Good day people.
As you all probably already know, from Claire’s previous posts, we are currently preparing our new BTO flat for human inhabitation. So before we can start breaking things and building things, we need to have some of the materials ready right? Lights being one of them, because HDB don’t give you light fixtures when they hand you the keys. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they’re cheap, although they skimp on other parts.. Something like lights are subjected to personal preferences, so if they fix some lighting for us I think we will curse them (more than we already are).
Me and the wifey had been walking around the country shopping for these things, and lights I find are very expensive here. So I went online to do some research, the ‘some’ slowly became an ‘excessive’ research.
I ended up ordering all my lights from China. I noticed that whatever the local lighting shops sell I can find them on Taobao. Exactly.The.Same. At least from the product pictures on Taobao. So why would I wanna spend the premium price to get them all from local shops, is what I told myself.
Buying from Taobao is hardwork though, because of the amount of time you need to invest reading through all the reviews and common issues other users encountered. Some of these users will also post photos of the items they received, so you have to look through all these and weigh the pros and cons buying from these sellers on Taobao, making sure to buy from those more reputable sellers that pose minimal risks in receiving a lemon. If you got a lemon… There’s no telling whether you can even get any replacement or refund at all because… the seller is in China…
Here are a few things to note when shopping on Taobao:
- The number of items sold is usually the first thing I look at. I will pick the shop with the most number of items sold (considering the price too) because that would mean it will have the most reviews from fellow users.
- The reputation of the shop of course. Try to buy from at least Diamond sellers. Ratings are as follows:
(Lowest) Hearts < Diamonds < Blue Crown < Gold Crown (Highest) (usually at the top left corner of the page)
- The reviews from fellow users. I would read through the bad reviews if any, and those with pictures. Taobao has the option to filter the reviews by Good, Neutral, Bad; and many other random keywords that appeared multiple times in the multitude of reviews.
One have to know how to read Chinese in order to effectively shop on Taobao. Because Google translate isn’t very accurate. But lucky me I had a very cina upbringing so I had no problems whatsoever.
Taobao gives you the option to deliver the purchased goods to directly to you. But I used a popular forwarding company here and found the services to be cheap and good. And so I bought 3x ceiling lights, 1 spider light, 3 pendant lights with shade, 3 pendant lights without shade, 30 LED light bulbs, also 1 kitchen tap and 2 wash basin taps as well. All these for around 500 bucks only. When we went shopping in local shops, we calculated like 1k plus for the lights needed for the whole house. Thats like 50% savings! Of course there are risks involved when buying from Taobao, there’s the risk of broken bulbs dented shades etc from possible mishandling. But I was lucky when I received them, they all survived the trip from China to my place!
After this good experience from Taobao, I am considering buying small furnitures from there too. Trust me, its much much much cheaper even though you need to ship it here. That will probably be another post liao.
Ciao people, hope this information helps.
P.S. Go download 汪信 so you can communicate with the sellers easily, usually they will ask me to confirm my shipping addresses and if you have any issues you can always just talk to them directly.