So you’ve heard all your friends talk about the fantastic deals they’ve managed to score on Taobao (up to 10% cash reward) on everything from clothes to furniture. You’re also really excited because 11.11 Singles’ Day is just around the corner and you’re ready to…

1111 Singles' Day Buy All Things
Image Credit: Hyperbole and a Half | imgflip

But when you open, you realise that…

It's In Chinese
Image Credit: Hyperbole and a Half | imgflip

HAVE NO FEAR! ShopBack is here! Whether you wish to:

We got you covered.

And if you appreciate such helpful guides, show us some love and follow us on our Telegram channel! We’ll even let you in on awesome deals and discounts on your favourite merchants. All in English of course.

FACEBOOK LIVEDecorate Your Dream Home On A Budget with Taobao

Facebook live taobao

Are you looking to renovate or moving into a new place? Discover how you can buy everything you need for your home on Taobao based on recommendations from real homeowners. Watch a recording of our Facebook Live where we share the best tips and tricks on how to choose only the best and save while you do it!

How To Buy Directly From Taobao

If your first reaction when looking at the Taobao website is “这可以吃的吗?” (literal translation: “Can I eat this?”; or loosely translated: “What is this?”). Well… You’re in the right place.

Step 1: Creating An Account

In case you didn’t know, it is now possible to buy from Taobao and ship directly to Singapore. The only requirement you need is a basic grasp of Chinese or – at the very least – the patience and ability to match Chinese characters.

  1. Translate The Page

Before heading to, we highly recommend using Google’s Chrome browser as it allows you to perform a page translation. It’ll look a little bit funny, but at least you can figure out what’s going on. Simply click on “Free registration” (next to “Login”) and you’ll be redirected to a registration page (available in English!) where you can create your account.

Taobao Screengrab 1

  1. Create Your Account

You’ll also need to key-in a verification code sent to your local mobile number, as well as a password, email address, and username.

Taobao Screengrab 2

  1. Welcome To Taobao

You are now ready to begin your Taobao shopping journey. And just in case you were wondering, your Taobao account can also be used to login and shop on TMall (up to 10% cash reward)!

Taobao Screengrab 3

Step 2: The Shopping Experience

This is where it gets a little tricky. Also, you’ll want to have Google Translate and a currency converter handy.

  1. Get It Translated

Let’s say you’d like to get a new pair of ripped jeans to replace your old erm… jeans that are a little ripped…

Nick Young Confused
Image Credit: giphy

You’ll need the Chinese translation of the item that you wish to search for.

Google Translate Ripped Jeans

  1. Searching For Your Item

Copy and paste the translation into the Taobao search bar to perform a search. If you can muster up more specific descriptions to narrow down your search like “破牛仔裤女 破洞 韩版” (Translation: ripped jeans for women, ripped holes, Korean style), you’ll be able to get better results.

If you have an image of a model in a pair of ripped jeans that you like, you can also upload it to do a reverse image search. Just click on the camera logo (see the red arrow).

Taobao Screengrab 4

By the way, the prices are in Chinese Renminbi and not Japanese Yen. Even though both currencies use the same symbol (¥). So FYI: that ¥69 pair of ripped denim jeans actually costs SGD$13.72 and NOT SGD$0.80.

(Writer’s note: The latter price point would have crashed the internet as millions would flock to the Chinese marketplace and started carting out stuff at random because everything is so RIDICULOUSLY CHEAP.)

Taobao Shopping Pro Tip 1

To get even better results, choose to sort by "销量" or "Sales volume". That way, you'll get the best options in terms of popularity, price, and quality. From there, you'll need to look for the listing with:

  • The highest number of reviews
  • A lot of positive reviews and/or picture reviews
  • Most responsive to questions or feedback left by customers

And if you see similar listings, choose the one which gives you the best discount or bundle deal!


Before you start searching and adding to cart, you’ll want to pay attention to the next step.

Step 3: Get Cashback With ShopBack CashBack Button

If you want to take it one step further and save even more, you’ll need to get the ShopBack CashBack Button installed.

