A lot has changed since Taobao shopping became popular a few years ago. I would recommend doing shipping differently than before.
First up, forget about Taobao direct or consolidated shipping. It is SLOW, and relatively expensive. The air shipping could take as long as the sea shipping offered by other forwarders. Overall the shipping feels disorganized, maybe because it is handled by too many parties.
I used to use 86of a lot, because they were cheap. They are still cheap – CNY 5.7 (S$1.12) for every 0.01 CBM (cubic metre) and only CNY 50 (S$9.82) for home delivery. But, having to pay in Yuan is a hassle. They switched to using Yuan for payment to compete with the rest of the Chinese parcel forwarders in Singapore, which is a pity. Instead of pursuing the bigger pie of the English speaking Taobao shoppers in Singapore, like ezbuy did from the start, they went back to competing for the Chinese shoppers. If you didn’t know, the Chinese shoppers mostly consolidate and organize their own sea shipping, which is a lot of work. Ten or more people would pool together their parcels and ship 2 or 3 CBM at a time, have it delivered to someone’s house, and then distribute the parcels from there. Honestly, neither do I want to have the parcels delivered to my house, nor do I want to collect parcels from someone else’s house. Things can go wrong, and you can end up in unexpected trouble.
I would be very happy to pay a little premium if someone did all this work of consolidation for me, and that was exactly what 86of did. They took even ezbuy by surprise, undercutting them by a huge margin. Thankfully, ezbuy took notice and cut their sea shipping rates. Now, the ezbuy shipping rates are quite reasonable – S$40 for 0.5 CBM and $70 for 1 CBM (vs 86of’s $74). However, ezbuy measures the weight or volumetric weight differently from 86of – to their advantage of course. You’ll be able to ship much more stuff in 86of’s one cubic metre than you can with ezbuy. If your parcels come up to less than 30kg (volumetric weight), then ezbuy sea shipping is very expensive in comparison to 86of.
Nevertheless, i would recommend shipping most of your parcels through ezbuy (this is not affiliate marketing by the way, just my personal opinion). I found them to be the most reliable and quickest in updating info on parcel whereabouts, quickest in shipping the parcels, and over the years, their service level has also improved. You’ll never be left wondering or worrying about your parcels, which can be stressful, and you’ll never fail to get help through online chat or even phone call. One caveat i should mention though, the forwarding address (the China address that you should send your parcel to) is changed from time to time, and you should always check it first before placing your Taobao order.
The third way of shipping Taobao goods is through Shopee. Yeah, meaning you just buy the Taobao item from Shopee. Shopee handles the shipping to your home. It’s amazing how they managed to pull of this feat, and it works even more seamlessly than Taobao’s direct shipping option. Sometimes, the price of the goods on Shopee is comparable to that on Taobao, so it’s like getting free shipping thrown in. Most of the time though, obviously, the price is slightly higher, or even up to more than double the price on Taobao, so you’ll have to do your due diligence to check whether it’s better to buy from Taobao. Don’t forget though, you can use your Shopee coins to offset the price, and get cashback in Shopee coins, so sometimes it may still be worthwhile. Saves a lot of hassle – just buy and forget. Never have to worry about parcels being shipped to the wrong address.
Speaking of cashback, you can get cashback for your Taobao purchases through Shopback (referral link), and it can be up to 10%, which is very substantial. I have just made a S$197 purchase and for that, I am getting a $15.87 cashback! Seriously, don’t miss out on earning cashback on your Taobao purchases.