86OF revamps website, sort of

86OF has launched a revamped website. What they’ve done is basically putting up a company website proper. The current website at www.86of.com showcases the company business and is not aimed at end consumers who want to do parcel forwarding. I wonder what’s the point.

The original website with the “Member Centre” for managing parcels is still around and is now moved to the website address amk.86of.com. Not surprisingly, this annoucement is only made in the Chinese version of their website. I’m sure some customers would have panicked when they were not able to find the “Member Centre”.

The new website reveals that they have opened up 5 other branches around the island – Woodlands, Clementi, Hougang (in the Chinese version of website it is said to be Kovan), Tampinee and Boonlay (*facepalm* they are still not bothered about using proper English for their website and don’t even care if the names are spelt wrongly).

This is probably good news to those customers who stay far away from Ang Mo Kio. What i found puzzling is the way they have organized their operation. Every of these branches operate independently of each other with a different company name and website address. Also, with the exception of the Tramlines branch (called TPparcel), neither the company name nor the website address give you any clue that it serves a specific region. For example, the Clementi website address is www.taobao2SG.com (or cm.86of.com – is cm a good abbreviation of Clementi?) while the Woodlands website address is www.888ocean.com (or wl.86of.com – i’ve never seen Woodlands abbreviated as wl). They are operating in a franchising model, but i seriously think the execution is not briliant at all. All the franchising businesses I have seen operate as if they are the same and one entity.

Anyway, what’s most important for us consumers is that we can ship our Taobao goods at rock bottom prices, and i will continue using 86OF until they fail me. If you’re new to 86OF (do read my reviews on them), here are the sign up links for the various self-collection points – Ang Mo KioClementiWoodlands, Hougang and Tampines.

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10 responses to “86OF revamps website, sort of”

  1. Lo Avatar

    Hi Yen Kai,
    Enjoyed your write-up on 86of, keep it up! I just wondered what’s the best way of making payment for Taobao purchase? By using your own credit card or pay through 86of? As they also provide payment service via their Alipay account which charges 2% to the buyer.

    1. yenkai Avatar

      Hi Lo, thanks for your kind comments. Unfortynately, payment is an area which I am unfamiliar with. When you say that 86of provides payment service, i take it that you mean the Alipay account top up as described here right? It is mentioned that they charge a 1% service fee. I did a simple calculation, their published exchange rate is about 1.2% lower than the actual rate, which I think is quite favourable. My impression is that credit card exchange rates, plus admin fees are always more than 3%.

      There may be other service providers who do Alipay account top up also, but I am clueless and cannot advise you as to who offers the lowest fees and most favourable exchange rate.

      If you’re wondering how I make payment, I actually have friends in China who pay on my behalf. In return, I help them purchase stuff not easily obtainable in China. This way, I avoid transaction fees altogether, and the exchange rate is always the actual rate.

      1. Lo Zi Soon Avatar
        Lo Zi Soon

        Thanks for your prompt reply! For the 86of payment service, I’m actually refering to here. They will help you to pay via their Alipay account and charge 2% to your 86of account balance. So all you need to do is to make sure that your account have sufficient fund for the payment.

        However, I think your way of payment just unbeatable! Maybe I should make some China friends too Xp. Anyway, thanks for your info, have a nice day.

        1. yenkai Avatar

          Hi again Lo. Goes to show how disorganized 86of website is. I didn’t know this service existed. Seems to me the topping up of Alipay account is a better deal because the fee is only 1% , assuming the exchange rate for both is the same. In both cases, you’re maintaining credit in an account, and I think there’s only a small risk associated with falling Yuan.

  2. Akiteck Avatar

    Hi there, have you ever use 86of for fragile items? Do they refund u if items received is broken?

    I’m thinking to ship Xiaomi TV but I’m very worried that I would receive it not working/broken screen.

    1. yenkai Avatar

      Hi Akiteck, yes in fact I shipped many fragile items such as lamp and toilet wash basin. All but two items was damaged – one lamp broke and one wash basin got knocked on the edge. I wouldn’t blame 86OF for the damage because it’s obvious that the sellers didn’t pack them safely enough. All other items were fine. I think in general the sellers know how to pack their items against very rough handling. I can’t really advice you whether it’s safe to ship Xiaomi TV, it’s a tough call even though more often than not, for Taobao goods, the cost factor overrides the risk factor.

  3. Mike Avatar

    Agree with you on their so-called franchising model, it’s a hell of a mess with the AMK owner really making any meaningful margin from this cut-throat shipping rates. The branches are all badly run because of this same franchising model and good luck trying to get someone to take responsibility for your shipment if something goes wrong.

    1. yenkai Avatar

      Hi Mike, so far i have tried the AMK and Hougang branches and i discovered that the Hougang branch is also run by the AMK owners since the staff there used to be stationed in AMK. I don’t know about the other branches, but so far my shipments went well. 86OF is truly disruptive as they claim, because no one offered sea freight shipping at such pricing before. They truly broke down the CBM sea freight rates in a more or less linear manner (0.1 CBM = $13, 0.5 CBM = $59 and 1 CBM = $90). As for me, i don’t care if they fail terribly at their branding and communications the way they do now, as long as i get my shipments reliably.

  4. Xive Avatar

    They seems to have a “system upgrade” recently. Service has been poor of late. My items “lost” after taobao status and courier status changed to “delivered” days ago. They insist we get “proof of delivery” when this should be their basic customer service should provide. Nearly a week after giving them the “proof” after I went thru the trouble and they tell me need to wait some more for my item to enter their warehouse. God know where they kept my item after they received it. Terrible, I use woodlands branch btw.

    1. yenkai Avatar

      Hi Xive, yes it sounds like much hassle having to obtain the proof of delivery. Another reader encountered this problem also earlier on. I guess this is more a problem at the China warehouse side rather than the branches. My recent shipment was delayed and i was told that it was shipped but not updated in the system, when in actual fact (with evidence from the website) they have not shipped out. I think they’re basically overwhelmed and have not planned for operational scalability. Poor management and foresight. Nevertheless, i’m wiling to give them a chance and hope they will improve like ezbuy did.

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