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Best Online Shopping Sites? Amazon, Taobao, Shopee vs Others 2019

Best Online Shopping Sites? Amazon, Taobao, Shopee vs Others 2019

“Okay, should I buy this from Lazada, Shopee, or Taobao?”

Before you know it, you’ve already spent hours searching online and gained nothing other than frustration. Wouldn’t it be great if we knew which online shopping site was best for our needs?

TLDR; here’s a table to summarise our experiences with these marketplaces based on the most common needs that Singaporeans have when they shop online!

 Delivery Speed AvailableEase of Shopping Prices
LazadaInternational seller: 1-3 weeks
Local seller: 1-5 days
Arguably the easiestComparable to Shopee's and Qoo10's prices
ShopeeInternational seller: 1-3 weeks
Local seller: 1-5 days
EasyComparable to Lazada's and Qoo10's prices
TaobaoGeneral: 3-5 weeks
Fast delivery options: 5-10 days
Depending on how comfortable one is with MandarinLikely to have the cheapest goods
Qoo10International seller: 1-3 weeks
Local seller: 1-5 days
EasyComparable to Lazada's and Shopee's prices
AmazonPrime Now: 2 hours
International Prime Now: 2-9 days
EasyLikely to have the cheapest tech products

The good news is, each marketplace has strengths that we, the consumers, can leverage on. We looked at the most popular marketplaces available to Singaporeans and dissected them into digestible bits!

  1. Lazada
  2. Shopee
  3. Taobao
  4. Qoo10
  5. Amazon

Lazada Singapore

Lazada is owned by the Alibaba Group and it carries a diverse range of local products–if you see it in NTUC, Guardian etc, you’d most probably be able to find it here.

  • Delivery Speed

Delivery Speed is dependent on the seller’s location.
– International seller: You’d have to wait at least 1 – 2 weeks (sometimes 3).
– Faster shipping: No. There aren’t any options available to change the delivery speed, but you can filter for products coming from “Singapore”. This makes for faster delivery: speeds of 1-5 days.

  • Ease of Shopping on Lazada

For the uninitiated, we find searching for products on Lazada to be easy and largely intuitive:

Use the search bar and listed categories on the main page, then streamline your search further using the search filters (brand, service type, price, location) located on the left hand side of the webpage.

Sellers’ reliability a concern for you? For a curated selection of top international and local brands and their authorized distributors, click on “LazMall”. Alternatively, you could rely on the reviews on each product page:

Other pre-filtered categories – “Most Popular”, “Flash Deals”, and “Just For You” – that are pretty helpful can be found when you scroll further down the page.

In terms of payment options, Lazada is one of the few marketplaces that allow “Cash On Delivery” for selected purchases.

  • Product Costs

If you are out bargain hunting, you might want to note that different product categories are cheaper on different sites. Refer to our comparison article on Amazon, Taobao, and Lazada prices here!

  • Returns and Refunds

You only have up to 15 days (LazMall items) and 7 days (non-LazMall items) from the date of delivery to return dissatisfactory products. Return-shipping fees will also not be borne by you as long as the fault do not lie with you.

Shopee Singapore

A strong contender for the title of the top regional marketplace, Shopee was launched in 2015 and has since expanded its reach to Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines.

  • Delivery Speed

Delivery Speed for products on Shopee are generally comparable to Lazada’s. For international shipments, deliveries tend to be around 1 – 2 weeks (sometimes 3). For local shipments, these would be around 1-5 days.

  • Ease of Shopping on Shopee

Shopping on Shopee should generally be intuitive to most Singaporeans as well.

Just like Lazada, there are more filters you can play with once you’ve narrowed down your product search with the search bar or listed categories.

Note: We found that the first row of items shown do not always correspond to what was searched. For example, “vacuum cleaner” returned “multi-purpose cleaner”, “floor cleaner”, and even “tile remover” in the top row of the search results. The search results return to generally more relevant results after that.

There are several Shopee-specific categories that may be new to you:
Shopee Mall – Shopee’s version of LazMall with some added shipping and return perks
Shopee Preferred – list of more reputable sellers
Shopee Mart – online store for local groceries and other necessities

  • Product Costs

Doing price comparisons between Lazada and Shopee might save you a few dollars if you do your due diligence, but it can also be time-consuming. Want a sustainable way to save money? Get acquainted with our shopping assistant, and let it give you savings on purchases on BOTH sites!

