How to Shop Taobao like a Local?
Enjoy the full product selection on Taobao and the lowest prices, just like a local Chinese Taobao shopper!
Here's a little guide on how to shop Taobao like a local.
Spot the Difference
How do you tell if Taobao is classifying me as a local (China-based) or a foreigner (non-China-based)?
Taobao classifies you as a local or foreigner based on your IP-Address and its geographical location. This is detected automatically by Taobao's internal systems when you visit the website. If your IP address is non-China based, Taobao will automatically show you the world.taobao.com website instead of the pure taobao.com website itself.
If you're visiting Taobao from outside of China, Taobao will automatically display the world.taobao.com site instead of Taobao.com. Below, you may also see a the flag of the country you're surfing Taobao from, or if it's not one of the listed countries, then a generic 'world' flag will be displayed.
If on the other hand you're visiting Taobao within China, Taobao will display the www.taobao.com website to you instead. You will have access to exactly the same Taobao page as locals in China do.
Why does it matter?
Why does it matter whether I'm viewing world.taobao.com or taobao.com?
Wider Variety, Selection & Lower Prices!
As any experienced Taobao shopper will tell you, the truth is, there is a far far wider selection of items on the generic Taobao site itself than the World Taobao site. Here's the reason. The vast majority of Taobao sellers are not on the World Taobao site and only on the generic Taobao site. Here are a couple of reasons why.
(1) They don't want the hassle of dealing with international customers, international payments and exchange rates costs. The 1.4 billion local population in China is more than large enough a market to these Taobao stores.
(2) The vast majority of Taobao sellers don't offer international shipping. They also don't wish to deal with the logistics of international shipping. Again, their local market is more than large enough to them.
As a result, limiting yourself to just the Taobao World site would be to severely limit your options when buying and sourcing from Taobao. The World Taobao site is far inferior to the generic Taobao site for these reasons:
(1) Most Taobao stores aren't on it so you don't get access to them
(2) Even among the small minority of Taobao stores featured on the World Taobao site, many of them don't offer international shipping
(3) Even among those who do offer international shipping, the process is a real hassle because the default shipping costs are often very high, and you'll have to negotiate the shipping costs with the seller. Even if they do agree to lower the shipping cost, the process of them editing the shipping cost is also a real hassle for non-local to have to go through since you will still need to checkout and submit your order before they can edit the shipping cost.
(4) The Taobao stores on World Taobao may sometimes price their products slightly higher than those only on the generic Taobao site because they know that foreigners are more likely to accept a higher price. Many of the bargains found with Taobao stores only on the generic Taobao site will not be available to you.
Here's an example regarding selection. A simple search for the generic word '鞋子' which means 'shoes' in mandarin returns just 100+ results on the World Taobao site, whereas on the generic Taobao site, you see 500+ results.
Just 100+ results returned on the World Taobao site
500+ results returned on the generic Taobao site, and this is only because the search term 'shoes' is overly generic. In actuality there are likely tens of millions of different shoe products on the generic Taobao site itself, but you will need more specific searches to find them
How do I get full access to Taobao?
Here's how you can get full access to the generic Taobao site instead of just World Taobao.
Just go to the country selector on the top left of the page where you see the country flag, click on the dropdown then select the second country from the top with the Chinese national flag, '中国大陆' which translates to Mainland China.
That's all you have to do. You're now on the generic Taobao site and can enjoy the full range of products and bargains than local Taobao shoppers in China all enjoy
That's it, you're all set. Enjoy Taobao in its full and original entirety, don't be limited just becaue you're outside China. After all, for whatever items you'd like to buy, just submit your order to us and we'll buy and ship it internationally to you. Break all barriers to buying and shipping internationally from China by using CWELogistics.