Home » Advanced Tactics

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.
Next: Paying for your Taobao Order


  • SB said:

    I have been trying to make a slightly larger purchase (800-900 kuai). I have tried from 3 different sellers now and after 3-4 days it still hasn’t shipped and has this 买家已付款,等待卖家发货 in the alipay transactions listings. I understand this says (through Google translator) the Buyer must pay the seller before shipping. But as I understand the tao bao purchasing process, I don’t really understand how I do this. Can you offer any help? What do I do to get them to ship my product or is it just not available? None of the sellers have contacted me.

  • laobanniang said:

    Hi SB, the google translation is not exactly correct, 买家已付款,等待卖家发货 means “the buyer has already paid, waiting for the seller to send out the goods”, so normally at this stage, you don’t have to do anything, just wait. However, it is not normal to wait for 4 days and still have no goods at hand. Check out if there’s any message that any of these sellers left in wangwang chat, just click any of the wangwang head beside the seller’s name, it will bring up a chat window. The messages from different sellers will pop out in different tabs with their user name as the tab title. if there’s no messages from any of them, usually it’s just they are out of stock. We suggest you go ahead apply for a refund following this guide.

  • Julie said:

    What happens if I’m not at home when the kuaidi delivery arrives? Does the package go back to the seller, or can I go somewhere to retrieve it? It seems that some seller only authorize kuaidi deliveries and not regular mail, and that is quite not convenient for me!
    And thank you for your wonderful site, I am in the process of completing my first taobao buy and it is thanks to you!

  • laobanniang said:

    Hi Julie, kuaidi’s job is to deliver the good to your hand. So if you’re not at home, the guy would usually call you with the number you left for contact, and set up a time that you’ll be at home, so that he can deliver again. but if you’re not at home most of the time like most of us do, well, we just input our office address for most of our purchases, as long as it’s not a very big item. the front desk will always be there to receive the product for you and inform you about it. =)

  • Cheryl said:

    I made several orders today, including payment. Later the sellers called me to say that they did not have everything in stock. Will they adjust the amount owed on their end or will I need to go the refund route before the money is released to them?

  • laobanniang said:

    Hi Cheryl, both seller and buyer can close the transaction, I’m not sure how sellers do it, but I’m sure they can. If they did, you’ll see the order status will be “交易关闭”(transaction closed). To be safer, you can also do this on your end following this guide

  • DH said:

    What if I bought an item but changed my mind?

  • henry said:

    Taobao has changed their screens, these screenshots don’t match the website now.

  • Barbie said:


    Yes! that’s true Henry. we have a same problem. I’m confusing with so many tables and hanzis…

  • Miel said:

    Need advice, I’ve order a shoes from MAY 30th, but the seller has not shipped the goods, I try to contact the seller he said he did not notice that I have been order from 5 days ago because he’s been busy, and he promised will send the goods today. Until now I can see from my taobao status he has not shipped the goods. and he’s not online, what should I do?

  • Miel said:

    I think, I want to apply for a refund because I tried to contact the seller he never respond to me, he said that he would send the goods but had three days of waiting he never sent the goods. In your opinion, I can get my money back? Since I use recharging through the post office?

  • laobanniang said:

    Hi Miel, You can apply for a full refund in this case. Taobao will get your money back from the seller and put in in your Alipay account. But you’ll have to get your identity certified with Alipay before you can use that part of the balance. Check out the refund guide here and Alipay certification guide here.

  • Miel said:

    Hi, laobanniang. thank you for your advice. I got my money back already. I have apply a refund last Saturday. when I submitted my refund have to register my account on alipay security controls. and now I want to pay for my order but I get this 您 还未 安装 密码 安全 控件, 安装 后 即可 输入 密码 and I installed it and follow the instructions, still can not make put password.
    Need your help , thanks.

  • laobanniang said:

    Hi Miel, Taobao just updated the security plug-in 2 days ago. Looks like the new version only works fine with IE currently. I had the same problem when paying for my purchase on Chrome, then I switched to IE and it was fine after upgrading the plug-in as instructed. I really hope Taobao could improve its compatibility soon…

  • Miel said:

    Hi , Laobanniang THANKS for your information and suggestions, I really appreciate it .You are the best . and THANKS again for this website .

  • Miel said:

    Hi , Laobanniang .
    i try to apply for a refund for my stuff trough the alipay control panel as i go to the last transaction there’s no option for the refund on my stuff i want to refund for .as i have had contact with the seller and we both are agreed to refund me after i send the goods .because i cant see refund option on the control panel so i go trough to the order nearly my 3 months page and it give options to refund and as the seller ask about the freight as i agreed but he refused because i can’t modify the freight for him . and i cant find the word such as (Point revised refund agreement open ) as he gave me a hint.he seems willing to refund me on my alipay account.i gave my alipay account name but he said that was incorrect and he said my account is not register , that can’t be right . because i have my alipay accout already?????

