What is Taobao Daigou

How do you order on Taobao?
The German Taobao Guide from ICC

By ICC editor Lars-Pascal Reuter

Jack Ma founded alibaba.com in 1999 as a trading and communication platform for companies and thus laid the foundation for a huge IT empire, the Alibaba Group. The subsidiary "Taobao" 淘宝网 has meanwhile become the online shopping portal par excellence in the PRC and has ousted western internet giants such as eBay and Amazon from the market. But how do you order from Taobao?

You can read here what exactly Taobao is all about, what makes the portal so successful and popular. With another subsidiary, Alibaba has long been trying to gain a foothold in the international market. "Aliexpress" is also enjoying increasing popularity in Germany, as the prices are significantly lower and at the same time a larger selection compared to German Internet shops. Despite Alibaba's foray into the foreign market and the large selection on Aliexpress, it cannot be compared to the variety of its big brother - Taobao. For expats and students in Asia in particular, it is significantly cheaper to order from Taobao instead of Aliexpress, but bargain hunters in German-speaking countries can also find one or the other deal on the Chinese side. However, if one does not speak the Chinese language, this can be a very frustrating and adventurous endeavor. ICC guides you through the individual registration steps on Taobao.com and gives tips on what to look out for when looking for goods.

Step 1: Create a user account on Taobao.com

In order to be able to pursue your desire to consume on Taobao.com, you of course need a Taobao.com user account. To do this, first go to the website www.taobao.com. You will notice the word “免费 Ihnen” (free registration) in the upper left corner of the website. This link will take you directly to the Taobao registration form. (Fig.1.1)

Figure 1.1 (click to enlarge)

In the next step you will be asked to enter your mobile phone number. This step is also possible in English - click on the "English" button. Apart from the registration process, the entire Taobao website is written in Chinese. You can also register using your email address, but Taobao will always use your mobile phone number to inform you of all transactions you make. In addition, this step brings a lot more security, as Taobao will ask you to confirm your identity before each transaction. Before each payment process, you will receive an SMS with a code to make abuse more difficult. Make sure that the mobile phone number corresponds to your respective country. If you have a German cell phone number, select the item "德国 +49" in the menu, with a Chinese phone number look for the menu item "中国 +86". Then move the slider to the right and verify your entry. After both pieces of information have been accepted, click on “下一步” to continue. (Fig.1.2)

Figure 1.2 (click to enlarge)

On the last page you will now see the mobile phone number you specified, including the country code. Choose a password in the first field and repeat this one below. In the last input field, you will be asked to enter a user name that you are free to choose. If all information is correct and permissible, click on "确定" to confirm your details. (Fig. 1.3)

Figure 1.3 (click to enlarge)

Congratulations, you have successfully created a user account on Taobao.com! (Fig. 1.4)

Figure 1.4 (click to enlarge)

Step 2: Save the delivery address on Taobao

In order to be able to purchase goods from Taobao, you must first provide your delivery address. To do this, log in to the website with your new Taobao account. To do this, click on “亲 , 请 登录” and enter your user name and password. (Fig.2.1)

Figure 2.1 (click to enlarge)

You will then find yourself on the homepage of Taobao.com. In order to be able to enter your delivery address, you have to go to the members area. To do this, click on “我 的 淘 宝” (My Taobao). Then select the menu item "我 的 收货 地址" (My delivery address). (Fig.2.2)

Figure 2.2 (click to enlarge)

In the subsequent form, make sure that the menu item "海外 其他" (overseas and others) is selected if the delivery address is not in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Malaysia. If you are ordering from Germany, then select the menu item "德国" for Germany. Taobao then asks for your address, zip code and the name of the recipient. At least one phone number must also be given under which you can be reached. Check your details again and then click on “保存” to save your address. (Fig. 2.3)

Figure 2.3 (click to enlarge)

Step 3: Set up an Alipay account

Next, you need an Alipay account to be able to pay for goods purchases on Taobao. Alipay is the Chinese counterpart to PayPal and enables you to make a simple and secure payment process. The online payment service is another subsidiary of the Alibaba group of companies and is required for an order with Taobao. Alipay also offers you convenient payment by Western credit card (Visa or Mastercard). Expats with a Chinese debit card can of course take advantage of this. To set up an Alipay user account, first click on "我 的 淘 宝" (My Taobao). Then select the menu item "我 的 支付 宝" (My Alipay). You will then be redirected to the Alipay website. (Fig.3.1)

Figure 3.1

The link should lead you directly to the account login. At the beginning of the registration form you will see your mobile phone number, which you entered when you registered on Taobao. This functions both at Alipay and Taobao at the same time as an ID or user name with which you can also log in. Alipay takes over your Taobao user data, so your username and password for Alipay and Taobao are the same. Select a (payment) password in the first text field and repeat it. This password is requested before every Alipay transaction, similar to PayPal. Afterwards the full first and last name as well as the gender must be given. "男" stands for the male gender, "女" for the female. In the drop-down menu below, you will be asked to select an identification document. Since you probably do not have a Chinese identity card, select "护照" for "Passport" and enter your passport number in the field below. The line "职业" asks for your occupation, as this is basically irrelevant for the use of Alipay, select any menu item. In the illustration, “学生” is selected for “Student”. Finally, Alipay will ask for your contact address within China or your location outside of China. If you are not in China, select “海外” for “Overseas” in both drop-down menus and simply enter “Germany” in the text field below. Click on “„ ”to apply the information. (Fig.3.2)

Figure 3.2 (click to enlarge)

Your Alipay account has been set up successfully! After a short confirmation you will find yourself in the Alipay main menu. However, since you are using a non-Chinese credit card, you can exit this immediately and go back to Taobao.com to start shopping. Have lots of fun with it!

