Sea shipping of various furnitures from Taobao has been harder than we expected, here's documenting some of the ordeal that we went through so that we can refer to them in future.
We first sourced the table from the taobao website. After choosing from various sellers, we realized that it is most reliable to sort by orders rather than the default sorting provided by the app. Sort it by 销量 for more reliable sorting This was what we settled on eventually, a pair of matching big and small tables, with really good prices even after shipping that other retailers in Singapore couldn't come close to (Looking at 2-3 times cheaper). Choosing the furniture was the easiest part of the entire process, but because we have chosen consolidated sea shipping, there were a bunch of really troublesome additional steps afterwards. Pre-logistics - Before making payment Remember to ask if:
1. Self assembly is required
2. Dimensions after packaging
3. Weight of the product
4. Whether the designated warehouse (if known in advance) will accept
5. Paste a fragile sticker before sending out if fragile (贴上易碎标)
6. Seal the product with additional wooden crate if it is highly fragile like marble (打木架)
7. Tell the seller to wrap it properly since it is going through overseas sea shipping Choose this option (集运) for consolidated sea shipping Once finished making payment (here we are making payment for the goods and local shipping), wait for the goods to reach the designated warehouse (assigned by taobao) where consolidation will take place.
It is over here where payment has to be made a second time, for shipping from China back to Singapore, and prices go by volumetric or actual weight, whichever that is higher.
At this point in time, more is cheaper. Try to consolidate as much as possible to reduce shipping costs. Unexpected hiccups along the way The seller sent this to us via taobao messaging. The designated warehouse did not want to accept the marble tables even though it arrived in good condition as they were classified fragile goods.
We were told to find an alternative warehouse on our own and we didn't really know what to do. Eventually we found someone in hardwarezone called MRC who told us that his warehouse accepted this category of goods, and gave us a different warehouse to ship the goods to.
All we had to do was then to tell the seller on taobao to ship the goods to his warehouse, and told them that they had to bear the additional shipping costs since they did not preempt us about the designated warehouse not accepting marble products. Our really heavy tables and their estimated dimensions and weight Receiving the goods After waiting for a month, this was finally dropped off at our house. The good thing about MRC was he only requested payment on the day of delivery itself and we didn't have to pay him anything at the start while he did all the arrangements for us. Unboxing and prying open all the nails, I guess the seller really did her part in sealing it well since we took a really long time to unbox. Surprise surprise, the coffee tables actually came assembled already, so all we had to do was to place them on our living room and we were good to go Close up on the tables we spent so much effort just to bring in, some details on the marble top A few more close ups Marble, blacks, grey and a little blue Surprisingly, our tables arrived earlier than the rest of the pieces that we bought from taobao shipped through their designated warehouse.
This was the first time we ever had to buy bulky items from Taobao and it was indeed more troublesome compared to direct shipping or even getting pieces from Aliexpress/Ezbuy/Lazada.
But for the cheaper prices, additional variety and more reliable reviews in Taobao, it is certainly still worth the effort to get certain items there instead.