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Manuel

The Taobao shopping experience

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DavyJonesLocker
34 minutes ago, Manuel said:

 

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.

 

Last item I tried to buy  was a motorcycle part (hence the need for taobao). After two  weeks it didn't arrive and when I finally contacted the seller he said he didn't have it. So why list it!! He said he would go and buy it. Another week later to confirm and consistently wouldn't respond so just gave up and got my refund. 

 

I bought the part from a store in Germany. Delivered in 4 days to China, couldn't believe it. Dude must have been at the post office in an hour. Excellent Germany efficient. That was the nail in the coffin for taobao for me.

 

People do tell me that I am not "experienced" enough to use TaoBao which is probably true. I think that's the key difference in targeting customers. My needs are for a service that is fast and reliable without the requirement to gain this "experience" like Chinese people mentioned.

 

Its an interesting subject actually. I use these case studies in the business course  I teach. A business model like taobao wouldn't work in the West for all the reasons you and others mentioned above, whereas a business model like Amazon etc was highly successful. Europeans and American customers when taken as whole consumer group are not as price conscience as Chinese. I, like many other Europeans and Americans want smooth and consistent service, standardization of goods and advertising, with no hassle, and for that I'll accept a sightly higher price 

 

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889

"After two weeks it didn't arrive and when I finally contacted the seller he said he didn't have it."

 

Even worse, they'll often use a fake tracking number so you spend those two weeks thinking it's on the way. Yet as I understand Taobao, the seller normally doesn't get your money until you confirm delivery, so I can't see the point of this exercise, either. But I assume there is one.

 

The basic issue is the extent to which Taobao and other online platforms police their vendors. Taobao actually has enormous power. There are lots of individuals and small enterprises in China wholly dependent on Taobao for survival. A strongly enforced shape-up policy would leave them no choice but to fall in line.

 

Does anyone have experience on the other side of the table? How bad do you have to be to get kicked off Taobao? Myself, I suspect traditional Chinese reluctance to break somebody's rice bowl is also at play here, and that you'd have to be very very bad indeed to get tossed out on your ear by Taobao.

 

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XiaoXi
25 minutes ago, 889 said:

Even worse, they'll often use a fake tracking number so you spend those two weeks thinking it's on the way. Yet as I understand Taobao, the seller normally doesn't get your money until you confirm delivery, so I can't see the point of this exercise, either. But I assume there is one.

It's not just the seller but also the courier. Often they just mark your parcel as delivered...so you don't receive any notifications about anything, you just continue to wait for it. Then when you finally check to find out what's going on you see it's marked as delivered and wonder why. You contact the courier and they say "ok we'll deliver it tomorrow".....what do you mean you'll deliver it?? An explanation...an apology maybe...I mean what in the world is this, you've just marked it as delivered for a laugh I guess.

 

25 minutes ago, 889 said:

Does anyone have experience on the other side of the table? How bad do you have to be to get kicked off Taobao? Myself, I suspect traditional Chinese reluctance to break somebody's rice bowl is also at play here, and that you'd have to be very very bad indeed to get tossed out on your ear by Taobao.

Yes indeed. I find a favourite phrase the Chinese like to use for anything is "管不了“ which I found means "of course we could do something about it easily but we're too lazy to do so".

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889

"It's not just the seller but also the courier. Often they just mark your parcel as delivered."

 

I haven't had this experience yet. But at least I understand why it might happen sometimes: no doubt couriers have deadlines to meet and everything is tracked second-by-second by computer. So maybe they do that to save their jobs, or earn bonuses or such. On the other hand, those bikes, etc.  presumably have GPS trackers tied in to the computer as well, so I'm not clear how they can get away with fake deliveries.

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XiaoXi
8 hours ago, 889 said:

I haven't had this experience yet. But at least I understand why it might happen sometimes: no doubt couriers have deadlines to meet and everything is tracked second-by-second by computer. So maybe they do that to save their jobs, or earn bonuses or such. On the other hand, those bikes, etc.  presumably have GPS trackers tied in to the computer as well, so I'm not clear how they can get away with fake deliveries.

They probably just think if you don't investigate the parcel is just lost and they don't need to worry about it. This way they save having to go out and deliver the parcel. They don't really care about whether anyone receives their parcel or not.

 

I had another classic courier problem just today too! The parcel was cash on delivery and I was anxious to receive the parcel 'cos I needed it. It was in the same city so should have been quick but not only did it not arrive on the same day, but not the following day either. So by the third day we contacted the courier and he said he'd already delivered it the day before and left it with the person at storage downstairs...!...so we asked why he didn't let us know any of this, he said he thought the lady at the storage would phone us. Very professional.......and then when collecting the parcel and asking the storage lady why she didn't contact us she said she thought the courier would contact us....

 

I think the phrase 'ass out of u and me' springs to mind. No idea why the courier didn't even ask the lady to make sure she calls us either, he just directly assumed she would do that but really if anything it was his responsibility.

8 hours ago, 889 said:

is tracked second-by-second by computer.

Yes by computer lol, but it always requires a person to actually get up and do something about it. That's where I find it tends to fall apart. It's the old 管不了 thing again.

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