Taobao and Consumer Protection

free essayIf a person happens to spend some time with common people in China, he/she will quickly recognize that their shopping patterns significantly differ from those of people leaving in the western countries. It can be explained by the fact that e-commerce has grown and become so essential to the population of China, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong. The majority of population of the above mentioned countries usually prefers to do shopping by means of Taobao, the Chinese online retail unit established by Alibaba Group Holding Limited in the year 2003. Its consumer portal is having nearly a billion products and is one of the most visited websites globally as per the recent e-commerce market analysis. It gives a chance to owners of small businesses and personal sellers to sell their products to a great number of buyers from different locations. The store in place allows vendors with an opportunity to develop and run those storefronts, which are mostly virtual. After establishing itself as the leading online retail shop in the recent years, Taobao has faced some challenges typical for the online business and thus has perfected its operations to avoid them as much as possible. Most complaints from consumers in this area of business have respect to fake products, bitter price wars and unofficial price for some products. Being the leading service provider in this sector, Taobao has established proper operations, which helped it minimize such incidents and in return become the consumer’s favorite e-commerce provider.

Personalization of the Taobao

The personalization of the Taobao offers its customers the easiest way, in which they do their shopping being confident in the company. As indicated by Yu, any potential customer visiting the retail unit online will realize that their shopping capabilities get exhausted to the exact needs, and they get all they require (Yu 196). It is the reason why some Taobao customers have started to use employ its services any time they want to buy something.

Get a price quote


The director of Taobao Marketplace’s user experience department, Ding Xi believes that one of the most important aspects for developing the platform is cultivating personality; it helps the company analyze the behavior of its customers and understand their needs. It allows the site to configure itself immediately to suit the individual demands of shoppers. This is one of the advantages of the site over its competitors, which is proved by numerous feedbacks from the customers and their trust to the services offered by the retail company. In such a way, customers can be sure to find what they want in a relatively short time. The simplicity of this trick consists in the fact that after login, the website uses the comprehensive data in selecting ads, goods and shops presented in Taobao (Yu 196). It uses the information from the profile created for the users enabling them to get the things they need in the fastest way possible. The fact that the prices for the goods presented on the site are fixed helps customers plan their spending for the exact amount of official products they choose in case they are not in a position to do the purchase instantly. In such a way, the problems relating to unofficial pricing and the consequences of such purchases are the experience that the customers of Taobao are not subject to. This is one of the ways this e-commerce website tries to help its customers not to lose unnecessary money paying to dishonest sellers whose main goal is rather fraud than providing quality services.

Personal Interactions of the Buyers and Sellers

Varadarajan et al. explain that Taobao typically gives the chance for its customers to experience personal connections, which is an aspect that is highly appreciated by the Chinese people. The value of interpersonal communication cannot be underestimated in the Chinese culture, and Taobao allows its consumers to enjoy it. Taobao employs the use of an application called instant Aliwangwang messenger for its customers (Varadarajan et al. 107). It is a platform giving the sellers and shoppers a chance to talk before and even after the purchase is made. This aspect is vital since engagement in real time chats improves the trust between customers and sellers thus making the cases of fake goods and frauds untypical. These communications are not restricted to only business hours since the customers can communicate even beyond the official time. The smartphones capabilities allow for quicker responses, and the buyer can anytime learn anything about the product he or she is interested in, which minimizes the risk of buying counterfeit goods. It makes the Taobao the perfect destination for any potential buyer of goods where honest sellers are always available. The sellers also have a chance to talk with the potential customers, and it is the best opportunity to convince a client of the real quality of the product he/she is selling. The conversation can even go beyond the scope of a formal talk, which improves the friendly and makes it easier to run the business.

Our outstanding writers are mostly educated to MA and PhD level


After the details of the bargain are discussed, the payments are always conducted via Alipay (Varadarajan et al. 107). It is a media for payment, which guarantees the money will reach the seller thus making all the parties comfortable with the purchase. The shoppers also get a chance to source more detailed information on the previous sales of the same product. These are reviews of the product and how exactly product photos within the description of the product section match the actual product. The pictures of the product are available as the previous buyers always take the features of the actual product while confirming the delivery of the product and post it under the comment to help other customers when they want to do purchases. Previous customers can provide detailed information in terms of the package of the product and its real sizes thus helpinng compare it with the information from the product description section (Varadarajan et al. 107). Other people’s opinions on the particular product from the previous bargains will give an excellent opportunity for a new buyer to make a decision on whether to buy or not.

