Wiwaa.com: “Taobao” from Singapore

[REVIEW] Recently I wanted to get a statue for my sister whom is getting her new HDB flat later this year. Not just any statue but a statue of water buffalo, as recommended by their Feng Shui Master. The search for the animal statue went on for a while because it is quite difficult to find quality and a decent price in Singapore.

So the search was moved online then Taobao, as always, have got hits for anything you wanted to buy. The return on the search blew whatever we could find in Singapore out of water, mainly because China is probably the biggest producer of clay statues. We found something that looks great and cost only a factor of prices in Singapore. The question is how do buy and ship it to Singapore.

There are a few Taobao agents who could do that. Taobao agents are companies whom helps you buy what you want in China, pay for them, and ship to you.You pay for everything in Singapore dollars.The concept isn’t new but this is the first time i genuinely wanted to get something from Taobao.

From the lot, I thought Wiwaa looks the easiest and potentially cheapest shipping.

How It Works:
Like most Taobao agents, Wiwaa possesses a warehouse in China where all orders is delivered there. Every Wiwaa users is given a customer number so that Wiwaa could match each delivery to customer. Wiwaa offers two common types of services. “Buy for me” and “Ship for me”. You use ”Buy for me” if you would like Wiwaa to buy and pay for your orders.

As you probably guess it, “Ship for me” meant that you would buy and pay for your orders and then ship them to Wiwaa warehouse for shipping to you. If you are not confident in placing the order on Taobao yourself or that you don't want to go through the hassle to place the order on Taobao and pay (or you don't have a Taobao account altogether) then its “Buyer for me” for you.

Service charge is 5% of total product cost and shipping cost. I couldn’t recall if the service charges were the same for both services but I vividly remember so. You can find the charging formula below. Then there is the shipping cost comprises of 3 options ranging from Wiwaa’s own air freight and ocean freight to DHL. The latter is certainly more expensive but faster.

Link: Wiwaa Charges Page
Link: Wiwaa Shipping Charges

You should note that Wiwaa offers additional services at it’s warehouse. For instance, if you are getting more than 1 item, you should instruct Wiwaa to repackage all your orders to save cost. Also, you can instruct Wiwaa to inspect your order for you so order with defects can be returned to the taobao seller.

The final question to answer is how to pay Wiwaa. Wiwaa offers eNets top-up and Paypal. Balance in Wiwaa account is maintained in RMB, SGD top-up will be converted into RMB. For top up via eNets, you have to submit a form to inform Wiwaa that you have sent in money to them. It is basically a fund transfer and the top of the account is manually performed by Wiwaa staff. Exchange rate is shown on the Wiwaa Home Page.

The catch here is that you have to top-up your account in order to place orders for Wiwaa to place orders with the Taobao sellers. Thereafter when the orders arrived at the warehouse, you have to pay again for the shipping this time. As you would have realised, you cannot estimate the exact amount to top-up because of the shipping cost which depends on the weight of the order which itself is unknown due to the packaging.

Finally, you have to note that Wiwaa allows 30 days of free storage of orders at the warehouse. So during the period you could accumulate your orders (for repackaging to ship) or top-up your account. After shipment order is processed, you can then track your shipment in your account if you were to go with Wiwaa logistics service.

My Experience:
Having had previous “Taobao experience”, I placed my own order with the seller and instructed seller to ship to Wiwaa warehouse in Shenzhen bearing my customer number beside my name on the parcel. It took 2 days for seller to ship it to the warehouse and Wiwaa took another 4 days before I lay my hands on my order.

The packaging is real solid and thus the items were 100% intact. Thanks to the Taobao seller whom have packaged very well. In any case, had I got Wiwaa to place the order for me and did a repackaging on their own, it should be pretty good as well. I haven’t had many bad experience with packaging when i “taobao” a lot back in my days in Shanghai.

Another noteworthy point is the topping-up of balance in Wiwaa account. It was easy but having to leave some loose change behind isn’t really ideal. Wiwaa did what was required to deliver on time and pretty much hassle free. What it didn’t work so well was their website, that didn’t feel polished and it appears to be quite amateur.

 But that is fine as well as the delivery is good isn’t it?
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