There has never been a better time to start an ecommerce business. If you want to start selling products online, dropshipping is a great way to get started.
Before you start your dropshipping business, there are several important decisions you will have to make. Which ecommerce platform will you use? How will you find suppliers to source your products? Will you use a dropshipping solution to make running your business easier?
Using the right dropshipping platform can make the difference between launching your business successfully and spinning your wheels and failing to gain any real traction.
In this Oberlo review, we’ll break down how the service works and how you can use it to grow your dropshipping business.
Table of Contents
- What is Oberlo?
- What are Oberlo’s Features?
- How to Create a Shopify Store With Oberlo
- How Do You Find Products With Oberlo?
- How to Fulfill Orders With Oberlo
- What Is Oberlo Pricing Like?
- Does Oberlo Provide Customer Support?
- What Oberlo Alternatives Are There?
- Oberlo Pros and Cons
- Oberlo FAQs
- Oberlo Review Conclusion
What is Oberlo?
Oberlo is a service that provides entrepreneurs the tools and resources to launch and grow a successful dropshipping business. The main component of Oberlo is its Shopify app that helps users find and add products to their ecommerce store. But the company has expanded since inception to provide its users all sorts of courses and insider’s guides on the ins and outs of dropshipping and ecommerce.
Not familiar with dropshipping? It is a business model where you operate an ecommerce store without holding any of the products you will sell yourself. Instead, you partner with a supplier who holds the inventory you will sell. When a customer places an order on your ecommerce store or other sales channel, you pay the supplier for the item and they will then deliver the items to the customer for you. The difference between what you charge the customer and what you pay the supplier is what you get to keep as profit.
Oberlo only works with the Shopify ecommerce platform. It sources its products from AliExpress, the massive online marketplace based out of China. There are several pros and cons to using AliExpress as the main supplier for your ecommerce store.
One of the biggest advantages of sourcing products from AliExpress is that you do not need to have a reseller’s license in order to sell items from the site. You can simply add any products from the site that you want to your store without having to worry about being approved by a supplier. You will also find items from almost any niche at affordable prices.
That said, it does have its drawbacks. First, and most notably, the shipping times. Because the majority of suppliers are located in China, shipping times to the United States are long. Very long. Especially by today’s standards.
There are some suppliers in the United States. When you are searching for products on AliExpress you can filter by location to only show products shipped from the United States.
U.S based products are shipped by standard USPS delivery and arrive between 4 and 13 days.
The best available option for shipping from a supplier located in China is ePacket. With ePacket you can have your products delivered to your customers in about 12 -19 business days.
Another drawback to using AliExpress is the quality of the product photos. Some items have low quality or watermarked images which can negatively impact the appearance of your store and lower conversion rates.
However, you can work to enhance the images yourself by either removing the watermarks or ordering some of the products yourself and taking your own pictures.
What Are Oberlo’s Features?
When you add products to your Shopify store through Oberlo, the dropshipping app will sync your store’s inventory to that of the seller on AliExpress. This ensures that any updates to their stock level are automatically pushed to your store so that you do not mistakenly sell a product that is out of stock.
Easy Order Fulfillment
With Oberlo, you can streamline the process of fulfilling orders with your dropshipping suppliers. This allows you to run your business more efficiently and spend more time focusing on the actions that will help you grow. We will get into how Oberlo helps speed up your order processing later in the post.
Google Chrome Extension
Oberlo has a free Google Chrome Extension that helps streamline the process of finding and adding products to your ecommerce store. Downloading and activating the extension will enable you to add products directly from the AliExpress website.
You can then browse the AliExpress marketplace as you would during a regular shopping experience. When you see a product that you want to add to your store, you can simply click the “Add to Oberlo” button, and the product will automatically get pushed to your Shopify store. It will then be on your Import List for you to edit before making the product live.
Free Business Tools
Oberlo has a number of free business tools that you can access directly on their website. These tools will help you plan your dropshipping business more effectively.
- Find a business name: With this tool, you provide a word that you want your business name to include and Oberlo will proceed to generate 100 potential business names that include your chosen word.
