Taobao Buying Guide

Taobao, a place where people in China buy everything from rubber stamps to cabinets. However, barriers like payment and shipping exist for foreigners. Buying from Taobao may be a hassle and unknown territory for many people. Hence, this post serves as a guide to those who wish to explore Taobao by themselves.

First, go to You will however, be automatically redirected to (Taobao Sea) or (Taobao World), depending on your location. Using Taobao SEA as an example, you will see the image below.

However, Taobao SEA has a much lesser variety of products compared to Taobao Mainland. Click on the option at the top right corner as shown in the picture below to go to Taobao Mainland.

Search for your item, and a list of items and shops will be displayed. There are a few indicators of a shop to look out for.

The ratings of the shop are represented by 3 factors –  description (of product), service and speed of delivery respectively. Green (arrow down) represents below average, while red ( ‘=’ and arrow up) represents average and above average respectively. The ratings can be found somewhere on the shop’s page (no fixed location).

You may wish to avoid shops with green rating(s) as actual product may differ from the description, with bad services and slow delivery. A guide would be to only buy from shops with all 3 red ratings.

The credibility and reputation of a shop is determined by the total sales volume to date and indicated by hearts, diamonds and crowns. Shops start off with 1 heart. 5 hearts and the next level will be 1 diamond. After diamonds will be crowns, followed by gold crowns.

As a general guide, people will put their trust in a particular shop once it has hit diamond reputation as it would have been around long enough to reach the sales volume required of a diamond level.

You may also wish to find the comments customers have for the shop/item. Just search for the option indicated in the picture below:

This sums up a general guide of buying from Taobao. Buy from reputable and trustable shops, and the probability of you being disappointed with your shopping experience will be greatly reduced.

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