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Manuel

The Taobao shopping experience

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ChTTay

same same.

 

Just got some new tee's in the children's day sale. Fantastic 

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Manuel

OK here is the latest one that proves that Taobao's search is a monumental POS. Shopping for decaffeinated coffee just now, on gf's iPhone we get countless results, scroll scroll scroll, page upon page, we never got to the last search result. On my Android phone I get exactly 28 results, then it says "没有更多内容了". This makes no sense. I suppose Android users don't drink decaf—that must be it.

 

It angers me because it means I may have missed on some good deals. This really insults intelligence.低咖啡因

 

PS: Perhaps you  can do this experiment: search for 雀巢低咖啡因 and see what you get.

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ChTTay

Seems to be called 脱咖啡因 not 低咖啡因.

 

 

1926414D-7320-4B71-8FEB-A0DC2BEE8615.png

 

edit: 无咖啡因 also works. I get no decent hits with 低咖啡因

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Manuel

Gf told me to search for 低咖啡因咖啡, that's what she calls it. Just asked her again what she had typed and she said 低咖啡因咖啡, so I insisted and asked her to double-check the search history. Turns out it was 底因咖啡 which indeed gives way better results—still, different on every device I've tried, including an Firefox incognito window, but that's probably Taobao's AI doing it's job. Feel kinda dumb.

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ChTTay
43 minutes ago, Manuel said:

Feel kinda dumb.

 

😂

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Manuel

That's the beauty of language learning: even the most embarrassing situations have didactic value.

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Baby Charlie

I use English in the search box, and it works just fine!

 

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Manuel

Great, advanced search is gone too! (just added it to the list in my first post). Advanced search used to be accessed at http://search1.taobao.com which no longer works, as confirmed by multiple Chinese users on various forums. Also added to my list the fact that sorting is a rubbish, it sorts however the heck it likes. If sorting by sales volume doesn't guarantee that the hottest item will appear at the top, then what good is it? They might as well change the captions to "Ascending random order" which is exactly what it does.

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889

Recently on Taobao/TMall I can't seem to get any search results beyond the first page unless I sign in, which I don't want to do. That, and the way they pretty much block mobile access unless you install the app, are now making the site too intrusive and controlling for my taste.

 

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Manuel

Example of nonsensical sort results, a problem I've reported to Taobao customer service 3 times over the years to no effect:

 

1914972980_Beforesort.thumb.png.e6e25ffc1084b3a2bf4a6420e6d20b02.png

 

In the above screen shot, we can see there is an item which was purchased 120 times (bottom-right). That's how items appear directly after searching, no sorting applied. Now we sort by sales volume, and the top item was purchased 86 times, which is less than 120:

 

1629438904_Aftersort.thumb.png.15d1028de5b1ed03832f1d667095f3e0.png

 

As it turns out in this particular example, these two items are the same item, and if you look inside the item it was actually purchased 252 times, which is neither 82 nor 120:

 

1931595407_Insideitem.thumb.png.fc6e50453a44c27e09e4ab34b1804ada.png

 

Another thing is that the number of results pages is less after applying the sort. All this deeply offends common sense. Most users are just too dumb to question Taobao's search & sort model, or simply can't  be bothered to report it and make a bit of noise. A small amount of discussion has taken place on previously on Chinese forums about these issues but nothing ever got done. Maybe it's time for Taobao to employ software developers with common sense.

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889

Is jd.com any better? I've never tried it. But the website seems busy and hard to read.

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Manuel
On 10/28/2018 at 4:01 PM, 889 said:

Is jd.com any better?

 

In jd.com sorting works, sort of. It can "sort" by sales volume and, more importantly, by number of feedback comments, the latter being immensely useful and the former totally useless. To most people, more feedback comments on a product means more sales, 0 comments means no sales. Yet sorting by sales volume, even on jd.com, you still get weird results, for example, I've just done a test and the top item had 0 comments and the second 400. I assume perhaps it means the seller of the first item has a higher sales volume? Both Taobao and JD.com seem to employ a similar sort model, so maybe I'm just not getting it. But, yes, JD is better as far as sorting goes.

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lakesandrivers

Every new foreign student I know is fast-becoming a Taobao addict. And I have helped about a dozen of them configure the app. 

 

Sellers delivering straight to campus is seriously a commercial no-brainer! 

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889

Actually, asking about jd.com I was wondering whether it's overall a better place to buy than taobao.

 

On taobao you've got individual sellers, and they play various games. Taobao doesn't seem to police the sellers much, so those "all-glass" spectacles you buy are pretty likely to be all-plastic. And the reviews praising the wonderful quality of the glass fake. That is, there's always a reasonable risk of not getting what you thought you ordered on taobao. Or not getting it at all.

