Can Taobao Deliver to the United States? Your Comprehensive Shipping Tutorial
Taobao is often likened to Amazon’s Chinese counterpart, a goldmine for savvy online shoppers. Boasting an impressive user base exceeding 800 million, this platform stands tall as a colossus in the Chinese digital market space.
But the burning question is, can you get Taobao products in the US? Indeed, Taobao offers shipping options to the US. However, the primary language on the platform is Chinese, posing a significant challenge for English-speaking shoppers in the United States.
Despite this hurdle, is there a workaround for US consumers to harness Taobao’s vast offerings?
In this guide, we will disclose all the necessary steps to procure goods from Taobao. Let’s dive into the essentials!
Situated in Hangzhou, China, Taobao reigns under the Alibaba Group’s umbrella as a powerhouse eCommerce platform.
A veteran with two decades of market presence, Taobao was initially conceptualized for the domestic Chinese market.
It emerged as a formidable rival to Eachnet, a local marketplace previously owned by eBay.
After surmounting Eachnet, Taobao clinched a commanding 60% share of the market. Renowned for facilitating consumer-to-consumer (C2C) sales, Taobao is often quoted as the go-to place for virtually any item, thanks to its staggering offering of over 1 billion products. And with such a vast inventory, Taobao’s pricing is known to be exceptionally competitive.
Is Shipping from Taobao to the US Supported?
Yes, Taobao enables shipment facilitation to the United States. That said, the shipping process is somewhat more intricate than with other Chinese commerce platforms.
Initially confined to mainland China, Taobao has recently opened shipping lanes to several countries, including:
- United States
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong, China
- Taiwan, China
- South Korea
If you hold citizenship in any of these countries or regions, you can sign up on Taobao and start shipping products your way.
What Products Are Excluded from Taobao’s US Shipping?
Taobao’s product range is extensive, but not all items are eligible for shipment to the US.
The platform enforces export policies, restricting certain sensitive goods.
Nevertheless, a Taobao agent can help send these products through alternative, secure channels. Taobao’s official shipping services do not extend to these sensitive items and will not assume responsibility if such goods are confiscated.
Below is a snapshot of items deemed too sensitive for Chinese export services:
All perishables are banned regardless of their shelf life.
Medicines or Chemicals
Strict controls are in place against the export of these substances.
Due to the risk of leakage, products like shampoo or toothpaste are disallowed.
Their potential to disrupt aircraft signals makes them a no-go for air freight..
Jewelry, art, and similar valuables are at high risk for theft and damage, hence not shippable.
The dangers associated with batteries in-flight mean devices like smartphones are off the shipping list.
Any items that pose a fire hazard, such as perfumes or oils, are prohibited.
Politically Sensitive Materials
Content that could be considered controversial regarding the Chinese state is closely monitored and likely to be seized.
Furthermore, certain items are completely forbidden for shipment, including:
For safety reasons, items like fireworks or gunpowder are strictly banned.
Controlled substances such as narcotics are predictably on the no-ship list.
Any form of weaponry is strictly excluded from shipment.
Customs will confiscate any animals, including products made from animal parts.
Knock-offs of brand-name products will be intercepted due to copyright laws.
While possible, shipping larger or heavier items incurs additional fees. The max length is 80 cm, and the combined dimensions must not exceed 150 cm. The weight limit is 22 kilograms; anything heavier may complicate your shipping process.
Please note that these size and weight restrictions can vary depending on the shipping service chosen.
Taobao has diverse products. However, not all of them can be shipped to the US. The platform has certain policies regarding exporting goods. Some sensitive products are not allowed to be shipped.
However, these products can be shipped through safer means by a Taobao agent. Taobao’s official shipping does not cover these items and won’t be responsible if your goods are seized.
How to Register for a Taobao Account in the US?
We mentioned that the Taobao website is entirely in the Chinese language. You can refer to this guide
3 Ways to Ship from Taobao to the US
There are multiple ways to ship from Taobao to the US. We’ll go through each of them and then discuss which one is the most suitable.
Taobao Official Logistics
Leveraging Taobao’s official logistics is widely regarded as the most secure method to obtain items from the platform, though it may not be the easiest. Taobao restricts its delivery options to just air and sea freight. To utilize Taobao’s official dispatch services, it’s necessary for you to input your US delivery details into your account settings. Navigate to the “shipping address” option on the sidebar of Taobao’s main page, enter your information, and confirm by saving. With your address recorded, it’s time to select your desired items and add them to your cart. When you’re set to finalize your purchase, Taobao directs you to a split payment system for check out. The initial payment includes the cost of your items and the domestic shipping fee to the warehouse. This initial transaction addresses the first leg of the delivery journey only.
Once your goods arrive at the warehouse, a confirmation will be sent to your phone. Then, you’re able to arrange for international shipping from the warehouse. Remember, your goods can be stored at the warehouse for up to 20 days at no cost. Following this, you’ll be prompted to pay for the international leg of the shipping, which commences once the payment is verified. The final step is simply to await the arrival of your order.
Alternative Third-Party Freight Forwarder Options
For an alternative shipping route, consider employing third-party freight forwarders. These entities are known for their dependability and expertise in managing deliveries from China to the US. To use their services, register on their platform to receive a designated address. This address will replace your personal one on Taobao for shipping purposes. Though similar to Taobao’s in-house service, this option involves an external handler and an additional service charge.