- Slogan generator: Similar to the find a business name tool, the Slogan Generator allows you to give a word which Oberlo will then use to come up with potential slogans for your business. The Slogan Generator will yield over 1,000 results.
- Traffic calculator: With the traffic calculator you can estimate how many visitors you need to hit a target amount of income. Oberlo uses a 2x margin, 2% conversion rate, and a $45 average order value when calculating the traffic needed to hit your income goal.
- Profit margin calculator: The profit margin calculator allows you to estimate how much profit you will earn based on the cost of your product and the percentage markup you apply to the selling price.
How to Create a Shopify Store With Oberlo
Before launching your dropshipping business with Oberlo you will first need to create a Shopify account. You can get started here. Shopify provides a 14-day free trial which you can use to build your store before committing to a plan.
Once your Shopify account is set up, you will need to download the Oberlo app. You can do so by navigating to the apps page from the side menu on your Shopify dashboard. From the apps page simply search for Oberlo and then download the app.
After the app is connected to your store you will link your Oberlo account or create a new one if you do not already have an account. You can then begin using the app.
On the main Oberlo dashboard you will find a left-side menu with the following sections:
Home: This will take you to the main dashboard where you can find tips for getting started and resources to learn more about dropshipping.
Import List: The import list is where you will find the items you have selected to add to your store. It gives you the ability to edit and customize the items before making them visible to your visitors.
Products: This where you can see all the Oberlo products that are currently active on your Shopify store.
Orders: The Orders page will display all the orders your store has received that contain any of your Oberlo products. It is from here where you will begin the fulfillment process.
Notifications: The notification list will provide you updates on the availability or price of any of the products you have added to your store.
Find Products: This section of the app is where you can search for products to add to your Shopify store.
Settings: The Settings page is where you can configure different options for your Oberlo account. You can set global pricing rules to set an automatic markup for all the products you add to your store. You also have the ability to decide if Oberlo automatically updates the products on your site when there is a change in price or quantity. Another option is the ability to create an automatic message to give to suppliers when you place an order. This can be helpful if you want to tell them not to include any packing slips with their logo or name on there.
Help Center: With the help center you can access helpful guides created by Oberlo.
With the Boss plan, you get access to an additional section called “Tracking” which will contain the tracking number for each order. You can also use it to view their delivery status.
How Do You Find Products With Oberlo?
From the products section of the Oberlo app click “Find Products”. You will then be taken to a page featuring a list of different products and categories.
You can search for products based on name and choose to only look within certain categories.
When you enter a search you are able to sort the results by order count, best match, or price. After you click on an item you are taken to a product page that looks more or less the same as what you would find on AliExpress.
You will be able to see different attributes such as size, color, shipping options, etc. If you want to add the product to your store you simply click the “Add To Import List” button and the item will be queued for addition to your store.
You can also use the Oberlo Chrome extension to find products to add to your store.
Moving Products From the Import List to Your Store
The import list allows you to edit the details for each product before making it live on your store. There are four primary areas you can edit:
- Product: In this section, you can edit the title of the product, select the product type, and add the product to collections.
- Description: Here you can edit the product description
- Variants: In this section, you can specify the variations to add to your store. If you don’t want to add a certain variation of a product you can deselect it and it won’t be synced to your store. You can also set the price and compare at price for each variation.
- Images: Here you can choose which of the product images to include with your listing.
If the product has multiple options, you also have the ability to split the product into different versions. For example, if there is a product with variations based on color, you can choose to list each as an individual product instead of one single product with multiple options.
How to Fulfill Orders With Oberlo
This is one of the biggest benefits of using Oberlo as it can significantly cut down on the time it would otherwise take to place an order with your AliExpress supplier.
To start, you will go to the Orders page within your Oberlo dashboard. You will need to use Google Chrome on your computer, not a mobile device, and must have the Google Chrome extension installed.
Sign in to your AliExpress account and make sure that the cart is empty. Head back to the Orders page within Oberlo and click “Order Product” for the order you are looking to fulfill.
