We live in a world where online shopping is extremely popular. It is a lot easier when we see everything that we like on our computer screens and with just a few clicks it is already on the way. We avoid all the crowds and all of the unnecessary headaches. Another thing that is in additional benefit to the online shopping, is the fact that many websites offer the same products. These websites offer the same products, with much lower prices than the local stores and that makes the online shopping experience even better.
What is Taobao?
We are used to sites like Amazon or Ebay and now it’s time to meet Taobao – Chinese online shopping service. Many small businessmen can have their own online shop on Taobao primarily for Chinese speaking regions. The Taobao agents allow customers that are not from China to shop for their favorite products and receive them no matter in which part of the world are they located. Taobao is one of the world’s top 10 most visited websites. It has more than 5 million registered users, 80 million product listings and more than 50 000 purchases are made every minute through Taobao. The Taobao business offers a lot of different benefits to their clients, starting from paying with Alipay, the users can always see the customer feedback with only one click. Taobao’s mascot is in a form of an ant and so that it will represent the hard working employees and the Taobao agents that work there. Another fun fact is that Happy Taobao is their own TV and web service.
What are Taobao agents?
By definition, Taobao agent is an online service (or a micro website) that provides the opportunity for people who do not have Chinese bank accounts (or who live in overseas countries) to make Taobao purchases. Taobao is a very interesting service for people that live in the Chinese-speaking regions and that have Chinese bank accounts. Many people from other parts of the world are showing interest in Taobao, but they cannot shop directly from the service. That is why there are Taobao agents that speak good English and they help customers to choose their favorite product and then make all the arrangements so that the product can be shipped to them.
How to shop using Taobao agents?
The process starts with the users, they search for products on the Taobao website and if they are interested in buying a specific product, then they copy the link of the product and paste it into the link box for the Taobao agent. The Taobao API is opened for every user, but all of the content is written is Chinese, so the customers will have to translate the content using Google Translate, or they should ask some of the Taobao agents to do the translation for them. The agents are obligated to present the exact price in USD (or some other currency). True Taobao agents do not increase the price of the product and customers are advised not to use services where the agent increases the price of the product. The client should always check the shipping fee before they make the purchase and Taobao’s agents have the right to charge for their services. The price is usually 10% of the basic price (product price plus shipping fee). Another thing that the client should be aware of is that there are different types of agents, so one should always check the reviews for the Taobao agents so they should choose them carefully. When a customer wants to contact the Taobao agent, they could do that directly on their site, or they can always write an email in which he can request all of the information about the Taobao business and service.
Purchasing process via Taobao agent goes with these few steps.
1.Ordering a product from Taobao.
2.Providing a warehouse where the items will be received.
3.Quality check of the items and taking photographs.
4.Repacking the product.
5.Printing a declaration with agent’s logo and order details.
6.Checking the final weight and shipping to the customer.
How to become a Taobao agent?
Many people that know the Taobao business usually ask how to be a Taobao agent and how they can become one. The process is pretty easy, but there is a certain set of skills required that a proper Taobao sales agent should have. Everyone can be Taobao agent in their country. First of all, the person has to know someone from China who will be an agent’s partner and will make the purchases, and second, to own a warehouse where the products can be received. All of the agents must have a significant level of English communication skills and they should also have a good knowledge of the products that Taobao is selling. The Taobao agent will have to be open, outgoing, with good manners and they will have to be friendly and polite in order to give all the needed information to the customer. Every Taobao agent should have some general sections on their site: product listing, price listing, shipping fee, delivery information and FAQ. Another thing that is really important is to have clear return and refund policies, delivery and tax prices, as well as service for missing or broken items. Every good Taobao agent should know all of this information so they can respond quickly if a customer is interested in some of the listed items. The better agents have a lot of features on their sites like Multilanguage options (besides English, they should offer their services in German, Russian, Polish, Italian etc.), good and easy navigation through their site, list of restricted items, branded goods, bulky and heavy items as well as virtual goods.
There are two ways of managing the orders.
1.Customers choose the items from Taobao and they translate the description and specifications with Google Translate and then send the list of the wished products to the agents. The agent have to list the products in Excel table manually because it is the easiest way to keep the track and to be sure that the things are made right, especially if there are many orders.
2.Customers place their orders to the agent’s website directly in their local language and currency. In this case, the agent can charge a service fee and manage the orders in the site’s system.
The price for a certain product can be higher for the person who wants to be a Taobao agent because they will have to develop their own site (or to pay someone to do it). Taobao also has an API document that is written in Chinese and it is updated often, with every change that is made to the basic site. That is why the potential agent has to find some Chinese partner or team that will help with this task.
Basically, the answer to the question how to become a Taobao agent is pretty simple, just make sure that your site is PHP developed where you can integrate the Taobao API document. The tricky part comes when you should learn all of the needed information and customize your website will all of the things a customer would want to know.
Everyone can start Taobao API on their Taobao PHP developed site. The Taobao open platform API exposes the Taobao’sbasic business process. The Taobao API includes a variety of services that are covering more than 15 categories. The actions that are available are shop category, shipping logistics, product information and more. The Taobao API uses the restful protocol in XML or JSON.