Ezbuy has been trying to get back onto shipping Taobao goods again, and the strategy they employed of late is to change the forwarding address frequently, plus, using funny looking addresses. The most recent forwarding address is 阳光海鲜大排档转凤岗韵达网点转xxx (where xxx is your user id). That’s the name of a restaurant if you’re not well versed in Chinese.
Anyway, Taobao caught up with the game (or maybe they were just lenient for a while) and managed to block Ezbuy from stealing business again. When i tried to check-out, i was led to the following screen, which is pretty much the same as what was prompted to Ezbuy users a year ago when Taobao first launched the move to block users from using Ezbuy forwarding.
I did manage to use Ezbuy ship-for-me twice in recent times though. Oh well.
Apparently, Ezbuy is now blocked from forwarding Amazon purchases (for selected items). I turn to vPost for now, but i hope Ezbuy will be back in action (Update: i shipped another Amazon order to ezbuy warehouse and it worked). I believe they’re still the cheapest around.
Saw something familiar in the Shopback mailer today – ezbuy! 6% cashback for Prime, buy-for-me and ship-for-me (8% during the current 2 days promotion which you’ll likely miss out on unless you happen to have something in their China warehouses right now, or you’re planning to buy something from Taobao right now).
I don’t know when they will clamp down on the coupon code “65APP15” (case-sensitive), but until then i’ve been enjoying 15% discount off the shipping when i do ship-for-me (which is all i do). If i were to get another 6% cashback, it means overall, i will be getting a 20% discount off the shipping fee.
I suspect this is just for a limited period only, just like for Qoo10. In any case, you’re missing out on a lot of rebates if you haven’t signed up for Shopback, so do it now!
Update 13 July 2016
Promo already over. As suspected, this was just a sprint campaign to reach out to the Shopback customer base.
I’ve debated with myself over the need to get an Airfryer for a long time, since i generally don’t eat deep fried stuff much, and knowing that an Airfryer is nothing but a mini oven with a turbo fan, but all along, I’ve pictured a scene in mind – eating home-made cheese fries with fried chicken wings while sipping home-made beer. Yes, I dream of recreating a cafe/bar at home. I finally succumbed and bought an Airfryer to see if this would bring me one step closer to my dream.
Deep frying is quite a hassle, everyone knows that. I should say that is the main reason i avoid doing it. You need to use a lot of oil, and often bits of the food stays in the oil until they’re burnt, rendering the oil useless for further use. Not to mention, your kitchen gets greasy after doing just very little deep frying. Using an automatic fryer would help, but that usually means using even more oil, and it takes a lot of justification to get such a machine (eating deep fried stuff every day isn’t a good excuse). That’s where an Airfryer fits in i guess. I’ve gone through enough reviews of the Airfryer to be convinced that the result it produces is close enough to real deep fried food. Continue reading Taobao product recommendation – Airfryer
Gone are the days when you had to rely on the Telco to offer you handsets at a discounted prices when you sign on a contract with them. Now that Telcos are forced to slash prices due to competition, it is even more so, because their margin doesn’t allow them to dangle handsets to lure business anymore. In fact, i think the business has turned the other way round – they’re hoping to make money from selling the handsets along with the plan.
This bodes well for consumers, who are finally free to buy any phone they wish at any time without being psychologically influenced to think that a phone upgrade is a necessity upon every contract renewal. In any case, i have been free from that kind of mentality since more than 5 years ago. Continue reading Qoo10 product recommendation – mobile phone
To a newbie, i think Taobao shipping options is too hard to comprehend. To simplify things, Taobao has come up with Taobao Global Direct Shipping, which probably works well for newbies. In this posting, i discuss the pros and cons of each method of shipping based on what i’ve learned through experience.
Taobao Global Direct Shipping
This is the default choice and the one Taobao tries to recommend you take up. No further action is required to arrange for the delivery of goods beyond the point of sale.
Pros – payment for shipping is made at the same time when doing check out, which relieves customers from having to monitor and consolidate the shipment.
Cons – the local courier company handling the delivery in Singapore is DPEX, with which i have had a bad experience. Sensitive items such as battery, cosmetics and food are not allowed. This option is most probably more expensive than the rest.
Some time back i wrote about buying coffee beans on Amazon. Well, if you did a little more homework, you would have realized that, unless you’re buying coffee beans sold by Amazon themselves, buying on Amazon might mean paying a premium over the seller’s actual pricing to cover the transaction fee Amazon charges the seller. Some of the sellers actually host their own website to sell their products, but also sell on the Amazon platform as an additional sales channel. The customers are the ones paying the additional cost anyway.
For example, this Kona Coffee cost a total of US$38.50 on Amazon, inclusive of shipping, but only US$35 with free shipping on the seller’s own website. By the way, this was a very fragrant coffee, though not that spectacular in terms of taste. On the other hand, the Dark Guatemalan i recommended in my earlier posting is the same price on the seller – Fresh Roasted Coffee’s website. In this case, buying from Amazon presents the advantage of choice to purchase items other than coffee to make up the total of $49 required to get free domestic shipping (whereas you need to buy $35 worth of coffee i.e. at least 4 X 12 oz to get free shipping from Fresh Roasted Coffee). Continue reading Sourcing for coffee beans
All along, i assumed that sea freight shipment is the cheapest way to ship your Taobao stuff from China. If you’re shipping one cubic metre (usually with allowance of up to 500kg) of stuff, that is confirmed the case. If you are using 65daigou however, it may not be the case. The shipping rate for under 30kg (volumetric weight) of goods is $1.30 per 500g, whereas the shipping rate for economy air is only S1.69 per 500g. The difference is only $0.39! That’s not all, i just found out that for sea freight, 7% GST will be applied for ALL parcels ON TOP OF THE SHIPPING FEE (i.e. 65daigou’s shipping fee is included in the calculation of GST), which means that most likely you will end up paying more, for slower shipping!
