How To Navigate 淘宝 Taobao Checkout

This article is written to help people navigate buying from Taobao directly to avoid using Agent Fees. The site will always be in Chinese only but if you follow the below screens, you may be able to save yourself a few hundred dollars in agent fees. Hopefully this will demystify all the Taobao madness.

To find out more and to get more help, you can always join my facebook group:

For the mobile version of this article and other great information about Taobao books, conditions, etc., my good friend has written something super detailed on her page from Hands On Chinese Fun: How to Taobao on Your Mobile .

Step 1: Register on Taobao ( for an account. This is pretty self explanatory.

Step 2: Register on Alipay ( for an account. This is like their paypal and will allow you to use your American credit card to pay for your products.

2018-12-05 (2) step 1

This is their user agreement screen, click ok and move on.

Alipay step 2

Select your country and your cell phone number and then click on send text (gray button) and then enter in the confirmation number in the blue box after you got your text on your cell phone.

Alipay step 3.jpg

Choose your username and enter it twice (above) and then pick a password.

Alipay Step 4

They will tell you to enter in an ID… I put in a fake number and still worked. Note that above, I chose 其它证件.

Alipay Step 5

And then you’re done. Remember your sign-on and password. You’ll need it to pay later through TaoBao.

Step 3: Shop on Taobao and add stuff to cart. Choose sellers with lots of ratings and when buying items, make sure they have more than quantity of “1”… it makes it more likely that they are in it to conduct business and would be shipping stuff out right away. A popular book seller in China is DangDang if you’re buying books so try to buy from them if they’re available.

Step 4: Go to your cart, check off items you want to pay for and click right bottom button and we’ll begin the checkout process.

taobao checkout 1

This is the first screen you’ll see when you check out. The top orange section is choosing your shipping company. If you click on the right link that says 修改服务商, you can change your shipping company and here are your choices:

shipping choices

Either EMS or JCEX both will get you or items by air. EMS has a limit of 30kg/shipment and the rates are only slightly more pricey than JCEX but once it’s in the states, it comes 90% of the time through UPS. JCEX comes through USPS. Either one is fine. Just know this the ONLY time you’ll get to choose a shipping carrier and it cannot be changed after you click order. It dictates which warehouse your goods are going to in order to be combined for shipment later. After you’re done selecting, click the orange button for being done with selection. Make sure the bottom left box is also checked saying that you agree to their terms where they’ll help you combine shipping.

JCEX packs and combines your individual seller items in a box without first unwrapping from their original packaging. EMS first will unbox each of your packages from individual seller and then combine it in one box. We had group members use both and both were fine.

Inked2018-12-09 (7)_LIInked2018-12-09 (6)_LI

In your shopping cart, you’ll see these drop down menus. It shows you if there was a discount in your cart. You can elect not to take the discount, a different discount, etc. For ebooks, I usually elect I don’t want them because it sometimes messes up with your shipping later when they can’t find your “ebooks” and usually those free ebooks aren’t great.

Inked2018-12-09 (8)_LI

When you’re done, hit pay and it should take you the alipay payment page. Here it shows you if you used any coupons again for the total. On the bottom in the orange box, it should show your name and your final shipping address!

Click on the orange button and you’ll get taken to Alipay. This is where you’ll sign in and enter in your credit card information. This is the easy part so I won’t bother with photos.

Step 5: You’re not done! Now you have to wait for your stuff to arrive in their warehouse to combine your shipment. After a day or two, you’ll get notifications that your things were shipped and your items are “in the warehouse.” In your 我的宝贝 link in your page,  you’ll find the stuff you bought here:

combining 1

On the right where I circled is where you click to sort through your combining shipments. 处理转运. Click on this and you’ll something like the following:

combining main

You will see many things here. All circled in blue. It tells you

  • 等待买家合单, 正常入库 – your package has arrived, been received and the weight is to the left. You have now 20 days (or X number of days) left to combine shipment before we charge you for warehouse storage fees.
  • 等待卖家发货 – waiting for seller to ship. It hasn’t even shipped yet.
  • 包裹签收成功 – we have received your package in warehouse and it’s awaiting to be weighed before it can be shipped to you.
  • 退回卖家 – to return to sender (if you regret and want to return it, you’ll have to click this, wait for the seller to give you return shipping address and then put that return shipping address in your order page for this product for the process – it’s really another discussion so I’ll leave it off for now).

You’ll see a box to the left of your order if it can be shipped now (which I have selected). You can wait some more days for the other packages to arrive or you can ship some now. I usually ship a package around 20kg but you can ship up to 30 kg a package. I have selected a few packages and the total package weight right now is on the bottom in orange print at aroung 19kg. The price to ship is 860RMB which is also at the bottom. That’s roughly 45RMB/kg which I’m okay with at this point. Then I click on the orange button 运费计算.

Now it’ll give you the screen where it shows all the ones that you checked off and the total for shipping again. This time you click the orange button and it takes you to Alipay again where you pay. After you pay, you’ll see this screen:

combining paid screen

Step 6: You wait for your package! If you’ve selected EMS/DHL, I highly suggest you sign up for UPS My Choice notifications. Go to the UPS website and sign up for a free account and click off notify me for my packages coming to my address. If you ever get a notice from UPS saying a PLink or SF Express is sending something to you, that would be your Taobao package. As to Taobao package tracking information, it will be in your accounts page as well after you pay for your shipping.

To find out more and to get more help, you can always join my facebook group:

There are many Taobao experts in the group. Cheers!

For other people who really cannot navigate a Chinese site, you can use Taobao Agents. However, please also be aware of the costs associated. To see a cost breakdown, please visit: TaoBao Agent vs. TaoBao Direct Cost Differences Example

4 responses to “How To Navigate 淘宝 Taobao Checkout”

  1. Hi! I was wondering if you’ve had any experience with Taobao’s new shipping courier CaiNiao since it seems likes EMS/DHL is no longer an option? I was initially hoping to use EMS since it seems like they repackage items when consolidating (which I assume would reduce shipping weight) and was wondering if CaiNiao does that as well (and how it compares with JCEX)! Thanks for writing up this informative guide!


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