Step 4: The correct search for goods on Taobao

Now let's get to the actual shopping on Taobao.com. The biggest hurdle here is the language barrier, which is why you will find a list of search terms and the corresponding translation below. In principle, some products can also be found with English search terms if the relevant retailer has specified them in the product description. Nevertheless, it is recommended to work with Chinese script. If the directory is not sufficient, a translation with the Google Translator is sufficient in many cases. Just enter the German search term into the tool and copy the Chinese translation into the Taobao search bar. If the result does not meet your requirements, try using a synonym for the German term. Alternatively, Taobao offers its customers a special feature - the product search using images. If you are looking for a specific product and do not know the Chinese term for it, just click on the camera symbol in the Taobao search bar. Upload a photo showing the product you want and Taobao will offer you product suggestions. Once you have found the product you are looking for or a potentially interesting product, it is now important to check whether the dealer offers international shipping. In our example, the desired product is a smartphone case priced at 9.90 RMB. From the illustration you can see that there is a line with delivery information below the price indicated. The green marked field shows from which location the retailer is sending the product, in this case "广东 深圳" (The city of Shenzhen in the province of Guangdong). The red field is of particular interest and indicates the delivery location. You can use the drop-down menu to check whether the retailer offers an international shipment. To do this, select “Overseas” in the menu “海外”. Taobao will show you in the blue marked field how much the shipping costs are. In our example, there is a 30 RMB fee for an international delivery. Once you have decided on a purchase, click on the button with the shopping cart to place the product in your shopping cart. If you cannot find the point "海外" in the drop-down menu, this dealer does not offer international shipping. In this case, check whether there are other dealers who have your desired product on offer and whether they offer shipping to Germany. (Fig. 4)

Figure 4 (click to enlarge)

Step 5: Check Out and Pay on Taobao

The last step will be the check-out and the payment process. If you have placed all the desired products in the cart and would like to order them, you have to go to the "Shopping cart" area - click on "购物 车" in the Taobao bar. You will now find all the products you have selected in your shopping cart, just as you are used to from any other online shop. If all products are to be purchased, the "全 选" box must be ticked. If you want to pay for individual products, select them separately and continue. To continue with the ordering process, click on "结算". (Fig.5.1)

Figure 5.1 (click to enlarge)

On the following page you will now see a summary of all products to be paid for with the respective prices and additional shipping costs. In addition, below you can see the total price to be paid for the entire order. In our example only one product is selected, so the unit price including shipping costs is the same as the total price of the order. Check again that the delivery address is correct or, if necessary, enter a different address and confirm your order. (Fig.5.2)

Figure 5.2 (click to enlarge)

Taobao.com will then automatically forward them to Alipay. Anyone who has already gained experience with PayPal will be familiar with this. On Alipay you will now be asked to pay for your order. In addition, most of the items on this form are in English, which means that there is no need to label the illustration. Now enter your credit card information and complete the order. (Fig. 6)

Figure 6 (click to enlarge)

Congratulations, you have successfully placed an order on Taobao.com! Nevertheless, please note the German import regulations with every order.
Have fun browsing!

Note from the ICC editorial team: Despite thorough research, we assume no liability or responsibility for orders placed on Taobao or other shopping portals!

More on the subject:

Buying mouthguards from China - this must be taken into account when purchasing breathing masks

Online Marketing for China and Chinese Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Chinese contract shopping abroad - the Daigou phenomenon

Taobao - China's largest online auction platform at a glance

Jack Ma and Alibaba - a Chinese Internet Success Story


Keyword index for Taobao

Colors: (can simply be inserted before the search term)

Red - 红色

blue - 蓝色

Yellow - 换 色

green - 绿色

black - 黑色

white - 白色

brown - 咖啡色

purple - 之 色

gray - 灰色

orange - 橙色

pink - 粉色

Women clothing:

Dress - 连衣裙

Rock - 裙子

Tights - 连 袜裤

T-shirt - 女 T 恤

Evening dress - 小 礼服

Jacket - 女 夹克

Coat - 女 大衣

Beanie - 女 帽子

Leggings - 紧身裤

Sweater - 女 毛衣

Scarf - 女 围巾

Boots - 女 靴子

Sneakers - 女 球鞋

Underpants - 女 内裤

Bra - 文胸

Socks - 女袜

Wristwatch - 女 手表

Belt - 女 皮带

Handbag - 手袋

Sunglasses - 女 太阳镜

Men's clothing:

Shirt - 男 衬衫

Pants - 男 裤子

Jeans - 男 牛仔裤

Polo shirt - 保罗 t 恤 男 短袖

Shorts - 男 短裤

T-shirt- 男 T 恤

Suit - 西服

Tie - 领带

Jacket - 男 夹克

Coat - 男 大衣

Beanie - 男 帽子

Sweater - 男 毛衣

Scarf - 男 围巾

Boots - 男 靴子

Sneakers - 男 球鞋

Boxer shorts - 男 平角 裤

Socks - 男 袜

Wristwatch - 男 手表

Basecap - 鸭舌帽

Belt - 男 皮带

Sunglasses - 男 太阳镜

Category: Online Business China, Online Shopping China, Taobao, Taobao InstructionsTags: China Online Shopping, Chinese Luxury Shopping, Online Marketing China