As a new arrival, I moved into my first apartment in Beijing recently. Although most apartments in Beijing are furnished, I still needed to buy many household items like bedding, kitchenware, and appliances for my new home.
Since my unfamiliarity with the shopping scene in a new city is coupled with a busy work schedule, I decided to turn to the e-commerce giants for help to set up my place.
It’s my first time using most of the Chinese e-commerce sites to shop online. Here is my strategy on how I navigated them efficiently. It does require some level of Chinese-reading ability to use these sites.
The big players in China are of course, Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall.com, follow by JD.com and a bunch of distant-third players and other specialized websites.
Best way to buy an espresso maker
I often compare home appliances on JD.com and Tmall.com.
With so many options out there, how do you begin if you don’t have a brand and model in mind?
Besides judging from pricing and reviews, I also look into logistics and package deals. JD.com has built up its own logistics network, which in most cases offer same-day delivery with the cut-off time at 2pm. And yes, they do deliver at night between 7pm to 10pm. The rule of thumb is, if you need something urgently, go to JD.
While going back and forth between Tmall and JD, I found a package deal on JD, which comes with an espresso maker, a milk frother, a shot glass and a pack of 100 capsules. Done. It’s perfect for me, as I don’t need to waste time shopping for individual items related to the espresso maker.
How to buy wine glasses
Taobao is the marketplace for almost everything. I was totally overwhelmed by the amount of options out there, so I typed in more specific keywords: stemless wine glasses.
After it narrowed down the results, I then looked into products that were advertised with the keywords “bao you” (包邮), or shipping included, to save some money.
It’s a competitive business among all the smaller merchants listed on Taobao or Tmall selling the same products. Therefore, they will include incentives to attract customers such as offering coupons or including a free gift.
More options for bedding and towels
Besides Taobao, there are other sites selling specialized items. For instance, I’m purchasing my bedding and towels from Dapu.com. The e-commerce claims that most of their products contain no chemical fibers and fluorescent brighteners.
AllChinaTech has also covered how Dapu.com has crowdfunded a smart pillow that promises to eliminate snoring.
Watch out for my next story on how I shop online for groceries.
Read my previous story on how I navigated Beijing with just my smartphone.
(Top photo from Nipic.com, by xyhh88.)