  • Returns, Refunds and other Customer Help

Shopee’s return and refund are generally only valid within “Shopee Guarantee” period, which is “days to ship + estimated delivery time”. This can be extended for an additional 3 days if required.

Taobao (Direct)

Enter Taobao, the most popular marketplace for cheap goods known to Singaporeans. Taobao might be notoriously difficult to navigate, but our shopping hacks and guides below will make Taobao shopping a breeze.

  • Delivery Speeds

Shipping Duration for most products on Taobao is generally longer: takes 3 – 5 weeks to reach your doorstep. Of course, there are faster delivery options like DHL, EMS, and China Air Mail available, but they cost more and would still take about 5 – 10 days. In short, if you heavily prioritise delivery speeds, Taobao is not for you.

  • Ease of Shopping on Taobao

The biggest hurdle for most Singaporeans for shopping on Taobao is none other than the fact that Taobao is in Mandarin. It might be daunting to most save for the fact that…

we’ve made a Taobao guide to help you navigate Taobao with ease! Check it out here!

  • Product Costs

If you’re looking for the cheapest (and sometimes quality) fashion products, accessories, and furnitures, Taobao is your answer. Refer to our Taobao’s product guide here!

  • Returns and Refunds

If you’re fluent in Mandarin, the return and refund process will be a breeze. Even if you’re not, fret not! We’ve done up a step-by-step guide on the return / refund process that you can easily follow!

Qoo10

A familiar name to most Singaporeans that came from a time before Lazada, Shopee or Taobao. Fun fact, its traffic as of June 2018 is higher than both Lazada’s and Shopee’s.

  • Delivery Speeds

Delivery speeds for both domestic and international shipments are comparable to Lazada’s and Shopee’s. Delivery time is about 1 – 5 days.

Quick Tip! Filter for “quick delivery” to get items that can be delivered fast.

  • Ease of Shopping on Qoo10

Qoo10’s layout is reminiscent of that of early marketplace players’ — cluttered with advertisements, flashy icons, and features that may be confusing to some shoppers.

That said, it isn’t difficult searching for products on Qoo10 using both the search bar and listed categories.

Note: Look past “Plus Items” in the search results if you want to see products NOT marketed by merchants.

  • Product Costs

Prices are comparable to Lazada’s and Shopee’s for the most part. Taobao is still your go-to store if you’re bargain hunting.

  • Returns and Refunds

Returns and refunds must be made strictly within 7 days upon receiving the product. No live chat function available, but you can dial in for help. More information here.

Amazon

Amazon is an international giant when it comes to online marketplaces, so right off the bat, you have the option of shopping on Amazon.com (US) or Amazon.com.sg.

  • Delivery Speeds

At just S$2.99 a month, Amazon Prime Now gives you access to thousands of locally-sourced products that will delivered to you within the next two hours AT NO ADDITIONAL COST.

Prime Now also offers products sourced internationally. Delivery takes about 2 – 9 days.

  • Ease of Shopping on Amazon

Be it browsing Amazon on mobile (Amazon Prime Now app) in Singapore or on desktop, the UI should be pretty intuitive. Reminder: Toggle your settings to “Deliver to Singapore” to filter for products that ship to Singapore!

  • Product Costs

Prices are pretty competitive here. Most notably, if you’re looking for tech products, it’s likely that you’d find it cheap on Amazon.

Also, get certain products at a cheaper price on country-specific Amazon sites (Amazon.jp, .cn, .uk, etc) – here’s our guide on how to do so! Additionally, get the low-down on Amazon hacks, and pay the LOWEST exchange rate for overseas purchases just by getting RateX (no hidden caveats)!

  • Returns and Refunds

Amazon does not offer return-shipping fee refunds unless it is clearly their fault. Return and refund policy is pretty straightforward (See here).

Amazon customer support

(Customer support) Note that the timezone is UTC – 8 (16 hours behind Singapore). i.e phone line is available from SGT 7:00 PM – 2:00 PM (+1 day).

Summary: Which Online Shopping Site Should I Use?

  • Looking for the fastest delivery speeds? Amazon Prime-now tops the chart, but Lazada, Shopee and Qoo10 are strong contenders.
  • Averse to online shopping sites that are difficult to navigate? We find Lazada to be the easiest to use, though Shopee and Amazon are close seconds.
  • Only want the cheapest online products? Taobao takes home the crown for several categories, while Amazon trumps for its electronic products.
  • Decent refund-and-return customer support service across all sites! One minor hurdle for Taobao users might be the language issue.

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