The Purchase Process – a Closer Look
The Quick and Dirty Buying Guide will show you the basics of how to buy stuff. But if you are looking for some elaboration on those points, check this out.
Step 1: Buy It
Click on the big orange button in the middle of the page 立刻购买 (buy now).
The next screen allows you to confirm your order details including shipping address / method.
1. The Product
This is the product you want to buy, and the Seller who you are buying from.
2, 3 and 4. Shipping Address
Number 2 lists your current shipping addresses. Numbers 3 and 4 let you edit your shipping addresses, and add a new one. Make sure that all your shipping addresses are in Chinese, and are 100% accurate! If nobody is home while you are at work, you may consider adding your office address to the list.
5. Order Quantity
How many of these things do you want to buy? Defaults to one, (and displays the maximum available in parenthesis).
6. Shipping Options
This will show your shipping options including 平邮 regular mail, 快递 kuaidi and EMS.
Kuaidi companies deliver during the day and someone will have to be present to receive it. You can also add your office address if that is more convenient.
If you are clever, you can tell the Seller to have the kauidi company deliver it on the weekend. Or if you have an Ayi, you can have it delivered while she is at your home.
If you choose regular mail, you will have to go to the post office with your passport in order to claim your treasure. This is best used if you want to order several different things and don’t want to keep a lookout for multiple kuaidi deliveries. You can pick them all up together on the weekend.
EMS is just expensive and slow. Not recommended.
7. CAPTCHA Image
To make sure that you are a human.
8. Special Instructions
This is a good place to confirm what size or color you want. You can also request that the delivery take place at a certain time. For example, if your Ayi comes on Tuesday mornings, you can request that kuaidi should deliver then.
The little checkbox below #8 will let you place your order Anonymously. Perhaps useful if you buy something naughty?
9. Confirm Your Order
Don’t stress! This is not a payment confirmation, it is an order confirmation. No money is released yet. Even if you click this, you can still change your mind, and you won’t lose any money.
Clicking this Confirm button will take you to a payment screen. You can either pay right away, or come back to it later. I often make big purchases, and then find out that I have a small account balance. Then I remind myself to make a trip to the post office to recharge my Taobao account.
Clicking this button will also let the Seller know your details. So the Seller may contact you (by phone or SMS) with any inquiries (such as “what color do you want?” or “when are you going to pay up!?”).
If you do change your mind between now and the next step, the worst that can happen is if the Seller gives you some bad feedback, which is not a big deal as a buyer. The Seller can also still adjust the price, so if you have negotiated a better deal, that adjustment will always happen after this Confirm here.