When it comes to cooking meat, conventional methods are difficult to master, since, with conventional sources of heat, you can easily overcook areas near the surface while the inside remains undercooked. Sous vide (pronounced soo-veed) attempts to solve this problem. Until recently, Sous Vide equipment was mostly priced out of reach of the general public. I still remember reading an article about an immersion circulator on engadget, but didn’t find out exactly what it was about back then, though it actually felt significant to me (so much so that i remember it). Anyway, this was the article, way back in 2012. Now that i got more serious about cooking, i thought i should give Sous Vide a try, since it supposedly makes restaurant quality food attainable easily.
So how much does the Sous Vide equipment cost? The cheapest Sous Vide equipment comes in the form of a temperature controller that you have to use in tandem with a crock pot. I got a temperature controller on Taobao for 40 Yuan (S$8.70) and it is currently on shipment from China. OR, you can get an immersion circulator, which are US$179 – 199. Unfortunately, for those of us on a 230V grid, the options are quite limited. Nomiku has an unknown shipping date. There is only one other viable option (that doesn’t break the bank) – the Anova Precision Cooker. The 220V version is almost always in stock. They do ship worldwide as well, though someone mentions that the shipping cost to Singapore was something like $69 (either S$ or US$). Continue reading How to ship the Anova Precision Cooker to Singapore
First off, it is important for me go clarify that this is not a paid review (and I say again that none of the reviews on this site is). 65daigou and many of the third party Taobao parcel forwarders pay bloggers to write reviews. Reading paid reviews always feels distasteful to me and takes away credibility from the author despite how objective they say they are. That said, and I think it’s obvious, the monetisation strategy for this site is plain old advertising, so don’t be surprised if you see a 65daigou advertisement on this page (i hope 65daigou catches the hint).
Prior to this, I never used 65daigou, since it is easier to just use Taobao’s consolidated parcel forwarding. Besides, Taobao’s parcel forwarding goes by actual weight, whereas 65daigou, and practically all third party parcel forwarders go by volumetric weight, which typically costs more, unless your parcel is very compact and dense. My preference is always for actual weight because i think it’s less likely to spring me a nasty surprise. Nevertheless, I think 65daigou’s economy air shipping rate, at $1.99 $1.69 per 0.5kg volumetric weight (basically the industry standard), is quite competitive (for comparison, Taobao’s shipping rate starts at S$6.40 S$5.30 for the first kg, and thereafter S$2.65 S$1.85 per 0.5kg).
While trying to order a video camera, Taobao’s parcel forwarding option was not available, due to the lithium battery in the video camera. I was left with no choice but to go with a third party forwarder. Naturally, I turned to Google to find out which one was better, but was not able to arrive at a conclusive answer. Eventually I went with 65daigou, because they appear to be more established (having the capacity to handle shipments from China, Taiwan and USA says something), and they have an on-time shipment guarantee.
I would say 65daigou’s website is very intuitive to someone who understands the overall concept of buying from Taobao. I was promptly informed about the arrival of my parcel at their China warehouse, way ahead of the delivery status update on Taobao’s website. I made the payment for the shipment via an Internet Banking transfer, and received acknowledgement of my payment within 1.5 hours (they promised to update within a few hours). The shipping to destination happened in less than one day after that. The estimated date of arrival given was one week from shipping date, although the given estimation on the website is 4 to 6 days. Anyway, my parcel arrived in 5 days, so their guideline on the estimated time to ship proves to be accurate. I picked up my parcel (for free) from their warehouse in Seng Kang, which is just minutes from where i stay. The pick-up timing is 6-9pm for this particular warehouse, which is probably convenient for most people. It’s nice that they have a proper warehouse.
Update 12 Feb 2016: I have since tried their ship-for-me service for USA as well. Again, very prompt notice of parcel arrival, both at the US warehouse and arrival in Singapore. The shipping rate is also much cheaper than what i was using before (Flat S$3.99 per 0.5kg vs US$11.80 for first 0.5kg and US$3.25 for subsequent 0.5kg). Gosh! i was paying way too much before!
Update 30 Nov 2017
Ezbuy was in the news recently for their failure to fulfill customers’ buy-for-me orders. Somehow, Taobao wasn’t happy with ezbuy’s way of buying thousands of items per day using just a handful of Taobao accounts. If you’re one of such customer who use ezbuy buy-for-me, i would suggest it’s time you moved on to buying from Taobao yourself. It will save you money in the long run, and it will be easier for you to resolve problems by communicating with the seller directly.
Anyway, i have something good to say about ezbuy. Just today, a parcel was received into the USA warehouse on my behalf, and ezbuy’s staff managed to repack the parcel, reducing the volumetric weight from 2.59kg to 0.66kg! That saves me S$12!