Earn Taobao cashback through Shopback's browser extension

You’ll also need a ShopBack account (if you don’t already have one).

And guess what? The CashBack Button does more than just help you shop on Taobao and Tmall, it also helps you to discover stores that offer cashback in your Google search results, and you’ll also get notified when cashback is available at the store you’re browsing on.

Ron Weasley Wicked
Image Credit: Harry Potter | giphy

(Writer’s note: Admit it. You just read that in Ron Weasley’s voice.)

  1. Search For Your Items Using ShopBack CashBack Buddy

Once you have the CashBack Buddy installed and have logged into your ShopBack account. Fire up again. Copy and paste the Chinese name of the item you’re searching for into the extension search bar (see the red arrowwhich appears on the top right-hand corner of your browser.

For the sake of continuity, we’re going to search for Korean style, ripped jeans for women or “破牛仔裤女 破洞 韩版”. Click “Activate” to search.

Taobao Screengrab 5

  1. Understanding The Listings

You’ll be shown a selection of listings on Taobao which will give you cashback. You’ll also notice that the listings might differ slightly from what you were shown earlier when you did a search without the CashBack Button.

Taobao Screengrab 6

  1. Make Your Selection

Simply choose the listing that best matches what you’re looking for. Refer to our Taobao Shopping Pro Tip 1 to maximise your shopping experience.

Taobao Screengrab 7

  1. Get SGD$5 Bonus Cashback (1 to 13 November 2018)

If you’re looking for an extra incentive to use ShopBack’s Cashback Button to shop on Taobao or Tmall, we’re giving an SGD$5 bonus cashback for those who use the extension to make a Taobao or Tmall order for the first time!

ShopBack Cashback Buddy

For fans who are already using and reaping the benefits of shopping with ShopBack’s Cashback Button, keep using the extension to discover online shops which can also give you cashback!

Step 4: Order And Payment

This is where it gets REALLY tricky because Google Translate DOES NOT translate the order form. Once again, we’re here to help you with that.

  1. After clicking “Buy Now”, you’ll be redirected to a page which asks you for your shipping details. Click on “切换” to change your country.

Taobao Screengrab 8

  1. Select “新加坡” for Singapore.

Taobao Screengrab 9

  1. Fill in your details as shown below. And remember to check the box (see the red arrow) if you’d like to make the shipping address that you provided, your default one. Once done, click “保存” (the blue button) to Save.

Taobao Screengrab 10

  1. Here, you’ll be presented with 2 options:
  • Option 1 is Global Direct Shipping or “直送” which means that the cost of shipping from the seller is auto-calculated for you upon checkout.
  • Option 2 is Global Consolidate & Shipping or “集运”. Taobao is a marketplace consisting of sellers from all over China, so if you make purchases from different sellers who are located all over the country, this option allows them to ship your items to a central warehouse. Thereafter, someone will consolidate them in one parcel and ship them to Singapore. However, you’ll have to make payment twice. Once for your items plus the costs of shipping them to the central warehouse, and once more for shipping to Singapore.

Taobao Screengrab 11

Taobao Shopping Pro Tip 2

Should you choose Global Direct Shipping or Global Consolidate & Shipping? Well... It depends.

Let's say you ordered an iPhone case, a T-shirt, and a ceramic vase from individual sellers all around China.

  • If you need the iPhone case ASAP, then you'll want to go with Global Direct Shipping because whenever the individual seller is done wrapping up your purchase, they'll mail it out to you straight. The downside of doing this is that you'll be getting three separate parcels when they all could've fit into one. It also means that you might have to pay a little more overall for extra packaging and boxes for them to ship your orders separately and safely.


  • If you don't need your purchases urgently, you can opt for Global Consolidate & Shipping and all of your orders will arrive in one package. This way you don't have to be home for three separate occasions just to receive your items. You just need to be home for one. Plus you'll save a little in terms of shipping costs because your order has been consolidated.


