I don’t know about you but I find online shopping (literally window shopping, geddit geddit??) an enjoyable past time and an integral part of any work day. Admit it, most of us spend at least a few minutes a day checking out deals and cheap shopping sites while in the office or on public transport. One of the biggest players in Singapore is Taobao. Never heard of it? Here’s a quick summary.
This amazing website is the Chinese version of eBay/Qoo10/Gmarket where one can buy almost everything under the sun from the site – clothes, furniture, pets, sex toys, bicycles, sports equipment, you name it and it’s probably there. Seriously. I’ve seen live chickens on sale.
Personally I don’t think I can live without shopping on Taobao. I’ve been buying clothes and Christmas gifts and what-nots off the site for a good 8 years. I used to place my Taobao orders with sprees but I didn’t have a regular spree-er that I patronized. The charges were pretty exorbitant too. $1 handling fee per item plus inflated exchange rates and unfriendly shipping prices? No thank you.
A strange sounding 65daigou (my Chinese was rudimentary at best) [2016 edit: now called ezbuy] appeared sometime in 2010 and I signed up for an account with them to shop on Taobao not long after cos they looked a little more trustworthy than girls making pocket money having their own Taobao agent “business”. Saved me time trawling through pages and pages and pages of agent reviews too. My first experience with 65daigou was slightly better than mediocre I think. I remember it being extremely fuss free but there were periods of no updates and of some delays. According to my account history, I made a second purchase some 7 months later. Not too sure why since 65daigou had really bad reviews in the beginning but I glad I did – I’ve not stopped using them since then.
Okay actually that’s not true. I did use another Singapore Taobao agent called SGshop a couple of years ago. My virgin try with them had the same issues as 65daigou, the second time my order was neglected and I was super pissed off – no updates no nothing and an abrupt email telling me that they cannot control what Taobao sellers do. No issue with this but I thought it could have been better worded. The last straw (when I stupidly gave them a third chance) was when I went for self collection at the MRT and the dude I was supposed to pick up from was extremely rude. I have zero sense of direction and his instructions weren’t too hot to start with so I texted and called him a couple of times. I remember him asking if I was blind, and when I finally found my way he told me that if I’m not too smart I shouldn’t be a cheapskate and just pay for delivery. Winner right? I think they’ve improved since then but too late, I’m comfortable buying off Taobao with 65daigou so they’ve permanently lost a customer from their initial bad customer service.
Okay let’s press pause on the Taobao agent reviews first – why do I still choose to shop through an agent instead of directly from Taobao or the home-based spree-ers? And why not from Carousell or Qoo10?
First up, I’ve heard plenty of horror stories of suddenly disappearing spree organizers. I’ve had tons of bad experiences with them from a multitude of sprees so enough is enough. Most Carousell and Qoo10 sellers get their stocks from Taobao anyway, so unless they’re instocks at a reasonable pricing, no way I’m paying them more when I can get what I want myself through an agent.
Buying directly from Taobao is also a no-go for me. Because of my terrible Chinese reading/writing skills, there is absolutely no way for me to communicate with the sellers or read any of the reviews on site. I also super dislike the fact that I have to keep monitoring my item transit and all the hustle bustle that comes along with an online purchase. And God forbid if my item goes missing or gets damaged – I’ll have to bear the cost of replacement or just suck it up.
But my favourite part about shopping Taobao through 65daigou and also a big reason for this review?
Hands down, their repacking service. Okay, this picture is an extreme but vacuum packing is part of 65daigou’s service.
I think we’ve all received packages with more packing peanuts than anything else and we’ve had to pay an arm and a leg for literally air. Most shipping companies charge by volumetric weight (or actual weight, whichever is higher) so squeezing your items into every single inch of space is a good way to go. Think about it this way – if budget airlines had no weight restriction and allowed you 2 luggage bags, you’re probably gonna utilize all the nooks and crannies you can find. Same goes for shipping.
65daigou also has the lowest Taobao agent shipping rate in Singapore – I counted – and their customer service is to die for. I’m saying this not just because this is an advertorial review but this truly is from my heart. Most of 65daigou’s CS folks go above and beyond what you’ll expect. Just do a quick search for reviews and you’ll see the mad things that their staff has done for ordinary customers.
Granted, 65daigou wasn’t the best when they first started and their service has pretty much plateaued right now but compared to their competitors, I think they’re doing a damn fine job. No, I’m not paid in cash or kind to say this. This is a goodwill review with nothing in it for me.
There’s a 65daigou agent fee of course. It’s based on a loyalty tier system but nothing too scary, its under 10%. I have no qualms paying this additional cost for someone to liaise with Taobao sellers on my behalf, check my goods and make sure they’re exactly what I’ve ordered in the right colour/size and undamaged, send it back to the seller FOC if there are issues and to simply make my shopping as hassle free as possible. It doesn’t hurt that 65daigou has more than 90 free collection points island-wide either. A lazy ass like me? Pay them a measly $5 for doorstep delivery. Think your parcel weighs like an elephant? 65daigou’s delivery charge is capped at $8, no matter how heavy your item might be.
So I’m kinda done with this review and might possibly put in a haul post when my goodies come but my next post is probably gonna be a 65daigou review on shopping from USA and/or Taiwan since they offer these services as well. Or maybe a “How to shop on Taobao in English” since tons of people have problems doing so. If I, a Chinese impaired person can do it, so can you.
PS: Can’t wait for my post? 65daigou has an English cheat sheet over here for shopping on Taobao.
Come be a Taobao addict like me and buy the world with 65daigou right now!
Register for a 65daigou account at www.65daigou.com/Kernal/Register.aspx.
(Or if you already know what you want to buy, register with this link instead for $5 straight into your account!)
Like 65daigou on Facebook (www.facebook.com/65daigou) to be updated of promotions, discounts and giveaways.
Follow 65daigou on Instagram (@65daigou) to sneak a peek at what others are buying.