This will cause a new tab to open with the AliExpress URL for the product. The Oberlo Chrome extension will then automatically add the items to the cart and populate the customer’s information. You will then be directed to the checkout page where you need to enter your payment information to complete the order. After you enter the payment information for your first order, you can save the details so that it will automatically be populated going forward.
Once you click “Place Order”, the order will be processed and the Order ID will be synced back to your Shopify account.
You will then need to wait for the supplier to ship the order before passing the tracking number on to your customer. Once the order has shipped you can go to the Orders page within your AliExpress account and click Sync. The tracking info will then sync with your Oberlo account and Oberlo will mark the order as fulfilled within Shopify.
Assuming you have set up automatic shipping notifications within Shopify, the customer will then receive an email with a link to track the delivery.
Sellers on the Boss plan also have the ability to fulfill orders in bulk. Oberlo does not have a limit to how many orders you can place at a time. However, AliExpress only lets you do 30 at a time. So this is the maximum you will be able to do at once.
Handling Refunds and Returns With Oberlo
Because Oberlo is not a supplier, they are not responsible for handling any refunds or returns your customers may want. That will fall on the supplier within AliExpress that you get the product from.
Now, most AliExpress suppliers don’t accept returns. There are however certain circumstances when you are able to receive a refund for the item you purchased. This generally only applies when the item has some form of defect or there is an error with the shipment.
While your suppliers may not accept returns, I recommend that you still provide this option to your customers. You can just have them send the item to your home and assuming the item is in good condition, you can use it to fulfill a future order.
What Is Oberlo Pricing Like?
Oberlo has three plans with the following prices:
- Explorer: Free
- Grad: $7.90 per month
- Boss: $29.90 per month
As you can see in the image below, all plans come with access to digital courses, ebooks, guides, and email newsletters with helpful tips. Each plan also comes with unlimited monthly orders and access to the Oberlo Chrome extension.
Where the plans start to differ is with the number of products you can add to your store and access to additional features. The Explorer plan and the Grad plan each allow for 500 products while the Boss plan allows for 30,000. The Grad and Boss plans also provide access to weekly members-only chats with Oberlo advisors and data-filled reports on trending products.
The Boss plan goes the extra mile by giving sellers even more features including:
- Real-time order tracking
- Bulk orders
- Multiple staff accounts
- Access to the affiliate program
- Variant mapping
- CAPTCHA solver (for placing bulk orders on AliExpress)
The value of the order tracking feature should not be overlooked. Without it, you would have to manually input each tracking number into the shipping carrier’s site to view the status of each order.
If you are looking to run multiple dropshipping stores using Oberlo, keep in mind that you are only able to connect one Shopify store per account. In this situation, you would need to set up separate Oberlo accounts for each ecommerce store.
Does Oberlo Provide Customer Support?
Oberlo provides its users with 24/7 customer support to help resolve any issues you may encounter when using the app. You can reach support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oberlo also has a help center that provides in-depth answers to frequently asked questions along with helpful guidance for starting your business.
What Oberlo Alternatives Are There?
Given the attractiveness of dropshipping to new entrepreneurs, there are plenty of dropshipping solutions available today.
Let’s take a look at how Oberlo compares to its main competitors.
Modalyst functions similar to Oberlo. Upon signing up you will arrive at a dashboard where you can connect your account to your ecommerce store and search for products.
With Modalyst, when a customer makes a purchase, all the order information is immediately passed on to the supplier. You simply need to go to your orders dashboard and complete the payment for the supplier to begin the fulfillment process.
Modalyst gives sellers access to suppliers from AliExpress along with other independent suppliers. It also integrates with platforms beyond Shopify including BigCommerce and Wix.
Modalyst comes with several plans including a free option that allows sellers to add 25 products to their store. If you want access to premium suppliers you will need the Pro plan which costs $90 per month.
Spocket is a dropshipping platform similar to Oberlo and it enables users to run their business more efficiently. In the app, you’ll find sections to find products, edit your import list, and track orders.