The Convenience of Taobao Agents
For those finding the direct purchasing process from Taobao daunting, enlisting a Taobao agent might be a wise choice. These agents or agencies take on the task of purchasing and logistical management for you.
More than mere shippers, these agents handle negotiations, quality checks, and ensure the safe delivery of your products, eliminating any language barriers. While there’s an added cost for their services, the convenience and assurance they provide can be invaluable, especially for those unfamiliar with purchasing from Chinese marketplaces.
How to Find Products on Taobao
For English speakers, sifting through Taobao’s vast marketplace has become more intuitive thanks to the image search functionality. While you could employ Google Translate to convert your search terms into Chinese, this can lead to occasional inaccuracies. The most reliable method for locating items on Taobao is to utilize the image search feature. Simply click the camera icon in the search bar and upload a picture of the desired product.
After submission, Taobao will present items that closely match your uploaded image. Impressively, Taobao also offers the option to crop the uploaded image to refine the search, a useful feature when dealing with images containing multiple products.
Understanding Taobao’s Shipping Fees to the US
The cost to ship from Taobao to the US primarily hinges on your package’s size or weight. Standard practice involves assessing the parcel’s physical attributes to determine the fee. For heavy items with a small footprint, weight becomes the key factor. Conversely, for bulky yet lightweight items, the cost is volume-dependent. That’s why shipping low-weight, high-volume items like pillows from Taobao isn’t cost-effective, as charges are based on the space occupied, not the weight.
Taobao facilitates shipping cost calculation for each parcel awaiting consolidation. To get the exact shipping fee, visit the cross-border logistics management section on Taobao’s main page. Remember, these rates are specific to Taobao’s official logistics. Choosing a third-party shipper will incur additional fees.
- Strategies to Minimize Taobao Shipping Costs to the US
Shipping from Taobao to the US may involve some experimentation to discover the most efficient and affordable method. Taobao offers competitive global rates, yet you must smartly manage your shipping expenses. Excluding third-party services, focusing on Taobao’s official logistics is your primary option. But, how can you reduce costs within this constraint? Here are some tactics that might help:
- Select Products Intelligently
Use Taobao’s cost structure to your benefit. Shipping fees are based on either weight or volume. Hence, two items of identical size but different values will incur the same shipping charge. Opt for smaller, lighter items with greater value to maximize your shipping investment. While product requirements might limit flexibility, this approach can offer significant savings.
Engage with the Seller
Though Taobao sellers may not typically speak English, having them as allies can be advantageous. Negotiations can extend beyond product pricing to strategic packaging that minimizes shipping costs. Combining items might reduce the likelihood of separate taxes on each item. These tactics necessitate a cooperative seller and clear communication.
Smart Order Consolidation
The frequency and volume of your order consolidation can impact shipping costs. Some sellers waive shipping fees when your purchase surpasses a specific amount. Therefore, it’s wise to fill your cart to meet these thresholds.
How to Select the Right Taobao Agent for your needs ?
Finding a Taobao agent is easy, but ensuring you’re not defrauded requires a bit of homework. Here’s a quick guide to navigate this task:
Start with a Google Search
Kick off your search by looking up Taobao agents on Google. You’ll find plenty of forums that discuss and recommend credible agents. Compile a list of potential agents and initiate contact using their provided information.
Assess Their Communication
Communication is crucial when selecting a Taobao agent. Pay attention to their response time, clarity, and professionalism. A lack of effective communication often indicates poor service down the line.
Compare Service and Rates
Agents will vary in the services they offer and their fees. Take note of what each agent provides, weigh your options, and scrutinize their online reputation. Check their profiles and customer feedback to gauge their reliability.
Make Your Decision
After thorough research, proceed with the agent who meets your criteria. Even with careful selection, there’s a slim chance you might not find the perfect match. If that happens, switch agents promptly rather than abandoning the platform altogether.
FAQs: Taobao Shipping to the US
What’s the Delivery Timeframe for Taobao Orders to the US?
Expect Taobao orders to arrive in the US within 10-20 days. The forwarding time from Taobao to the shipping agent typically takes 3-7 business days, followed by another 1-2 weeks for the forwarder to send items to your US address.
How Should I Pay for Taobao Purchases?
Taobao primarily uses Alipay, which requires a verified account. Alternatively, customers can pay with VISA, JCB, or Mastercard, incurring a nominal 3% transaction fee.
Which is the Optimal Shipping Method from Taobao?
The ideal shipping method depends on your items. Air shipping is preferable for lightweight goods, while sea shipping suits heavier products better.
Is AliExpress Superior to Taobao?
AliExpress and Taobao each have their advantages. AliExpress is user-friendly for those unfamiliar with Chinese online shopping, while Taobao offers significant savings for those willing to navigate its complexities.
Taobao’s reputation as China’s equivalent to Amazon is well-deserved. The platform’s potential for international expansion is vast, though language and operational barriers exist. For those new to Chinese e-commerce, partnering with a Taobao agent can simplify the process.
Super International Shipping – Your Taobao Shipping Solution
Looking to tap into Taobao’s offerings? Let Super International Shipping assist you. Our experienced agents are ready to source products on your behalf at competitive rates. Submit a freight request, and we’ll help you seamlessly connect with Taobao’s marketplace.