

online shopping RateX confirmation on downloading the extension
Successfully Installed RateX woohoo

On the extension, click on it on the top right corner if it isn’t open, select the “Accounts” tab. Fill in your details accordingly to create an account with us. Another alternative is to use your existing Facebook account to join us.

Taobao RateX Checkout
Checkout With RateX

With your shipping address and payment details keyed in, click the green button “Pay” on our extension (not on Taobao webpage) to pay using RateX to enjoy favorable exchange rates & no transaction fees.

Our extension will prompt you for further details to complete the payment. If you are still unsure on how to use RateX on Taobao, you may refer to this video guide!

E. Waiting For Your Items

After paying for your transactions, you must be excited to see when your packages will arrive.
To track your orders, go to the Taobao homepage:

  1. Click on “I Taobao” to go to your profile page.

    Taobao-Online Shopping-Tracking Packages
    Click on I Taobao
  2. Afterwards, clicking on “I Taobao” this will redirect you to a page where you can view all your purchased items that are going to be or being delivered to you.

    Taobao-Online Shopping-Tracking Packages
    To Receive Goods
  3. To show what pending packages are still in the process of being delivered to you, click on “To receive goods”.
Taobao-Online Shopping-Tracking Packages
Packages To Be Received

Use this dashboard to track all delivered or to-be-delivered packages, you can also send feedback to each Taobao merchants after you have received the goods.

F. Returns and Refunds

If you’re not satisfied with the goods you’ve received and would like to get a refund, the process is pretty direct. To get a return for a product that the merchant has not sent, you can fill in a simple form to apply for it.

Tip #5: You can opt to instant message the seller through the Taobao mobile app and let him/her know to ease the refund process. Note: Tip is not 100% effective as the sellers do not always understand English.

  1. Click on “Refund/Return” to start your refund process!

    Click on Return/Refunds
  2. Afterwards,you will be directed to this refund application form to send in to the Taobao merchant.

Select Reason For Refund
  • Input the refund reason into the application form.

    Submit Refund Form
  • After you have completed the refund request form, submit the form. It will take up to two days for the Taobao merchant to reply you and settle your refund request.

To return, submit a form through a similar procedure like the one above, but select ‘Wrong/multiple shot/don’t want” as the reason. Do note that the refund will only be made after the seller has received the return package!

Hope Part I of this series has served you well. Practice makes perfect, so shop more on Taobao to save even more money! Stay tuned for Part II of this guide on how to hack your way through Taobao.

Insert: Amazon, Lazada, Taobao – What is cheaper where? 
Insert: 6 Best Taobao Shopping Hacks That Even Pro Do Not Know

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