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A no-holds-barred review of Southeast Asia’s first Taobao store in Funan mall

Worth a visit?

Melanie Lim | September 5, 03:11 pm

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Taobao, along with Singaporean company Virmall, has launched Southeast Asia’s very first Taobao store at Funan mall.

Physical things

The store is a 6,000 sq ft outlet with many things to touch and see.

Image via Melanie Lim

According to a spokesperson for the brand, around 300 curated items from Taobao are available at the store.

About 80 per cent of the items are from the home and living category.

These items will also be changed on a regular basis, when the store opens to the public.

Purchasing process

Using QR codes for each item at the store, shoppers will be able select the different colours, designs and sizes for products they want and make payment, all within the Taobao app.

Smaller items can be purchased directly, while larger furniture items will be delivered as quickly as two to three days from the warehouse after purchase — if they are in stock.

Not the cheapest

What many people like about Taobao is being able to buy expensive-looking things (think nordic-style homeware) at really cheap prices.

Like such:

Although we liked the idea of being able to physically browse through items that we might not be sure about buying, the pricing of some items at the store exceeded expectations… and not in a good way.

Taobao is best known for its cheap prices, so we were rather disappointed that a unicorn piggy bank costs S$6.90 – S$12.90 (with plate) at the store:

Image via Melanie Lim

Sadly, that’s how much the average store in Singapore charges.

Can do with more furniture

Here are some of the living wares available, which range from cutlery to kitchen living items:

Image via Melanie Lim
Image via Melanie Lim
Image via Melanie Lim
Image via Melanie Lim

Yup, a lot of small things.

Just another furniture store?

The good thing is, customers are able to check out big-ticket items like sofa, beds, and cupboards before deciding whether to purchase them or not.

But we were slightly disappointed at the choice and styling of items in the store, which unfortunately, didn’t match up to its polished Instagram feed. 

Image via Melanie Lim

Image via Melanie Lim
Image via Melanie Lim
Image via Melanie Lim
Image via Melanie Lim
Image via Melanie Lim
Image via Melanie Lim

The positive: VR service

Our experience wasn’t entirely disappointing, though.

What we found most interesting about the store was its Virtual Reality (VR) service, where shoppers will be able to digitally visualise a particular piece of furniture in their own home, based on actual measurements of a room or even the entire house.

Image via Melanie Lim

This is something other home and living brands have not attempted before, and is a feature we are sure many Singaporeans would be keen to try out.

Conclusion

While many Singaporeans may love online shopping at Taobao, we would suggest not getting too excited about the physical store at Funan.

The store has some hits and misses, and while there were some homeware items that stood out, the overall experience was rather underwhelming.

Rating: 6/10

How to go

Address: Taobao Store by Virmall, #B2-01 to 04, #B2-34 to 36, Funan Mall, 107 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 179105

Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm, daily

Top image via Melanie Lim

About Melanie Lim

Melanie likes taking and editing photos for Instagram.

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