 

So far as I understand, jd.com sells a lot of stuff itself, like amazon. Does this mean the descriptions and reviews are more reliable? And that they actually have in stock what they sell, instead of taking your money then making you wait two weeks to learn you're not getting your order after all?

 

There's also pingduoduo out there. Anyone tried it?

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XiaoXi
On 10/28/2018 at 2:33 PM, Manuel said:

Another thing is that the number of results pages is less after applying the sort. All this deeply offends common sense. Most users are just too dumb to question Taobao's search & sort model, or simply can't  be bothered to report it and make a bit of noise. A small amount of discussion has taken place on previously on Chinese forums about these issues but nothing ever got done. 

Lol I just finished posting about this and then noticed you'd already said it all! China have the worst search engines on the planet, I think it really constitutes an invention. Its crazy the things that appear when you search for certain things..

 

And yes, Chinese people don't complain about anything. If you look at their history you can see why.

 

On 10/28/2018 at 2:33 PM, Manuel said:

Maybe it's time for Taobao to employ software developers with common sense.

Lol they're lucky if they can get the year right...Go to the world.taobao.com homepage, scroll to the bottom of the page "2003-2017". Open a category you get '2003-2018'...It doesn't really matter much but this kind of thing doesn't happen in the west, especially not on huge sites like this. I see on the main taobao website they now have 2003-现在 but it's a simple PHP command to make it update the year automatically. Liveme.com is another Chinese site that is hugely popular but at the bottom the year still says 2017.

 

Even without the PHP command, with so many people working, administering huge sites like this, you'd think someone would say 'hold on, the year is wrong!' and just switch it to 2018 manually.

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Manuel
10 hours ago, 889 said:

On taobao you've got individual sellers, and they play various games. Taobao doesn't seem to police the sellers much, so those "all-glass" spectacles you buy are pretty likely to be all-plastic. And the reviews praising the wonderful quality of the glass fake. That is, there's always a reasonable risk of not getting what you thought you ordered on taobao. Or not getting it at all.

 

The main problem with shopping on Taobao is that sellers tell "half truths". The 3D computer graphics in the item description look deceptively amazing and perfect, but the the item you get is often poorly made, scratched, misshapen, wobbly, smelly, etc. Then the seller tells you to compromise and accept 10 RMB as compensation if you accept the item. Most dissatisfied customers usually  send the item back but often you see negative feedback left by customers who chose to NOT return the item and take the loss just so they could leave negative feedback. I've done this a few times and then the seller came back begging me to change the feedback, which of course I didn't do, in fact I left a follow-up message showing screenshots of him begging in the chat window. As I explained earlier, if you return the item, you can't leave feedback. This is one of Taobao's greatest loopholes and it's routinely exploited by sellers, as it allows them to get away with low quality products and deceptive descriptions, thereby perpetuating the notion that stuff made in China = low quality. Taobao is possibly the biggest marketplace in China at the moment; if Taobao allowed disgruntled buyters' voices to be heard, the quality of Chinese goods might actually get a chance to improve, but unfortunately 占便宜 ("taking advantage") is part of Chinese culture.

 

Another issue on is that in the item description it might say the item ships from Shanghai but it in fact ships from, say, Hebei. Sellers often use this trick to target specific cities. I usually only buy items located as near as possible to my city because it wastes less fuel, it's faster and also cheaper should I need to return the item, so I've got into the habit of asking the seller before paying. Unfortunately, I've forgotten to ask a couple of times. For example, an item I purchased recently was quoted as shipping from Shanghai, but the returns address I was given was in Hebei. Item costs 25 RMB and shipping it back will cost 20 RMB. I asked the seller why they display "Shanghai" when it should be "Hebei", and the answer I got was that they did no longer stock this item in their Shanghai warehouse. This is the oldest trick in the book. When I asked why they didn't change the location to reflect reality, they simply copy-pasted the same answer. I chose to keep the item and leave negative feedback.

 

10 hours ago, 889 said:

So far as I understand, jd.com sells a lot of stuff itself, like amazon. Does this mean the descriptions and reviews are more reliable? And that they actually have in stock what they sell, instead of taking your money then making you wait two weeks to learn you're not getting your order after all?

 

There are third-party sellers on JD.com too, although you can tell which ones those are. Items sold directly by JD.com itself are labelled "自营" , and these are usually the hot-sellers because JD is usually very reliable. However, the choice of products is usually greater on Taobao.

 

I've not used JD myself but I see a lot of negative feedback on product pages, so it may be possible to comment even after returning the product. However, JD is popular among business and corporate buyers because it issues fapiao, so it may be the case that the end user, usually a company employee, finds the pleasure and joy of leaving negative feedback make the unsatisfactory product tolerable, especially because they didn't pay for it themselves, which might explain why you see more negative feedback on JD than on Taobao, in general and even for the same product.

