Digital.com’s Rating for Oberlo
Our Editors rated Oberlo 4/5 based on user ratings, pricing, and features offered.
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Oberlo makes it extremely easy for Shopify users to start a dropshipping business with AliExpress. The extension is preinstalled in new Shopify accounts, ready for activation, and the free Explorer plan allows subscribers to find, add, and sell up to 500 products in unlimited amounts.
Anyone with an existing Shopify store interested in starting a dropshipping business on a budget benefits from using Oberlo as there are no outlay requirements. Entrepreneurs without a Shopify store can expect to pay about $359 a year to set up the store and sell Oberlo products.
Oberlo: Quick Overview
Oberlo is a Chrome extension and mobile dropshipping app launched in 2015 in Lithuania by friends Andrius Šlimas, Justas Galaburda, Tomas Šlimas, and Marius Graužinis. Shopify acquired the company in 2017 for $15 million, but its headquarters and management remain in Lithuania.
The dropshipping app integrates fully with AliExpress, making it easy for Shopify dropshippers to add and find products from the marketplace to their stores. There has been some mention of an Oberlo Supply marketplace for suppliers from Europe, North America, and China, but it’s unclear how to access it from a Shopify store.
Oberlo isn’t a standalone app that requires a Shopify store to work. It comes pre-installed for new Shopify store owners, and the basic automation and customization features are free. The goal is to streamline importing, packaging, and shipping products.
The Oberlo website also serves as a valuable resource for dropshippers, offering online courses, learning guides, blog articles, inspiring success stories, and a podcast. It provides email and live chat customer support around the clock and even one-on-one coaching.
As of April 2021, there are 12,600 Oberlo users worldwide. Most of these stores are in North America (8,697), followed by Europe (2,537).
What Are the Pros and Cons of Oberlo
Simply log into your Oberlo account to start finding and adding dropshipping products. If you have an existing Shopify e-commerce site, you can download the extension and mobile app from the Shopify app store. The question is, do you want to? Let’s look at the pros and cons of using Oberlo.
- Finding products from reliable suppliers
- Importing products and updating listings to your Shopify store automatically
- Sell up to 500 products with no fees
- Automating inventory management
- Customizing product listings and descriptions
- Managing product variations through variant mapping
- Robust customer service and dropshipping resources
- Poor quality of the products
- Longer shipping times
- High competition
- Manual order fulfillment
You have everything you need to start your dropshipping business using the fully functional free Explorer plan, so that’s good news if you’re on a tight budget. The paid Boss plan adds even more features, including tracking orders, placing bulk orders, managing multiple staff accounts, and participating in affiliate programs.
While Oberlo is easy to use with many useful features, it has its downsides. Most of them stem from the fact that it works exclusively with Shopify and AliExpress. That means you cannot use it on other e-commerce platforms.
You cannot use Oberlo to find and manage products from other dropshipping vendors and marketplaces. As such, you might come across some of the following issues:
Poor quality of the products
While Oberlo does vet its suppliers, you can expect to find products of low or average quality
Longer shipping times
Since the products come from China, shipping might take longer than many customers expect, leading to lost sales
AliExpress is a popular platform among many dropshippers, given the low prices of the products. The downside to this is that you are competing not only for attention for your products but also for pricing
Manual order fulfillment
Oberlo doesn’t automate fulfillment, so if you want to fulfill orders through Oberlo (that is, your AliExpress supplier), you must disable automatic order processing on your Shopify store
Oberlo Plans and Prices
Oberlo has only two plans: Explorer and Boss. The Explorer plan is free and offers unlimited monthly orders for up to 500 products and comes with the Chrome extension.
The Explorer plan now also includes variant mapping for up to two products. Variant mapping is helpful if you sell different versions of the same product, such as one item in different colors and sizes, or source it from other suppliers. It allows you to consolidate all variants into one listing, making it easier for you to manage the listing and for shoppers to buy the item. Before May 2021, variant mapping was only available to Boss subscribers for up to five products.
The Boss plan lifts the number of products to 30,000 and provides additional features such as shipment tracking and bulk orders. At $29.90 a month, the Boss plan provides cost-effective critical tools for serious dropshippers.