Use of Smartphones in the Platform and Window Shopping

The analysis of e-commerce market conducted by Enfodesk reveals that the number of online transactions on the shopping performed with smartphones is increasing tremendously, which proves that the current era can be called the era of smartphones. Stockdale further explains that people prefer doing purchases and payments over the phones due to its efficiency and availability thus making Taobao mobile application the best platform for anyone wishing to do any purchase while away from the computer. Checking the delivery of packages and keeping track of the acquisition are the benefits that can be enjoyed while using this application. It gives the buyers a chance to ask the seller continuously anything whenever they have a problem with the goods irrespective of where they are at that particular time (Stockdale 47). Taobao establishment of a partnership with some of the best retailers in offline platforms such as e-payment, the Alipay, and Wal-Mart has given customers more room to make use of their smartphones application. On this basis, customers are well protected from being subject to poor service or illegal payments outside the company’s regulations. While sitting on trains or buses on their way home from work or school, potential customers have an opportunity to do lots of window shopping using their phones (Stockdale 47). Surfing all over the Taobao will give the customers a chance to discover numerous products, which might not be available on other e-commerce platforms that offer the same services to the people. Looking at different products with various descriptions and photos might turn to be very entertaining for the customers. Having an opportunity to investigate the website can be a useful experience as there are a great number of creative things and surprise products that might please the customers (Varadarajan et al. 107). In turn, this will familiarize the customers with available products presented on Taobao including their prices and quality, so that at the time of making a purchase, they will be in a position to buy without any hesitation. As the study shows, many Chinese online shoppers prefer to browse the site to learn about new products that it offers. With the current quantity of the available products in the e-commerce, Taobao can become an excellent place where the potential customers can even compare the prices with other shops.

Price Control

In controlling the costs, Taobao allows the sales in the format of auctions thus making even fixed more accessible to all customers. Fu and Darlene state that selling off most of the products through the model of fix prices is the most preferable way of making purchases among the customers. At this level, the credibility of the seller still plays a crucial role as the potential buyers will focus on reading the reviews, ratings and comments from the previous customers of this or that shop (Fu and Darlene 411). Taobao also provides its sellers with such service as posting their goods cost-free. Through the concept of free transactions Taobao is offering, customers are able to sell the most appealing things to the consumers based on the feedbacks. Thus, since the start of its functioning and with the steady expansion of the retail the consumer platform called Taobao has been continuously giving consumers confidence in its operations and goods (405-421). The company aims at providing its target audience, which is mainly Chinese customers, with brand-name products of high quality (Fu and Darlene 411).

Setbacks in Using Taobao while Doing Online Shopping

Despite its effectiveness in offering online shopping services to its consumers, the big e-commerce platform Taobao has experienced some challenges.Some of these drawbacks include the following.

Credit Cards Frauds

In some circumstances, the sellers on some occasions have lost their goods due to credit cards frauds. To some extent, buyers got used to the level of risk they face in the process of online buying (Fu and Darlene 411). However, some customers still retain the fear that they might end up losing their products, and in the long term, Taobao experiences this problem due to the increasing number of consumers who use their platform for online shopping (405-421). In occurrences of missing goods, the sellers have to bear the burden as much as companies doing delivery repays, which comprise 50 percent of the product price. In addition, the customers who realize the goods have a problem such as breakages after the delivery do not have a provision to return the products to the seller.

Fake Products

Although Taobao provides access to information, according to which the customer checks the history of the seller, previous goods sold and even gets the real pictures of those products, the issue of counterfeit goods cannot be addressed entirely since the manufacturers keep producing such goods to the market (Yu 196). Since Taobao does not dictate particular area on the platform where buyers should purchase products, they cannot control the content of millions of products on their websites. It is one problem the company management has had to deal with on some occasions when they received complaints from buyers.

Malicious Price Wars

Due to the fact that the prices on Taobao are cheaper as compared to other places, many young individuals spend huge sums of money on this website. Some competing sites see that Taobao has become the leading e-commerce platform through practicing vicious price wars. This has influenced sales rates on their sites significantly (Varadarajan et al. 107). As a result of this, Taobao has developed a terrible reputation in the online shopping world, which definitely has an adverse effect on the overall performance of the company worldwide.

Unofficial Price for some Goods

Although the company targets the majority of buyers in the market, the youths cannot afford to purchase goods with higher prices offered in other online shops. In addition, selling products with higher prices often becomes a difficult undertaking. After realizing that their products are not being sold, some sellers opt to lower prices for their goods and arrange such sales by means of unofficial prices (Varadarajan et al. 107). It has also been an issue that negatively affected the reputation of Taobao in the market.

Conclusion

Due to the platforms that support personalization of customers, Taobao provides its clients with confidence in the operations performed within this huge retail shop. The person-to-person selling also facilitates smooth sales within a friendly business environment giving the opportunity to maintain contact even after the purchase is made. The issues of sales related to inappropriate pricing are minimized since of the majority of sales take place according to the fixed pricing model. Having a chance to experience window shopping with the Taobao be means of smartphones application offers the consumer with a real insight of the available products and their prices so that customers can evaluate and compare products before deciding on the purchase. The reviews, comments and ratings of the sellers also offer the chance to buyers to learn the required information about the seller, which in turn prevents cases of selling fake products as the quality of products can be checked through the photos provided in description section. Generally, Taobao rail marketplace provides the best services for person-to-person selling where both parties can consummate a transaction on mutually beneficial terms. Even though it is rather difficult to clear the market from all the counterfeits completely, due its strategic management, Taobao has managed to minimize the cases of frauds. Therefore, the best way to avoid adverse experience of losing money or buying poor quality products at a higher price is to visit the Taobao Online shop.