Taobao is the largest consumer-to-consumer (C2C) e-commerce platform that dominates China’s market. You can buy everything and anything in there at a low price. Unlike buying cheap items like clothes and accessories, purchasing furniture on Taobao needs some strategies rather than simply picking out what you like. Thus, there are a few things you should take note of when it comes to buying furniture.
Production lead time is the time needed to produce the products. Not all the products are always in stock, especially for custom-made ones. Therefore, before making a purchase, ask the seller either it is in ready stock (现货) or how long it takes to deliver the goods. The reason lies in the fact that forwarders have limited storage period (usually 30 days) and extra cost may be charged if exceeding it. Then if you have a strict timeline, doing your homework is necessary.
The first thing you should find out regarding packaging is the dimensions of your furniture, which may help you overcome some logistical issues. The load of parcels is normally taken by a lift but for bulky items, it’s a different story. Chances are that you will face a hefty bill for using the stairways or your forwarder will leave your goods for you to figure out yourself. Furthermore, based on these dimensions, it will be way easier for you to estimate the shipping cost and have a better shipment planning.
Aside from the packaging dimensions, it is likewise important to find out whether your goods are crated (打木架) or not, especially for high value and bulky furniture. Crating can be done by either the seller or the forwarder. Not all the sellers provide the crating services but normally they will include it as a part of packaging procedures or offer it as an extra service. Likewise this service is provided by forwarders too however some of them lack for in-house ability and have to outsource specialists to do it. If crating isn’t included in your packaging then you have to conduct negotiation with the seller/forwarder and the price will range from 10-200 yuan depending on the size of your goods.
Last but not least, remember to ask how many packages were dispatched and whether it is booked under a single waybill or multiple waybills. Provided one single waybill is the case, you will receive the full order, otherwise, you will end up a chair without its legs. So keep in mind to provide accurate information so that your packages can be carefully taken care by forwarder in case of multiple waybills.
- Delivery/Logistics matters
Normally there are 2 forms of domestic shipments: mover (物流) and courier (快递). At the point of purchase, the kind of delivery methods should be paid more attention. Some sellers only provide delivery taken by movers to a collection point for self-collecting. If that’s the case, contact the seller and ask if they could take delivery of the parcel to the warehouse address instead. Certainly, do make sure your forwarder has a ground-level warehouse since some movers only deliver goods up till below the block.
If the seller’s services are exclusive of shipment or they charge an unreasonable price for it then you should come to an arrangement with your forwarder that they would collect the parcels at the collection point. This extra benefit comes with a cost that may vary according to different forwarders.
- Goods Receiving Procedures
Firstly, always ask for the delivery note and check carefully the number packages are delivered within this delivery. Do remember to keep a tally of how many packages. If you rush into signing the delivery note without checking it, you will end up in trouble when delivery man claimed he has delivered all of packages despite the fact that you have not. In case there’s a missing package, note it down on the delivery note before signing over.
Secondly, when the delivery man is carrying packages to your premises, carry out a general assessment of them. If any major dents/tears, signs of trauma are found or the packages are left open, do show it to the delivery man and take photos as evidence. Besides, note down your findings on the delivery note before signing it over.
Thirdly, when the dust settles, you can start unpacking the packages, beginning with parcels that are found with dents, tears, unseal/poorly sealed and high value or fragile ones as well. Carefully take photos of the signs prior unpacking, unseal the box and visually check out whether the dents caused damage or not. It would be better if you can take picture of the effect before taking the goods out of the packaging. Finally, remove the item from the packaging, conducting investigation again and take photo if needed. All these images will be convincing evidence for you to sort damages claim form the forwarder or seller.