Timeliness is sometimes the deciding factor for making a purchase. With the possibility of receiving your goods roughly one week from the time you order from Taobao, there’s no reason to shop from elsewhere. This is made possible with air shipping.
There are many options available when it comes to choosing the air shipping forwarder, and for the Singapore market, there are practically 3 options available – Taobao Consolidate and Shipping (to be referred to as simply Taobao henceforth), ezbuy and 86OF.
I have used Taobao and ezbuy air shipping regularly, and this time round, I had a go with 86OF. They have just revamped their offering and it is quite competitive. However, they are not the winner, not yet. Here is how the three compare:
If your priority is speed, then the money-backed guarantee of Taobao’s 5 days delivery seems to be the obvious choice. That said, in my experience, ezbuy often does it within 5 days too, though it can take up to 12 days for economy air delivery.
86OF promises a 4 days’ delivery time frame to reach the community collection point, which is quite a bold promise. My first hand experience tells me that they may not deliver on the promise. In fact, I wouldn’t count on any of their promises, except they will eventually deliver your parcels. See my review below.
To compare the shipping rate, one has to take into consideration whether home delivery is needed. If you need home delivery, Taobao has an advantage over ezbuy and 86OF, up to a certain point. If you do the math, Taobao is cheaper than ezbuy for shipping plus home delivery for under 3.5 kg of goods, and in comparison to 86OF, it is 5 kg.
On the other hand, if you just want cheap and don’t mind doing self collection, then ezbuy is the cheapest of the three, up till 3kg. Beyond that, 86OF is cheaper. As you can see, 86OF is potentially a very cost effective choice when you are desperate to ship something heavy. 86OF calculates volumetric weight using the same formula as Taobao and ezbuy.
The downside with 86OF is, they increment the shipping fee by the kg, meaning if your goods amount to, say, 1.1kg, you’ll be paying the shipping fee of a 2kg shipment. I suspect they will have to revise their method of shipping fee calculation to match that of Taobao and ezbuy, whereby the shipping fee is incremented per 0.5kg.
Self Collection Locations
Ezbuy has 8 warehouses and countless MRT and neighbourhood collection points. The window for MRT collection is only half an hour, and the neighbourhood collection is worse, with only a 15 minutes interval. These simply don’t work for me, but thankfully, i live near the Tai Seng warehouse, where i can conveniently pop-in and complete the collection within the free parking duration.
As of now, 86OF has 31 community collaborate points (a nice way of naming a collection point that is usually a HDB housing unit) for air-shipped parcels. The air shipped parcels are actually sent to their main office at Link@AMK before being dispatched to the community collaborate points, so if you want to pick up your parcels in the shortest time possible, choose Link@AMK as your collection point.
I have not used Taobao’s online customer service for the shipping service, so i cannot comment on how good it is, but at least it is available. It used to be the case that customer service was non-existent.
Ezbuy has a hotline, hands down winner. 86OF does customer service through WhatsApp, and they usually reply within a few hours, so it’s not too bad either. Note that you will not get a reply if you have asked an irrelevant question, and this could be frustrating to newbies. Also, although they can do English, communicating in Chinese is preferrred, and not everyone likes that.
Review of my 86OF air shipping
I think my very first air shipping with 86OF turned out to be the worst case scenario. It took one week (4 working days) for my parcels to be shipped out! Within this time frame, i may have received the goods already if i did the shipping using ezbuy.
When i enquired with customer service, i was told they only ship out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which means you will regularly encounter between one to three days’ delay (during which time your parcels just sit in the warehouse). How can they possibly deliver on the 4 days’ delivery promise, i wonder?
In my case, i submitted my shipping request on a Thursday, and it was not shipped out the next day, when it could have been. My parcels sit in the warehouse over the weekend. Come Monday, my parcels were STILL NOT shipped out (according to the website)! I alerted customer service, and they said the system was not updated. So much for the “advanced” IT system they like to trumpet about. My parcels were finally indicated as having been shipped on Wednesday. The system states that the expected day of arrival is 2 days later. I sincerely hope that means i can collect my parcel on the date being indicated, but frankly i doubt it will be the case. We’ll see.
Update 8 Sep: AMK office claims my parcel has arrived and has been dispatched to my collection point, but the collection point representative did not receive it. Fail, as expected. (to be continued after i have collected my parcels)
Update 11 September: On the day after my expected collection date, I received notice about the availability of my parcels from the collection point representative. I sent a message to 86OF asking if I could get a refund for the delay and it was conveniently ignored, as expected.
I shipped 2 parcels and the smaller one was inserted into the larger one, which was reasonable in this case for ease of handling. I was still charged for the total volumetric weight of both parcels.
To sum up my experience, I would say that I’m willing to use 86OF air shipping again if I had to ship some heavy stuff quickly, and I believe i will be able to get my parcels quicker than I did this time.
Important Note: To ship via air shipping, ensure that you use the air shipping warehouse address, listed in the Member Centre home page.
Update 24 Nov 2017
So, i have just initiated a second round of 86of air shipping, and it was a terrible mistake. There are a lot of unacceptable practices with their handling of air shipping, and if you’re considering 86of air shipping, please take careful note of these.
If you have sensitive goods among the parcels you are shipping, the entire shipment will be considered sensitive and the sensitive goods shipping rate applies.
The volumetric weight of the parcels is not given upfront in the system. Only the actual weight is given. The funny thing is, the system is able to quote roughly the correct shipping cost, and the customer has no idea how the shipping cost is derived! If there is a shortfall in the shipping cost charged (and the system is more likely to under-quote), they may demand for topping up after the delivery has been initiated!
I think this way of handling is very lousy. ezbuy is able to quote the shipping cost accurately upfront, and why can’t 86of? 86of weighs and measures the parcel size the moment it arrives at the warehouse (they even show you a photo of it, which is nice). I believe they also do classification of sensitive goods at this point (otherwise, when else would they do it?). All these data are captured into the system. I don’t see why they can’t present these data to the customer, and also provide an accurate calculation of the shipping cost.
There is the option of changing from air to sea shipping for S$2 per parcel before consolidation of shipment, or $2 per shipment at the point of consolidation. You have to talk to customer service to do this.
Anyway, i gathered all the above information by talking with customer service. As usual, customer service says all these information are found on the website. Buried somewhere, maybe.
My conclusion is, 86of air shipping is worthwhile only for expedited shipping of heavy sensitive goods. Update: my goods were ready for collection 5 days after placing my ship order, so the delivery speed is pretty good!