Who doesn't know Taobao? If you've lived in China for at least a month, you must have at least heard about it.
Taobao, China's biggest online shopping platform, provides a very easy way to shop. You can practically find anything on Taobao with all ranges of price, which makes it a big loss if you don't use it in China.
Unfortunately though, we've noticed that some foreigners do not actually know how to make transactions on Taobao. If you happen to be one of them, don't worry, because you are far from alone. And even better, right now we're going to explain to you how to use the popular platform.
So, let's start.
The screenshots below were taken from an iOS-powered phone. The process might be different in other operating systems, but the steps are similar.
First, download the Taobao app (手机淘宝).
Open it, tap on "我的淘宝" section on the down right corner of your screen.
On the next page, tap "免费注册".
On the next page, fill in your country/region in the column “国家地区”. “中国大陆” (Mainland China) will be the default option.
Next, fill in your cell phone number in the column “手机号码”, then click “下一步” to move on to the next step.
After you click “下一步”, this page will appear. Slide the white box to the right.
Then, fill in the box with what's written on the captcha. After that click "确定".
The next step is to call Alipay.
Next, set up your password in the “登陆密码” column, and username in the “会员名” column.
Tap “确定” when done. Note that you can't change your username afterwards because it will be used as one of the sign in methods.
Below is your “我的淘宝” page. At this point, you already have an active Taobao account.
But wait, this is not the end. Remember you haven't put any personal information in your account? Well, that's what's the next step is all about. Now tap on your Taobao avatar.
On this page, you can basically edit your personal information.
淘宝头像：Taobao avatar/profile picture.
会员名：Username (can't be changed)
淘宝昵称：Taobao nickname. This will appear as your username, and can be changed whenever you want.
我的二维码名片：My two-dimensional code card (might or might not appear in other OS like Android)
我的地址：Address. Please try to input your Chinese address.
After you're done with your personal information, tap on the arrow on the top left corner.
If you haven't set your payment method, when you try to purchase, this page will appear. This is the Alipay registration section. What you need to do is to enter a 6-digit numerical password.
Read：How to Register Alipay Account for Foreigner
Next, confirm your password.
Enter your bank card number in the "卡号" column. After that, tap on "下一步".
Next step, you need to fill in registered personal information of the bank card you are using. If you are, for example, using your Chinese friend's card, you need to fill in their personal information just as registered in the card.
证件：Document (if you use your passport, choose "护照")
储蓄卡卡号：Savings card number
手机号码：Mobile phone number
付款校验码：Payment verification code
同意协议并付款：Agree and proceed to pay
Now that everything's set, you are ready to shop on Taobao!
Instead of explaining to you step by step, in this section we're going to give you a list of important vocabularies that you need to know while using Taobao.
1. 加入购物车 jiārù gòuwǔchē : Add to Shopping Cart
Tapping on the button with this text on basically means you want to buy the item, but not now. Your item will be saved in your "Shopping Cart".
2. 购物车 gòuwǔchē : Shopping Cart
This is where you "store" all the products that you find interesting and you plan to buy. Tapping on a button with this text on will bring you to the list of stuffs that have been added to the cart after you click "加入购物车".
3. 结算 jiésuàn : Settlement
This button appears when you mark items from your "Shopping Cart". Tapping on this means you want to proceed to the next step of the transaction.
4. 提交订单 tíjiāo dìngdān : Submit Order
This button appears in the next page after you click "结算". Tapping on this will lead you to the payment transaction. You CANNOT back out from the transaction after you click this button.
5. 立即购买 lìjí gòumǎi : Buy Immediately
Tapping on this means that you want to buy the product immediately without saving it in your "Shopping Cart" first.
6. 确定 quèdìng : Confirm
Tapping on this means you're determined to proceed.
Always check the item's rating and feedbacks from previous customers before you buy it.
Use a dictionary or translator to translate the name of item that you want to buy. You can always insert the item's English name, but the result will not be as variative as when you type in Chinese, and in most cases the price will be more expensive.
Here are links of the best online translators:
While you can't back out after clicking "提交订单", you can still cancel the transaction as long as the vendor hasn't sent out the item to you.
Hope this helps.