If you selected Option 2, you’ll have Option 3 to contend with. Modification Service Provider or “修改服务商” is where you can choose from various courier or forwarding services depending on the size and weight of your purchases (Note: This is especially important for those buying furniture or bulky items)

For your ease of reference, the folks at Taobao have put together a very helpful table (in English!) which you can find on their website:

Taobao Shipping Options
Image Credit: Taobao
  1. Once done, simply click on “Submit orders” or “提交订单” to pay.

Taobao Screengrab 12

All you have to do now is wait for your baby to be delivered.

Yeah… About that.

You might have noticed throughout your entire Taobao shopping experience that there’re a lot of worrying terms like “Shop baby”, “Already purchased baby”, “check the baby that has been bought”…

Relax, you’re not ACTUALLY buying babies. Taobao simply refers to your purchases or items as “宝贝” (literal translation: baby; loosely translated: treasure or precious).

Gollum Precious
Image Credit: imgflip

(Writer’s note: Made you read it in Gollum’s voice. Haha.)

How To Buy From Taobao, Through Lazada

If you just want a more seamless shopping experience and not deal with the language barrier. You can choose to shop Taobao through Lazada. The great thing about shopping through Lazada is that you’ll find more reliable and trustworthy sellers from Taobao there. This means that there’s a lower chance of your purchase turning out like this:

Spongebob Squarepants Ice Cream Fail
Image Credit: puyol | Reddit

Step 1: Creating An Account

Erm… Really?

Lazada Screengrab 1

Step 2: The Shopping Experience

Searching for “Korean style ripped jeans for women” from Taobao is as easy as typing it into the search bar. Just make sure that you’re looking at the Taobao Collection on Lazada.

Lazada Screengrab 2

Step 3: Order And Payment

Erm… Sure… Here’s how you to do it.

Lazada Screengrab 3

And just pay as usual.

Another great thing about Lazada is that they offer free shipping with a minimum spend of SGD$20. However, you ‘ll have to contend with a limited selection of Taobao products to choose from.

How To Buy From Taobao, Through An Agent

If you’re adamant about buying the product you saw on Taobao, but don’t want to figure out the various shipping options. You have the option of getting a third-party agent to buy and ship it to you.

Some agents include:

  • EK Link (Facebook group)
  • Oops
  • Peeka
  • SGshop

These agents will offer assisted purchase services in English which are often called “Buy4U” or “Buy For Me”, and etc. All you usually need is the product URL from Taobao and you’re set. Disclaimer: there’s usually a fee involved when using agents. But the great thing about using them is that they’ll pretty much take care of every step of the payment, shipping, and delivery process right to your door step.

Shopping on Taobao has never been easier.

Shopping Like A Boss
Image Credit: giphy

So… Which Option Should You Choose?

It really depends on how proficient you are in Chinese as well as the type of items you are ordering.

Buy From Taobao Direct – If you converse with your “哥儿们” (Translation: buddies) regularly on WeChat and understand why “spoon” in Chinese is “汤匙” here in Singapore but “勺子” in China. It’s probably cheaper and faster to order directly from Taobao. But do bear in mind that you’ll have to talk to customer service or the seller in Chinese if things go south.

Buy From Taobao Through Lazada – If Chinese characters look like an alien language to you, and you really can’t be bothered to figure out the various shipping options and charges. Then shop Lazada’s Taobao Collection. It’s not as comprehensive as shopping on Taobao but at least you know what you’re going to get. PSA: some of our Facebook community members have pointed out that their experience with shipping and delivery for Lazada Taobao items – specifically – is mixed.

Buy From Taobao Through Agents – If you’re ordering heavy items like furniture, then you might want to go with third-party agents. They’ve gotten sea freight down to an art (Writer’s note: Unless you’re the high-SES type and want to ship by air… Which doesn’t make sense because you’re shopping on Taobao to save money…). They’ll also take good care of your items and you’ll have the benefit of proper tracking and delivery of your order – for a fee of course.

Have any tips or hacks on how to shop on Taobao? Let us know in the comments below!

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