Thursday, March 13, 2014

Taobao Know-How: Part 1 (Beginner's Guide and First Payment)

Today, I finally placed my Taobao order. If any of you read my New Year's Resolutions post, this was one of my major goals. I'm excited to have finally gotten around to doing this! I asked on my Tumblr if anyone would be interested in a small guide, and got a pretty good response! You wanted it, and much to the anguish of my fingers/joints, IT'S FINALLY HERE
(more under the cut!)

Shopping Service: Bhiner

Vocabulary to Know:

  • Taobao - Chinese website similar to eBay, has a variety of sellers with a rating system based on sales/positive feedback
  • Quote - estimated price of the item
  • Domestic Shipping - amount the seller of the item charges to send your item to Bhiner
  • International Shipping - price of your items being shipped from Bhiner to you
  • Service Fee - this is the amount that your shopping service charges you to be the middle man
  • First Payment - this is what you pay Bhiner to buy the items on your behalf, and have them shipped to their warehouse.
  • Second Payment - you'll pay this later, it's usually based on the weight of your items. This is the cost that you will pay to have Bhiner ship your items to you. 
  • Customs Fees - This is not included into any of Bhiner's totals, and you will be expected to pay them on your own (if you are hit with them, not everyone has to pay for this.)

The Short Version:

You make an account with Bhiner, you shop on Taobao, add items to your Bhiner cart. Then, you send in your items to be "quoted" so that you'll know what your first payment will be. Pay it, then wait for your items to be shipped to Bhiner's warehouse. Once they've arrived, Bhiner will update your listing with photos of your items, and give you the quote on your second payment (cost of shipping the items to you). Once you pay the second amount, your items are shipped and on their way to you!

The Extended Explanation:

Step One:
Make an Account.

click the images to make them larger

After you get through this tedious process, we can start with the fun stuff. You'll have to confirm your e-mail address, (this is how the staff will contact you and you'll receive "quote" updates once they've been confirmed). 

Step Two:

Let's head on over to Taobao, now. The home page is a bit clustered, and can be overwhelming at first. Take a deep breath and remember: there's cute stuff out there and this is your first actual step towards making it yours. I use Google Chrome, and it automatically translates the page for me. For convenience, you may also want to consider Google's currency converter. Another helpful tool will be Google Translate, since the website is in Chinese. Use the translator to help you broaden your search on Taobao. This will help you find almost exactly what you're looking for.
[   Get Google Chrome.   ]
  Google Currency Converter  ]
  Google Translate 

Now, what I've found helps me to browse more options, is to search using brand names to find products similar to the style that I am going for.
A few examples are

  • AA or American Apparel
  • Katie Amo
  • Milklim
  • Jane Marple
  • Candy Stripper
  • Liz Lisa
You can use Google Translate (as mentioned earlier) to provide more results. 
Here's another small list of terms: 
  • Harajuku - 原宿
  • Blouse/Shirt - 衬衫
  • Skirt - 裙子
  • Rilakkuma - 松弛熊
  • Knee-High Socks - 中筒袜
  • Bloomers灯笼裤/南瓜裤
  • Platform Shoes - 松糕鞋
  • Wig - 假发
  • Tights - 连裤袜

We're going to search for Milklim. (I wouldn't expect to get brand, mostly replicas and items that are similar to Milklim's style.)  Here we go. Lookit all this neat stuff! The photos make it a bit difficult to tell what exactly is being sold, thank fuck for translate. You can browse through all the items until you find what you want. 

Let's look at this cute bear garter! I've highlighted the important stuff. Next to the photo of the item is the price. As you may have noticed, it's in Chinese Yuan. Now's a good time to use your currency converter! Then, there's the seller's rating. VERY important. It's different from eBay's rating system, so I'll attach a link to the ratings and what they mean. I've decided to buy this, so what we will do is right click the Taobao URL (highlighted at the top) and copy it to your clipboard. Next, bring Bhiner back up.

  Breakdown of Seller Ratings.   ]

Step 3:
Adding Items to Your Cart.

Back on Bhiner, you'll paste the Taobao URL into the search bar. It'll bring you to Bhiner's page for that item. It'll look like this:

At this step, you're able to scroll down to view more pictures of your item (if the seller provided any), select the options for your item (usually color or size) and view the price estimate. The price estimate includes the product's actual cost, a rough gestation of the domestic shipping (from seller to Bhiner), and the agent's fee. Once you add your merch to your basket/cart, you'll be get to send it in for a quote.

The cart page will look similar to this, except the "8" in the "quotes confirmed" box. That'll say "0". Here, you'll decide if you want to send this to Bhiner to get your price quoted, or not. If you do, you can click the box that says "confirm quote". It'll drop into Phase 2, Product Limbo. Probably overnight (as China works off a different time zone) it'll either get confirmed, and move to Phase 3, or denied. They'll only deny a quote (in my experience) if you don't select all the options, or a the color/size you want is out of stock, or the seller's rating is too low. Bhiner gives you the option to re-quote the product once you've changed your selections. You'll get an e-mail whenever your quote's status is updated. 
After it's confirmed, it'll be in the "Phase 3" section. You can still edit your cart at this point; for fickle shoppers, like me. Once you've gotten what you do and don't want sorted out, you'll head on over to "Checkout".

Step 4:

I hope you haven't pulled all the hair out of your head yet, because we're gettin' close to the end, here. We're in the order confirmation stage. You'll have to add funds to you Bhiner account, so click on "Top Up my Bhiner Account" and you'll be transferred over to the following page:

If you choose to pay by PayPal, (this is how I'll be paying) you'll be charged a service fee of 4% + 0.3 USD. So, my total was $92.87. I'll type that into the amount section, then be transferred to confirm my payment on PayPal. The total on PayPal will automatically include the transaction fee, making my new total $96.88. PayPal added in an additional $4.01 as a service fee. You also have to take into account Bhiner's service charge, which is displayed below your final view of your cart. After you confirm your payment to your Bhiner account, you'll head back over to Bhiner to actually purchase your cartful of stuff. You'll be confronted with a final security code (in the form of jumbled numbers) as well as your total for the first payment, annnnd
YOU'RE DONE. Bhiner will take you to a mini congratulatory page that will link you "back to Bhiner" or to "Your Orders".


Good job! You've gotten through the hard part. Well. Other than the waiting...  Once your order is at Bhiner's HQ, you'll be able to make the second payment, (I can make a guide for this, too, if you'd like.) Then your stuff will be sent to you! If you would like me to make a Part 2, please leave a comment below! Please let me know if I missed anything; this was my first time, as well, and I want to be thorough! Hope I helped; you can drop me a line below, or on my Tumblr. I'd like to give a big shout-out to the newest addition of my ailments: carpal tunnel.

♥ My Tumblr ]
♥ Follow Me on BlogLovin' ♥ ]
♥ Taobao Know How Part 2 ]
 Taobao Haul + Reviews  ]


  1. thank you so much for this guide like really. will you do a haul video or post when you receive your goods

    1. Hi there! I'm not sure about a video haul, don't think I'm ready for that yet, haha. Thanks for your interest! I will be doing a small post about my items, though. =D

  2. Omg!! I just completed my first Taobao order with Bhiner c: I placed my order the 28th of February and wrote a 4 part tutorial (Part 4 will be my Haul) as well c:~ Bhiner is so easy, isn't it?

    1. Ohh! I saw! You were actually my inspiration to try Bhiner out! <3 I have actually been pleasantly surprised with how user friendly Bhiner is. O-O I didn't expect that at all! Haha


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