6 Simple Steps to help English Speakers use Taobao

Wanting to shop on Taobao but finding the platform difficult to navigate in English?

While shopping on Taobao can save you loads of money, Taobao isn’t available in English, which means navigating the website can be difficult. However, shopping on Taobao gives you access to such low pricing that putting in the effort to learn how to navigate the platform is really worthwhile.

I’m sure you’re ready to start accessing all the low-priced items that Taobao has to offer so, I’m going to tell you about:

  • Purchasing Taobao products via an agent
  • The steps involved with ordering a particular item on Taobao

Purchasing Taobao products via an agent

Buying items on Taobao via an agent is one option, and many people use this option. However, there are two disadvantages to buying items from Taobao via an agent. Firstly, if you buy directly from an agent, you will have to pay the agent a fee of up to 10% of the value of the orders placed.

Secondly, you will have to pay for additional shipping charges. The additional shipping costs are to cover the shipping charges between the agent and yourself. But fear not, there are ways to navigate Taobao even without an English interface!


Let’s walk through a clear example

Let’s imagine you are looking to buy high-quality white towels, similar to what one could expect in a 5-star hotel. Now I will walk through an example of how you might find these on Taobao.

1. Set Taobao to “Translate to English”

Taobao English

Use a Google Chrome browser so that you can access the Google translate tool.

Right-click on the page and select the option “Translate to English.” Keep in mind; you will likely end up having to re-select “Translate to English” many times while you are using Taobao. Just remember, every time the site reverts to Chinese, right-click and select “Translate to English” again.


2. Register an account

Before you are able to search for items on the Taobao platform, you will need to sign up for a Taobao account. Click on “Register for an account”. You will then be redirected to a new page where you will need to input your name, address, and phone number.

Once you’ve done this, Taobao will then will send you a One Time Password to verify your details in order to complete the registration process.

3. Start searching for items

You are now able to start searching for items on Taobao.  As mentioned above, let’s say you want to buy hotel-grade bathroom towels—type “hotel towel” into the search bar. Google Chrome will do a pretty decent job translating and should provide you with a variety of search results. If you scan the search results, you should expect to see words like “5-star hotel”.

However, in order to make purchasing from Taobao as efficient as possible, we recommend you improve the quality of your search results by sorting via “Sales from high to low”. Selecting the “list” display also helps to make a better sense of the search results.

The higher the sales volume, the better. Checking the sales volume will also help you to determine if the seller is genuine.

Taobao English


4. Time to checkout

Before you select your products, first, you need to set up your shipping address. The easiest way to set up your shipping address is to first click on your username on the top left corner of the screen. You will then be redirected to your profile. Next, select the shipping address. The only tricky thing here is that you need to be sure to input your address in a single line.

To be clear (and in order to save you a lot of time), do NOT input your address as follows:
2C Smith Building
8 Ford Street

Instead, you need to input your address like this:
2C Smith Building, 8 Ford Street

Make sure that you click on “Save” after you finalize your shipping address.  This will ensure that you only have to fill out your address once. Ready to checkout? Select “Go to the cart settlement” to complete the transaction.


5. Select logistics

Now you should expect to see multiple logistics options, as per below.

You can either:

  • Choose to have the seller directly send the items to you. This means your items will be sent to you immediately in individual packages. You will pay the shipping fee when you purchase the item.
  • Select to have your items consolidated and sent via sea freight. This is the lowest cost option. If you select this option, your items will be sent to Taobao’s warehouse in China to be registered. They will then be consolidated into a single parcel (in order to minimize shipping costs) and then sent to you via sea freight.
  • Or, choose to have your items consolidated but sent via SF Express. For this option, your items will be consolidated at the Taobao warehouse in China, and then they will quickly be sent to your home via SF express in one bundle.

We personally prefer the first option of having the seller ship the products directly to our homes. This is painless and doesn’t require you to log on again to help confirm that you have completed your shopping and that you’re ready for your items to be consolidated.


6. Pay

Taobao English

The final step is to pay for your items. If it’s your first time purchasing an item on Taobao, you will need to set up a six-digit “payment password”.

Next, you will need to input your credit card details. This is a simple process. Your card details will likely pre-populate, and if they don’t, then just use the google translate function. Once your payment is confirmed, you will receive an email confirmation so that you can follow up in case anything goes wrong. Enjoy your luxurious bath towels!

Have we missed your best tips about ordering from Taobao? Reach out to us on Instagram or Facebook and let us know your top picks.



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