Did you know that anything sold anywhere, even if it claims to be one-of-a-kind, is available for much cheaper in China? You know those cute $1 world map necklaces that pop up in Facebook advertisements? I bought one for $0.36 with free delivery on Taobao…
I didn’t fully realize Taobao’s potentual until I decided to buy two beautiful dresses on a random US website. They were being sold for $17 each and were so unique. One of them was peacock feather themed and the other was covered in strawberries. Cute, right?
Although $17 was a completely reasonable price to pay for them, I knew that they must have been made in China so they had to be cheaper here. First, I decided to search for them on Aliexpress and there they were. My dream dresses being sold by dozens of different sellers for just $8 each with even more cute choices!
Aliexpress might not officially deliver to China, but as I mention in a different blog post, it’s possible. You just message the vendor and ask if they’d let you order to an address abroad but send them to China anyway.
Before I ordered some of these dresses on Aliexpress, I spent several hours desperately trying to find them on Taobao (I’m unemployed until August so I have a lot of free time to find great deals online). Once I finally found one of them, I just added it to my cart which let me search for similar products. The very same $17 dresses were now available to me for $3-$5. Needless to say, I shamelessly ordered 20 *blush*.
I still ended up ordering a few dresses on Aliexpress because I simply couldn’t find them on Taobao… but this was before I discovered the photo search function. This is only available in the Chinese Taobao, not Tmall or World Taobao which it automatically switches to sometimes.
To get to it, you need to be logged in and change location in the top left corner, which will take you to the Chinese Taobao home screen with the URL www.taobao.com.
Once you’re on there, you just need to click inside the search bar and hover over the right side it until a little camera symbol shows up. When you click on it, you’ll be able to upload a photo and Taobao will show you all of the results for “similar” products.
When we were drone shopping, for example, we used this function to find specific models. You can also use it to find a style of clothing, a food product or literally anything!
This part is probably obvious, but before you buy something it’s always a good idea to check out several sellers to compare delivery prices and discounts. Keep in mind that some of the cheapest products might have hidden notes explaining that you need to order at least 3, a minimum of 2 kilos, etc. If you don’t notice this, they’ll end up messaging you and you’ll have to refund your order or change it which is a pain.
Other than fresh fruits and vegetables, anything you could possible think of is sold on Taobao and it’s likely cheaper than anywhere else. So far, the only product that I discovered wasn’t cheaper on Taobao was large amounts of diet Sprite cans. The actual cost per can is great but they all have high delivery fees that only make the purchase worth it if you’re stocking up for a zombie apocalypse.
Basically, if you have the time and motivation, you can save lots of money on Taobao. Just remember to check reviews and be careful when buying medication. Enjoy your shopping!