The biggest difference between Spocket and Oberlo is that Spocket provides sellers access to suppliers beyond AliExpress. Over 80% of these suppliers are based in the United States or Europe. This can mean shorter shipping times for sellers whose customer base lives in these countries.
Spocket also works with multiple ecommerce platforms beyond Shopify including WooCommerce, Wix, and BigCommerce.
Spocket has a free plan for sellers who want to browse the catalog of available products but you will need a paid plan to add items to your store.
The least expensive plan is the Starter plan which costs $24 per month. It is rather limited though and only allows you to add 25 products to your store.
Dropified is another dropshipping platform that enables users to automate various processes such as importing products and fulfilling orders. It integrates with Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, GrooveKart, and CommerceHQ. Dropified differs from Oberlo in that it does not offer a free version.
The base level of Dropified is their Import plan which is designed for sellers who want to source their products from either AliExpress or eBay. It costs $17 per month and comes with a 14-day free trial.
Beyond just dropshipping services, Dropified also provides private-label on-demand services. This is a great option for entrepreneurs who are looking to sell their own branded products.
One thing to note about Dropified is its transaction fees. For all but the top-level plan, Dropified will charge you a percentage of the cost of any item you sell.
The fee is 8% for the entry-level plan and 3% for the mid-level plan. This is not something to be overlooked as the profit margin on dropshipped products for many niches is already rather low.
Oberlo Pros and Cons
As we come to the end of this Oberlo review, let’s take a look at a condensed list of the service’s pros and cons.
- Inexpensive to use
- Free plan available
- Tons of resources available to help you learn about dropshipping
- Makes it easy to find and import products
- Helps reduce the time and manual input needed to fulfill orders
- Daily product syncs
- Only provides access to products from AliExpress
- AliExpress products can have longer shipping times to North American countries
- Real-time order tracking only available on the highest plan
- Only works with Shopify
What is Oberlo Shopify?
Oberlo is a dropshipping app that runs on the Shopify platform. It allows ecommerce merchants to add products from the AliExpress marketplace to their Shopify store which they can then sell to customers for a profit.
How much does it cost to use Oberlo?
The cost to use Oberlo depends on the plan that you choose. There are three options: A free plan, a $7.90/month Grad plan, and a $29.90/month Boss plan.
Beyond that, there are not any costs other than those needed to run your dropshipping business like Shopify plan and marketing costs.
Is Oberlo free with Shopify?
Oberlo does have a free plan for Shopify but it does come with limits. If you want to benefit from everything the service has to offer, including real-time order tracking, you will need a paid plan. The grad plan costs $7.90 per month while the Boss plan costs $29.90 per month.
Does Oberlo Really Work?
Yes, Oberlo does really work as it provides an incredibly useful tool for running a dropshipping business. If you are looking to resell AliExpress products on your ecommerce store, Oberlo makes it easy to find and add products to your store. It also makes it easier to fulfill orders as it can automatically add AliExpress products to your cart and pre-populate the customer information.
Does Oberlo work with Amazon?
In a certain sense, yes, Oberlo does work with Amazon. There is no direct integration with Amazon but you can add your products to Shopify and then push your products from Shopify to Amazon.
Is Dropified Better than Oberlo?
Dropified and Oberlo are two similar services and it is hard to determine a clear winner between the two. I would say that Oberlo is better if you want to run a traditional dropshipping business. However, if you are looking to create a more branded experience, Dropified provides additional private label services. This allows you to sell products unique to your business.
One thing, in particular, to keep in mind about Dropfied is that on top of a monthly fee they charge you a percentage fee of the cost of every product that you sell.
Oberlo Review Conclusion
Overall, Oberlo is an effective solution for those looking for a tool to help run their dropshipping business. With it, you can find and add products to your store with much greater ease. Oberlo also helps with order fulfillment by automatically adding your customers’ information before placing an order.
The platform only works with Shopify and AliExpress so you need to be comfortable using these two. If so, Oberlo is a great option to launch and grow your dropshipping business.