Photo: CLEO

The Great Singapore Sale is here! One of the biggest online shopping sites, Taobao, is launching the “Here Got GSS” campaign that will be as good as it sounds. The actual sale runs from June 16 to 20, but because we’re all kiasu, you’d be glad to know there’s a teaser period running from June 13 to 15 so you can get first dibs on everything.

The campaign will run across Taobao (including the app) and Tmall, and will offer shipping discounts, partner promotions, shopping vouchers and hong baos.

If you’re new to the shopping platforms, you can buy one of the specially curated items from Tmall Signature from now to June 20 for as low as RMB1.1 to make your shopping experience a breeze. Everything in the store also comes with free shipping to Singapore during this period.

That’s not all – if you received a defective item, you can return it to a warehouse in Singapore using the Local Return Service within seven days of receipt. That means you won’t have to pay international shipping just to get it back to China! Select merchants are participating in this service, so you can be pretty much assured that you’ll enjoy shopping on Taobao and Tmall.

Before you start shopping, here are some tips to help you get the best deals.


Do your research efficiently and effectively

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Sometimes, a few merchants stock the same item, so it’s best to window-shop to score the best deal instead of zero-ing in on the first merchant you see. If you’re on the app and are too lazy to type in Mandarin, you can use Pinyin in the search bar, and the app will prompt related search terms in Mandarin, so you don’t have to rack your brains on which character to type. Have a sample photo of what you’re looking for but don’t know how to describe it in Mandarin? Click on the camera icon on the search bar of the app, then snap a photo or upload one from your camera roll and let the system do the matching for you!


Use filters to make your shopping experience easier

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You can filter by category, colour of item, price range and popularity. So if you’re looking to do some quick shopping or simply don’t want to be distracted by other items (because, impulse buy), these filters can shorten your shopping time. Spotted something you like but too lazy to sieve through the search results to find the best deal? If you’re on the app, click the “…” icon next to the product listing you’ve got your eye on and the app will list the same or similar products that are available from other sellers.


Read the reviews

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In the same way you’d read the reviews for restaurants, it’s important to read what other buyers have got to say about the product and merchant. Some products may work better for others but not for you, and some sellers take a longer time to respond to enquiries and ship a product. Make sure you’re making an informed decision. If you want to see how the products look like in real life, filter the comments to show only those with photos attached.



Read the deals properly

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The price reflected on the main page may not be the final price. Prices can differ according to product size or even colour. Make sure you check the final amount in your shopping cart before checking out.


Look at the materials

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Before clicking “buy”, be sure to read what materials the product is made of. You probably don’t want to fork out $100 on something only to find that it’s made of a flimsy material that won’t last more than a week.


Look out for vouchers

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So you’ve scored a great deal. Want to make it the best deal ever? Look out for discount vouchers offered by some sellers. Go to your shopping cart and check if the word “领券 (redeem voucher)”  appears next to the store name. If you see the word, click on it and you’ll be taken to another page to redeem a voucher. This discount will be automatically applied when you check out your cart. Here’s a tip: Look out for more vouchers during major sales periods such as the “Here Got GSS” and Singles’ Day (aka “11.11”) campaigns. Keep an eye out for products that carry the campaign logo, go to the product listing page, and click the relevant section to grab the available vouchers.

Not much of an online shopper? Have your first taste of Taobao at the Taobao Home pop-up event at Suntec City (in front of My Melody Café) from June 15 to 17, 11am to 8pm. The pop-up will feature a home-like showcase filled with furniture and lifestyle products from Taobao and Tmall. You can even enjoy free shipping on all items at the pop-up store. A word of caution: once you have a taste of it, you’ll never look back and will probably find yourself on Taobao and Tmall every so often. The good news? Most of the products are affordable, so you won’t burn too big a hole in your wallet!


This article was first published on CLEO.