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What’s Taobao Agent and How to Choose the Right One

Updated on December 12, 2012

Tabao is the biggest online marketplace in Asia and it’s the giant ecommerce leader in China. In every minute, more than 50,000 pieces of merchandises are sold through this giant marketplace. It changes the shopping habit of younger generation even brings a hit of ecommerce in China. For more information you can read my hub: Shopping Skill in Taobao-The Biggest Online Marketplace in Asia.

People in China love to shop in Taobao and recently many shoppers outside China also found shopping in Taobao is very interesting. But for most of them, they can’t directly buy from Taobao, because it require you to have a Chinese bank account for the payment and also most sellers in Taobao don’t know much English and are unwilling to ship their products oversea. At this moment Taobao Agents are providing services to foreigner outside China, assisting them to shop from Taobao.

The business model for Taobao Agents is like this. Foreign shoppers select products in Taobao then entrust Taobao Agents to shop for them. Taobao Agents will buy the items from Taobao to their own warehouse and then ship them out to foreign shoppers. They usually charge 10% of (item price + domestic shipping fee) as their service fee.

If you search the key word Taotao Agent in Google, tons of websites are provide this kind of service. As how to select a good agent, I think most people are very confused. If you’re one of them and you’re really interested in buying from Taobao, I strongly suggest you do some research on what’s Taobao or you’ll be easily fooled by some Taobao Agents. I sorted out some standards to judge whether a Taobao Agent is reliable.


  • Product Price Between Taobao and Agent’s Website

Taobao open API to all of its products data, including price, size, stock amount, color and etc. Since Taobao doesn’t have a English version, most agents collect this API data and use Google translation to translate them into English. Agents are charging you service fee basing original the price in Taobao, they should showing the proper USD price to you. If they increase the price without reasonable reason, think twice before using their service.

For some situation, price not matching with Taobao is acceptable. Such as items in Taobao are on sales, therefore the prices on Taobao are much cheaper than before. This often happens in Taobao and a good Taobao should explain this to their clients allow them to modify the price according to the discounted price. But as I observed many agents don’t mention this and charge their client for the price before discount while shop the item at discount price.


  • International Shipping Fee

International shipping fee is very expensive and you should check your shipping fee before purchase everything in Taobao. The most prevalent shipping method for Agents is EMS, because it can ship items that are not allowed by others and cover wide range of area. The followings are DHL, Fedex, UPS and TNT. For small parcel no heavier than 1kg, they usually use China Post Air Mail. You can check all the prices in their official website:

EMS: http://www.ems.com.cn/english.html

DHL: http://www.dhl.com/en.html

Fedex: http://www.fedex.com/

UPS: www.ups.com

TNT: www.tnt.com

China Post Air Mail: http://english.chinapost.com.cn/

Very important: It’s way too expensive to use these international express delivery without discount! In fact Agents in China can get discount from logistic companies and the usually it’s 40% off, which is the standard within in this industry. You can totally disregard those who don’t offer you any discount. (P.S. China post Air Mail doesn’t offer discount, it’s very cheap but takes very long time compared to others.)

Make sure you can find their international shipping fee information in their website. Those who hide this shipping fee or unwilling to make it clear to clients are not considered to be honest. A good Agent should tell their clients how much it cost in shipping before they make a decision in purchasing.


  • Service Fee and Minimum Charge

I don’t who make this fixed but service fee for Agent are set to be 10% of (product price + domestic shipping fee). It sounds reasonable considering all the service agents provide to you. Some agents will charge will 5% of (product price + domestic shipping fee + international shipping fee). In most cases, international shipping fee is not less than product price, so personally I prefer this first one.

Minimum charge in service fee is around 5 to 8USD, that’s to say if you purchase less than 50USD, you still have to pay them 5USD service fee. This police encourage people to shop multiple items and in most cases people will do so. Because price in Taobao are very low and buying big quantity will lower the average shipping cost for each items. But if Agents require more than 8USD, you’d better give yourself a convincing reason to use their service.


  • Exchange Rate and Payment Transfer Fee

Exchange rate fluctuates all the time and most agent usually set it to a fixed rate. If you think their fixed exchange rate is not acceptable to you, you’d better switch to another agent.