  • Miel said:

    Finally , I have solve the problem after working it out for about 2 hours ,how to deduct the postage cost . i got the refund … yeeeyyy .

  • laobanniang said:

    Hi Miel, Could the seller mean your account is not user identity certified?

  • my_city said:

    Hi, there have been a few times when I’ve ordered something and the seller has contacted me to say the shipping cost listed is not enough to send to me. Since I’ve usually already paid, they ask me to pick something else from their store to purchase without paying, then they adjust the price of that item to equal however much more they need for shipping, then I pay when the adjustment has been made. It sounded legit, but I just wanted to check and make sure I’m not getting ripped off! Has anyone else had this experience?

  • laobanniang said:

    Yeah, it happens. Sometimes the sellers aren’t sure about how much it costs to ship his/her item, especially among new sellers. But I think this is only acceptable when if s/he had already stated in the product description that the shipping fee might not be the same as it’s listed, and buyer have to inquire first before ordering.

  • LoriAnn said:

    Do you know anything about “淘江湖”? I’ve been using taobao for several purchases over the last few weeks. I went to leave feedback for someone today and was rewarded “淘金币”. It wants me to sign-up at http://qz.jianghu.taobao.com in order to redeem the points (and spend them on gifts, I think it says?) but I can’t read the whole terms of service (available at http://www.taobao.com/go/rgn/taojianghu/agreement20100105.htm) and don’t want to agree to something I don’t understand.

  • The Field Guide (author) said:

    淘江湖 is the Taobao social network. For us foreigners, it is not worth the effort, nor are the points. (Unless you are really keen on winning yourself a knickknack.) Safe to ignore!

  • Anna said:


    I have some questions about the shipping, if I chose regular mail how long does it take and how do I know when to get my order, do I get a mail or something that it has arrived at the postoffide?

    And a friend told me that I need to tell the seller that I paid my order, is this necessary?

  • ken said:

    There’s a new button beside “buy it now” button, what’s that? Is there any taobao agent to send goods to China?

  • Marina said:

    Hi i Though EMS was faster and i clicked is there anyway to change it to kuai delivery?

  • TJ said:

    Hi, I have questions about the payment method on taobao. Is the payment only can get through local CHINA credit card ? can I use my international visa/ mastercard ? or is there anyway that I can pay with paypal ?

    Do we have to register to continue on the payment method ?

    If we are using regular mail (send to CHINA), will they indicate which post office they send to ? and can we arrange with the post office to locate the items to the nearest where we live ?

    thank you.

  • Vivian said:

    If I choose for the delivery man to appear at my doorstep, do I have to pay in Yuan or my country’s currency?

  • tim said:

    in china although my address is given the kuaidi companies always sent a message or phone to say I should pick it up from their office.why is this? how could i tell them to deliver it to my door instead?

  • Emily Cheng said:

    For EMS, do you have to be present for them to deliver the package or is it just mailed to your address?

  • PJ said:

    @tim This happened to me a few times. It’s usually (or at least in my case) because the place you live is outside of the Kuaidi company’s “delivery area”. I had to pick up a few packages myself before realizing that it was always the same company that had this problem. I then told the sellers not to use that particular Kuaidi company because of this issue. Others worked without a problem.

    @Emily Cheng Just like the Kuaidi option, someone has to be there to sign for the package, at least it has been like this for me…

  • redmonstercc said:

    hi!! just wondering how long does it take for 平邮?

  • anna said:

    for kuaidi, is it price per item or per purchase from store?


  • lily said:

    Hello,I have ordered some stuffs and had given my university address in kummning. The problem now is that I have left the country for my vacations and I couldn’t wait for the goods to be delivered as I couldn’t cancel my flight. Also I’ve lost my phone unfortunately the day I left the country and now nobody is there in the campus to claim it. I will return to China only on September. So what will happen to my stuffs? How can I retrieve it back? Plus I don’t speak mandarin so it’s difficult to call up the company.

  • ying said:

    everytime i try to confirm my order, it says that it is busy. how should i go about this?

  • donna lee said:

    Hallo,I need help!!!im ordering taobao for the 1st time,I already make the payment,and somehow I make mistake on my shipping process..now my parcel is stuck bcoz I need add on the international shipping fee..how to I need to fix back my order?or should I just make a refund?

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