Monday, 12 August 2013

Guide to Taobao

I thought for my first post on here it would only be fitting to do a guide on using Taobao, as you would know if you follow me on Tumblr or Instagram that I purchase a large majority of my items from here.

First of all, what is Taobao?
Taobao is a large marketplace, similar to Ebay, but it mainly consists of fixed prices. To buy items from Taobao, you will need to use a shopping service (which is a service who will purchase your items, have them shipped to their address, then ship them to you), as most Taobao stores do not ship outside of China. Some popular shopping services are  Taobao Spree, Taobao Now or Yoybuy, I personally use Yoybuy for the majority of my hauls. 

So how does Taobao work?
First of all, the entire site is in Chinese, so you may want to use Google Translate to translate the content. Users with Google Chrome have the option to automatically translate pages, and can also use this handy Currency Converter plugin. You can also use XE. All prices on Taobao are in renminbi (RMB) (the unit is called yuan (CNY)), which uses the ¥ or 元 yen symbol.

What sizes do they carry?
Normally most sellers will state the measurements on the item pages, including any information about custom sizes (you can ask your shopping service to inquire about this, or sizes in general if you're unsure).
You can use this clothing chart and shoes chart and compare with your country's size charts, in order to figure out which size to get. You can also use an international size converter for clothes/underwear to help you further.

Now once you understand these principals, its time to start searching for your items, below is an image of the Taobao search bar. 

Now, how do you find things? It's exactly the same as ebay, but with google translate.

 1. Combine your keywords
Type of clothing, or item, brand or colour. It can be anything from one word to five, or more. Translate these words to Chinese. If it's a brand or well-known word spelled with our roman letters, however, like for example Liz Lisa or Rilakkuma - you don't have to translate.

Combine the Chinese words with the English words when necessary. It can look like this "Liz Lisa 裙子" - "Liz Lisa skirt".

2. Keywords
If you would like some ideas for keywords check out these two different lists: 1, 2 
Some keywords that I tend to search are Liz Lisa, vivi, lena, candy stripper, dazzlin

3. Once you find a product you like, you'll see a display like this

 Price: The price is the number in the orange font (90.30 which converts to approximately $14.73 US at the moment.

Size: Where it says S, this varies between items, some have sizes from S to XL, and some only have one size (one-size-fits-all which is usually between an Aus size 6 -12 ~ US size 2-8).

Color: The two boxes underneath the S are the different colours (translate these with google chrome). This skirt comes in two varieties of pink.

Once you understand all that you also need to know that just like ebay, Taobao is filled with a variety of stores.

If you are looking at a particular item and would like to see what other items they sell, look to the right hand side until you see this column: 
If you click on the bold text (vivachicades..) you will be directed to the stores home page.

For a list of different stores visit the following links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 

Purchase guide: 
Go to your Taobao agent's homepage, look for an "ordering procedure" page, read it carefully and if there's something you don't understand, look up the address and send an email to support.

I will do a little guided tour of yoybuy when I place my next order, which hopefully will be soon hehe ^-^

I hope that this has helped in understanding Taobao a little better, its actually a very easy process once you understand all the basic principals~

If you have any questions please contact me here:


  1. what about creating an account? they ask for a phone verification and then they send you a sms with a code but i never received it. :(

    1. On taobao or your shopping service? Don't make an account on taobao, you can't purchase straight from them. If it is your shopping service then I would email them.

  2. ok, i followed your shoe size chart, and found out my shoe size is 24.5 ... every awesome pair of shoes i want is like 35+ and no smaller. why!? ugh i need more cute shoessss. am i doing something wrong?

    1. i'm us size 7.5, so that makes me a 24.5 in chinese, right? because all the sizing charts are 35+ and i'm confused

    2. Um well im a size 8 - 8.5 and normally get a size 39, so maybe try a size 38?

  3. Hello,
    Do you know if they deliver in Europe?
    Thanks <3

  4. I was scrolling on you blog (bcus i love it!) and finally found this amazing post on how to shop from taobao! I mean, I use Spreepicky but now I have a wider range of possibilities! eep! arigato gozaimazu ^^

    -chibiamby ♥

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