Most agent use Paypal, Credit Card, Western Union, T/T, Webmoney as the payment method. For each type of payment method, there’s transaction fee charging the receiver and agents will charge you on this. You can check the transaction fee for your payment method and see the agent is charging you reasonable or not. The below is Paypal transactional fee for your reference:


  • Professionalism in Website Design and Function

Entrusting Agents to shop for can be very risky. Do you know exactly who you’re entrusting to? I highly don’t recommend you to ask an individual to do the job for you, unless you know him/her personally. It requires revolving fund, time and energy for Agents to run their business. If the agent is just doing part time, you will probably get slow response, poor quality control or even lost contact forever.

But how can you tell this website is run by a reliable company or part-time individual? We can judge this by Professionalism in website design and function. There’re many website templates out there for free. Just a few dollars everyone can build up a website in a minute. But the design and functions are not up to expectation. Especially the functions, it would be very simple and of poor user experience. A professional Agents website would cost 5000USD to be customized-made. Agents who are willing to spend this money are very likely to treat this business seriously and in most of the cases, they’re an organized team or company. It provides a very good judging standard in choosing an Agent.


  • Check the Reviews and Comments of Their Existing Clients

Any Agents would boast their service to be the best and it’s really hard to tell the true. The best solution is to check the reviews and comment of the existing clients. But reviews and comments are not always available in their website. You can check this by search engine. I really appreciate Agent websites that with their own section for their client to freely discuss anything. Because as I observed, only would reliable agents with serious business mind do this open discussion. It’s a tough test on their service. And in return, if this open discussion can be done under publicity and impartiality, it will create loyalty in their clients. After all, the very foundation of internet is to share. Sooner or later people will get to know whether you’re a piece of gold or regular stone.


  • Finally the Shopping Guide Service

We’re shopping far distance away from a strange country. We have no idea of the product information and have difficulty in communicating with sellers on Taobao. Our Agents seems to be the only way that we experience shopping from Taobao. If they don’t do a good job in giving us shopping guideline, how can we find a good deal in it? Most Agent websites has online contact but due to time difference, you can also contact them by email. Ask detailed questions and see their response. You will feel much curtained when you’re buy from professional Taobao Agents.


The above judging skill cannot guarantee you to find a 100% reliable Taobao Agent. It’s just for your reference only. The best practice is to have a trial. You will become an expert on this too!

Comments

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    • Carol Hilton profile image

      Carol Hilton 14 months ago

      In addition to the ways mentioned above, you can also take a look at http://www.taobaoguides.com/2016/07/14/taobao-agen... there listed the taobao agent review comparation and lists as well as methods to choose a reliable taobao agent in details.

    • profile image

      lola 14 months ago

      Hi,shopattao is a great taobao agent that can help you solve all of the problem buy from china,and the price will surprise you,it has the lowest fee and the best rate..what is more,it is safe,it is a good choice for you,if you want to buy cheap chinese stuff,have a look at Web:www.shopattao.com

    • profile image

      vas 2 years ago

    • profile image

      Vivekvinu 2 years ago

      I am not sure about other sites but as per my personal experience I feel Rorbuy is one of the best in the market. Their offers are good and they also have better discounts. You can refer the below site to know more about them.

      http://www.rorbuy.com/

      Kindly check and let me know if you have any suggestion.

    • profile image

      Nisei 3 years ago

      Looked up an item on TaoBao which was 6 yuan (0.75 Euro). Item price on hoyoyo is 2.38 Euro. That's almost 300%

    • profile image

      alan 3 years ago

      I personally would like to recommend taobaomode.com, you can visit their site for more details.

      They will combine your orders and ship in one parcel, this will save your shipping fee. There is no any hidden fee and they will check items quality for you, it's really helpful.

    • profile image

      MiR 3 years ago

      I order now through Good-taobao.com

      I like how packaged goods and that the merchandise buying back almost immediately after I sent the order. Last time ordered large glass lamps. They came to me unharmed nebilo even scratching because were packed very carefully.

      I used to make orders in different intermediaries. But they are all very save on packaging. And delaying the purchase of goods which I ordered.

