Shopping is functional, and I usually find it to be a chore because of that fact. I need underwear, so I go buy them. There's nothing exciting in that transaction. So while shopping when you have to spend money is boring, shopping when you realise you get to save loads of money - and use to it buy other stuff like uhm, more LEGO - can get a little more interesting.
Because if you don't already know, Taobao is THE online place to surf to for everything under the sun. You name it, they have it. And I do not mean only apparel, accessories or bags - they carry furniture, basins, toilet bowls and get this, even raw whole chickens!
Okay, so chickens are not exactly my idea of online shopping but the important thing is most of the online blog shops or the shopping kiosks at shopping malls get their stocks from Taobao nowadays and conveniently mark up the prices. So why not cut them out and get the stuff you want directly from the vendors in China?
Only problem is... not only is the entire Taobao website predominantly in Mandarin, the vendors do not ship internationally. To receive my items, I would have enlist a third party agent to coordinate payment and shipping. But which third party agent is the most reliable?
Headache much, no?
Well, not if you use SGshop.
Priding itself as the most reliable Singapore online shopping platform and dedicated to provide reliability, safety, cost effective and outstanding service, SGshop is a locally-registered company that allows you to shop from Chinese e-shopping websites, like Taobao, at wholesale prices BUT IN ENGLISH!
So yes, whatever you can find on Taobao, you can find it on SGshop.
To get started, just search for your desired item on SGshop column at the top of the page or through its extensive product list. Alternatively, you can do your search on any chinese e-site, copy and paste the item's URL in SGshop's search column.
Since Ale's birthday is round the corner, the wifey and I decided to take the opportunity to make a bulk purchase of items to stuff in her birthday's goodie bags for her friends in nursery school. And look what we found!
A combo pack consisting of a Frozen wallet and watch! On top of telling the time, the watch also projects an image of Anna and Elsa on the wall... and ALL these, for S$1.44 for one pack. THAT IS INSANE! I shudder to think the price I will have to fork out if I were to purchase this pack from a retail shop here.
As for the boys in Ale's class, we found the equivalent in the form of Cars which was also retailing for S$1.44 per pack. These obviously went into our shopping cart in a heartbeat.
Once we were satisfied with our items, we headed to our SGshop shopping cart, reviewed our items and placed our order!
Payment-wise, there are various modes available - PayPal, eNets and Credit Card. Do note though, that service fees are chargeable as seen below.
To save on the merchant fees, I recommend making payment using your account balance. This is done by first doing inter-bank transfer from your bank account to your SGshop's credit account. There is no fee involved, but the credit is not immediate as SGshop will need time to verify the transfer. However, the verification is done within 24 hours and an SMS acknowledgement will be sent to you once the money has been successfully credited.
Oh, and we also had to choose the method of shipping before making the first payment. There are a few options available with the fastest being Express Air (1-2 working days) and the slowest being Sea Shipment (12-16 working days). I chose Economy Air, which meant my items will take 3-5 working days to reach Singapore.
What is Special Air? It also took 3-5 working days but is for more special items like electronics. So yes, our order (it had watches) fell into this category and it was through this that I had the opportunity to encounter SGshop's customer service.
A day after placing my order, I received a call from a customer service officer (CSO) from SGshop informing me that because my items contained electronic items, I had to ship my order via the more expensive option (Special Air). A cheaper alternative would be through Sea Shipment but that would take 8-12 working days. I then requested the CSO to check with the China Vendor how heavy would the shipment be to weigh my options. Less than 2 hours later, I received a call and was told that the total weight of my order will come up to approximately 2kg. I gave the go-ahead to use Special Air and that was it.
Personally, I loved that everything was settled without me having to actually liaise with the China Vendor directly... especially since he/she probably would not be able to converse in English fluently. Convenience FTW!
About one week after I had placed my orders, I received an SMS notification that my items have reached SGshop's warehouse in Singapore! And this was where I had to make my second payment for the shipping fees which can be seen in detail HERE.
As delivery or collection, there are four options: Advanced Delivery or Budget Delivery are payable while MRT Collection or Self Collection are free of charge.
I opted for Self-Collection at SGshop's waerhouse which was at Ubi. Finding it was a breeze, and ditto for the collection process.
And just like that, I have my order items in my hand!
To be honest, I had fully expected that some of my purchased items would not reach me, or that there would be missing or defective items. But you know what the shocking truth was? Every item reached me in good condition! All thanks to SGshop's free inspection of all items done at its China warehouse.
In the end, the overall charges (inclusive of shipping charges) came up to about $2.80 per combo pack which in all honesty is still dirt cheap!
I do feel that the shipping and delivery charges are on the high side though, but I guess this is offset by the many benefits that comes with shopping on the SGshop platform:
- Convenience: The easy-to-use order system means that I can search for items in English, and communicate with English-speaking SGshop staff compared to Chinese vendors.
- Peace of Mind: The SGshop staff in China checks all items for defects before sending them to Singapore from their Guangzhou warehouse. If there are any defects found during inspection, the items will be sent back to the seller for a free exchange or full refund.
- Free parcel combination: Orders will be consolidated into a single shipment, and items repacked so as to reduce the size and weight of the parcel.
- Great customer service: In addition to SMS notifications regarding money top-ups, problems with orders, and arrival of items in Singapore, I had a first-hand encounter with SGshop's customer service team for my delivery issues and I was impressed with its efficiency and response time.
I have to admit, my first experience in ordering items from a China e-site turned out much better that I anticipated. Everything was relatively fuss-free... and I highly suspect the wifey is already eyeing MORE loots from Taobao via SGshop!
To get started and let you fingers do the shopping, visit www.sgshop.com now!