Do you run a WooCommerce website and are interested to sell the Taobao products? Then this article is for you!

Taobao statistics

Taobao is Chinas largest online shopping site and 10th most visited website in the world. Taobao had 2017 together with a combined transaction volume over 3 trillion yuan, more then all of US retailers and e-commerce sites combined. It has over 128 million unique daily visitors as well as 7 million merchants. It truly is a monster e-commerce website with a huge range of products.

Taobao vs Factories (Alibaba)

The products are aimed at Chinese costumers so the prices are also adjusted for that. Prices in China is, compared to most countries, very cheap even if it is aimed at the normal consumer. Buying from Taobao and selling it in your online store is therefore in most cases a very smart idea to do.

The more common process is to contact factories found at Alibaba (also owner of Taobao) and buy products from them but that has many drawbacks.

  • You are for example dealing with only 1 seller with a small range of products.
  • Factories also has in most cases very high MOQ to fill. For small e-commerce sites this becomes a problem.

Taobao has on the other hand has no MOQ to fill and you have a HUGE range of products to choose from.

Factories are not the only one who have downside, Taobao do as well have a few.

  • The shipping cost most agents have is very expensive and slow (30 days+ is not uncommon).
  • Compared to factory prices the Taobao prices are naturally higher because they are aimed at Chinese consumers and you also have to pay the local shipping fee to your agent as well as the commission to your agent.
  • Buying from Taobao is a lot more complicated. You are going to need the URL to the product as well as a description of the product variant you want.
  • Finding what you want is very hard if you can’t read Chinese. This might sound easy but remember, Taobao is in 100% Chinese and even Google translate are struggling a lot with the translations.
  • It’s common that sellers change the product URL or simply just stop selling the product you want.

How to buy from Taobao

To buy form Taobao you are going to need an agent that can buy what you want and ship it to you in one shipment. A good agent will help you with allot more than just buying and shipping your products.  They also provide you with help on finding products or asking sellers questions as well as confirming what the seller is sending so it truly is what you did order.

Be very careful with what agent you use. The cheapest ones are not always the best. They might search similar products for a much cheaper price then what you paid for and send you those products instead. Remember to compare there shipping costs, this is many times how to earn money.

All of Taobao is in Chinese so unless you know Chinese then i recommend that you use google translate directly on the page. You will see that google does not translate it well but you should be able understand most things. When you want to search for something you have to translate what you want to search into Chinese and again this is gonna be problematic. Some times you will get search results completely different from what you are looking for. Try to search for different similar words or ask your agent for help.

How to manage Taobao products in WooCommerce

Now even if you manage to find the best possible agent and your dream products to sell, you still have the issue on how to manage it in your WooCommerce shopping site. There is no place to store the product URL or product variant that you need to provide to your agent next time you need to order it. There is however a good solution to the problem. The plugin Order and Inventory Manager for WooCommerce solves this by adding “Supplier Product URL” and “Supplier Product Notes” properties to all of your products.

With that plugin, all you have to do is

  1. Create a supplier “Taobao”
  2. Assign the Taobao supplier to all your Taobao products.
  3. Enter all URL’s and product notes (product variation info) for all your Taobao products.
  4. Filter all your product by supplier to only see Taobao products.
  5. Enter amount you want to order and click “Create PO”.

You now have a downloadable file with all your Taobao items in it with the corresponding URL’s and product notes (description of variants).

This file is ready to be sent to your agent. Next time you order these products you only have to do step 4 and 5.

Now here is the best tip I can give you! If you already have some factory in China you are buying products from, try asking them if they would be interested to be your agent. Offer then the same rates as the agents take and you will be happy to see how willing they are to help with this. The best part of this is that they will use the same shipping rates as for their own products and this can have a huge positive impact in the total Taobao cost.