      All choose their own mediator. But now I can allocate only Good-taobao. Because he totally does what it should.

    • profile image

      otto 3 years ago

      Hi James, http://hoyoyo.com is great! I asked for advice here days back, and no one helps me. So I try this website out by myself, I can ensure you that it is a trustworthy taobao agent. I bought two iphone 5s cases from China taobao using hoyoyo, they help me pick what I wanted and the price is ok. It takes me only 6 days to get the cases( I am from NY) . All in all, you can give it a try.

    • profile image

      James 3 years ago

      Hi Jim Chiang, I want to buy things from China, is http://hoyoyo.com ok? Some friend recommend me this site, I myself search on google find out there are lot taobao agent like yoybuy, taobaofocus and so on. Some advice pls!

    • profile image

      otto 3 years ago

      Need detail for taobao agent, can you write something about hoyoyo.com ? I am from Malaysia and can only find this agent site .

    • profile image

      Alex berny 3 years ago

      I have been using one taobao agent since 2010. They are really professional, trustworthy and quick respondent. Their website is www.taobaobuying.com. I recommend all friends to use them for retail as well as wholesale.

      Alex

    • profile image

      George Thomas 3 years ago

      Anyone had experiences about Chinabuy in Australia?

      http://www.chinabuy.com.au

      They don't charge a service fee which looks good to me. At the moment though it seems they don't ship anywhere other than Australia...

    • profile image

      liyolanda 3 years ago

      thank you very much for your information.

      about the taobao agents, i prefer www.newbuybay.com, i have buyes some times in it, and everything is ok, service perfect and friendly workers, i like it.

    • profile image

      SunMoon-IPTV 3 years ago

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      Skype : shanghai_smile

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    • profile image

      Ken Wang 3 years ago

      Awesome! That's an in-depth analysis.

      I would vouch for http://www.chinabuy.com.au and they don't charge a service fee if you're in Australia.

    • profile image

      shanghaijoker 4 years ago

      Reliable and Friendly Taobao Agent in CHINA

      Enjoy the Taobao Shopping with our www.shanghaijoker.com

      Mobile : (+86)18221053991 ( CHINA )

      Website: http://www.shanghaijoker.com

      Email : info@shanghaijoker.com

      Skype : shanghai_smile

      QQ : 1247119831

      ☬ Dedicated Customer Service ( 24 X 7 )

      ☬ Services in English & Chinese

      ☬ Flexible and Easy Payment methods

      ☬ Accept Overseas Credit Cards & PAY PAL Users

      ☬ After the Delivery you can change the Colours,

      Models,Designs are Changeable

      ☬ Money back Policy (If Not Satisfied)

      Service Charges : 5 % to 10 % ( Depend on your Purchase)

      Step1 : Choose the producr form www.taobao.com

      Step2: Send the Link of the prodcut which you choosed from www.taobao.com to us

      on www.shanghaijoker.com (or) send us an email to info@shanghaijoker.com.

      Step3: Deposit the Amount + service fee in our bank account, and send us your address details in Chinese,

      Step4 : After we received the payment, we request the Supplier to send the Goods directly to your Place.

      And you can started Enjoy….

      Any Colours, sizes, models changes have the Possibilities..Even Refund your Money

      More Information visit http://www.shanghaijoker.com/home/cheap-online-sho...

      Foreigners how to do the Online Shopping in Taobao China ??

      Foreigners how to buy the Things in Taobao China ??

      Reliable English Taobao Agent ??

      How to Pay on Taobao ?

      Buying from Taobao for Foreigners

      Can laowai use a taobao?

    • profile image

      july 4 years ago

      Thanks for your detail guidline.

      Could you please help to check if below agent are reasonable?

      http://www.yoybuy.com/en/

      http://taobaofocus.com/

      http://www.frugirls.com/

    • profile image

      Hchugo 4 years ago

      Would you like to write a details about the taobao agent website?

      Like:

      http://www.zarmark.com/English/default.aspx

      http://www.yoybuy.com/en/

      http://taobaofocus.com/

      Tell us the pro and con if possible. Thanks!