 

10 hours ago, 889 said:

There's also pingduoduo out there. Anyone tried it?

 

A Chinese friend told me PingDuoDuo is basically a rats nest of cheap products. Haven't tried it myself so I can't comment, but Taobao seems to be the most popular choice followed by JD.com.

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Manuel
49 minutes ago, XiaoXi said:

Lol I just finished posting about this and then noticed you'd already said it all! China have the worst search engines on the planet, I think it really constitutes an invention. Its crazy the things that appear when you search for certain things..

 

And yes, Chinese people don't complain about anything. If you look at their history you can see why.

 

I think most Chinese people are not very vocal because being vocal is dangerous in China. Even if the search is bad, eventually the get the information they want and move on. Reminds me of this Peep Show's "drawer failure" scene:

 

https://youtu.be/zqv4Clh2gYk

 

 

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DavyJonesLocker

JD hands down is better than taobao. Better service, stupidly fast delivery. I never once had anything fake or misrepresented . Foodstuff is always good quality, especially fruit. 

 

JD customer service have been great in the few times I needed to replace an item, which was in all cases due to the delivery guy crushing the food. You just upload a photo and they give you a decent discount on it . 

 

Hard to understand  why people still use Taobao when JD is out there. It just seems too much hard work and annoyance. Understandable if JD didn't stock an item but I wouldn't be concerned over a few kuai just because it's cheaper on Taobao. 

 

I bought whiskey before on taobao and despite all the hundreds of  good reviews, one sip and I instantly knew it was fake. I think people just didn't know what the real one actually tastes like   

 

However I did notice recently that JD started charging for delivery on water. taobao is free so that's a no brainer given the delivery cost is substantial on JD. 

 

Edit : for reference I use JD at the very least once a week and probably spend 2000 a month on it . Damm just checked it. That doesn't include the 20k large purchase like new TV fridges, phones,  etc 😮

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Manuel
2 minutes ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

JD hands down is better than taobao. Better service, stupidly fast delivery. I never once had anything fake or misrepresented . Foodstuff is always good quality, especially fruit. 

 

JD customer service have been great in the few times I needed to replace an item, which was in all cases due to the delivery guy crushing the food. You just upload a photo and they give you a decent discount on it . 

 

I've rarely had issues with delivery times on Taobao, most items I buy ship from near my location and reach me next day, two days at most. I've had problems with crushed items but that's down to the courier. I'm going to give JD a good try though, mainly because customer support is probably better.

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XiaoXi
20 minutes ago, Manuel said:

The main problem with shopping on Taobao is that sellers tell "half truths". The 3D computer graphics in the item description look deceptively amazing and perfect, but the the item you get is often poorly made, scratched, misshapen, wobbly, smelly, etc. Then the seller tells you to compromise and accept 10 RMB as compensation if you accept the item.

More like 5 RMB, I find they're incredibly stingy even when the item obviously has a huge problem with it.

 

20 minutes ago, Manuel said:

Then the seller tells you to compromise and accept 10 RMB as compensation if you accept the item. Most dissatisfied customers usually  send the item back but often you see negative feedback left by customers who chose to NOT return the item and take the loss just so they could leave negative feedback. I've done this a few times and then the seller came back begging me to change the feedback, which of course I didn't do, in fact I left a follow-up message showing screenshots of him begging in the chat window. As I explained earlier, if you return the item, you can't leave feedback. This is one of Taobao's greatest loopholes and it's routinely exploited by sellers, as it allows them to get away with low quality products and deceptive descriptions, thereby perpetuating the notion that stuff made in China = low quality.

Yes, yes yes exactly. Even when the seller is obviously trying to trick people with false advertising of an item, taobao will make sure you get your money back but nothing happens to the seller...he just keeps on selling and probably manages to trick most people.

 

20 minutes ago, Manuel said:

Taobao is possibly the biggest marketplace in China at the moment; if Taobao allowed disgruntled buyters' voices to be heard, the quality of Chinese goods might actually get a chance to improve, but unfortunately 占便宜 ("taking advantage") is part of Chinese culture.

Yes what you hear from Chinese people if you complain is "if you don't like it here then leave". This kind of mentality ensures everything stays awful. Or when the item you bought breaks/develops rust etc after just a few months they say "well what do you expect for ¥20/¥50/¥80??".  I say I expect it to work otherwise it should be free! Next time they say that to you, offer to give them your broken item as a gift. If they refuse then they obviously in reality believe that free would be too expensive for a broken item...

 

17 minutes ago, Manuel said:

I think most Chinese people are not very vocal because being vocal is dangerous in China.

Well I don't think complaining about products is dangerous, but they have this kind of mindset after all the years of Chairman Mao, Tiananmen Square etc.

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