Of course, Oberlo isn’t an e-commerce platform. You incur other costs associated with building and maintaining a dropshipping website on Shopify.
Fortunately, a paid plan on Shopify already includes hosting and a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate, so that means less cost to you. You can buy a domain name from Shopify for $11 a year and up.
|Oberlo Cost||Cost Estimate: Basic Site|
|Shopify Plan (Includes Hosting)||From $29/month (Basic)|
|Domain Name||From $11/year|
|Theme||Free Shopify theme (six variants)|
|Extensions||Free + transaction fees (2.00% for Basic)|
|Security||Free (basic SSL included in hosting platform)|
|Annual Cost (Approximately)||$359 + transaction fees|
But the best thing about Oberlo is there’s no contract. You can upgrade and downgrade plans at any time without penalty. You even get a refund for unused days when you downgrade!
What Makes Oberlo Stand Out
Oberlo saves you considerable time and effort in running your dropshipping business at no additional cost to you. The free Explorer plan allows you to earn a solid monthly income by selling up to 500 products without paying a dime.
This Shopify app is indispensable if you sell products from AliExpress suppliers. Oberlo automates critical supplier vetting, product sourcing, product listing, and inventory management tasks.
Oberlo takes care of much of the legwork when it comes to dropshipping. Instead of manually searching on AliExpress, you can find high-quality products from vetted suppliers using powerful filters. Once you find products you like, you can quickly integrate them into your store and process orders. Oberlo also automatically updates inventory, so you won’t have to do it manually.
Another outstanding feature is the automatic pricing update. Set your pricing rules, such as three times the product cost or plus $10, and Oberlo updates the prices for you.
You can leave it to Oberlo to take care of all the nitpicky tasks for your Shopify store. You can focus on selling and growing your company.
Features Included With Oberlo Plans
Granted that Oberlo is the genie for Shopify dropshippers, is the free version enough to do the job, or should you go for the paid Boss plan? Well, that depends on your needs. Below are the features available under the Explorer plan (and Boss plan when specified).
Content Management System
Oberlo is an extension of the Shopify platform, and as such, it doesn’t have any content management system (CMS) functionality. Shopify is a hosted CMS with all the functionality you might need to design your dropshipping store.
But Oberlo allows you to customize product listings to suit your branding and image. Once you import the product from your supplier, you can modify the title, product description, and images to make it more attractive and SEO-friendly.
Product and Order Management
As a dropshipper, you don’t have to worry about inventory because you don’t have any. In the dropshipping model using Oberlo, your storefront accepts and processes orders that go directly to your AliExpress supplier for fulfillment.
But Oberlo provides automated inventory updates of your supplier’s stocks. That means you won’t have to check reports, and your customers are unable to order items that might no longer be available.
Oberlo also manages your products because you can import products you want from your supplier’s database to your Shopify store. All you need is to click the “Add to Oberlo” button.
Once it’s in Oberlo, you can add the product to your store by clicking on the “Import to Store” button next to it. You can list the product description as is or edit it before importing it to your store.
Another useful feature is the automatic pricing update, so you won’t need to manually enter prices for each product you upload to your store. Oberlo follows your pricing rules, such as three times the product cost. You can use the free profit margin tool on Oberlo to decide on your product prices.
With the free plan, you can place single orders to suppliers in Oberlo, which can be annoying if you have many orders. Boss plans allow you to upload multiple or bulk orders, saving you time in fulfillment.
Oberlo offers worldwide shipping, and you can sell products in any of the currencies supported by Shopify. It has a built-in shipping tool to provide shipping costs and estimated delivery time (EDT) according to the shipping method. That means you can sell from and to anywhere in the world as a dropshipper. Geographical location doesn’t matter. If your supplier ships to all countries (most do), you’re golden.
But Oberlo warns that the EDT might not be accurate as suppliers may provide a different EDT. The site suggests ordering products from a new supplier to check how close it comes to the Oberlo EDT and set expectations by configuring the EDT and shipping rates.
Oberlo also recommends setting ePacket as the default shipping method. It’s the quickest, most reliable method to ship products from China and Hong Kong while remaining cost-effective.
If you are a Boss subscriber, Oberlo offers a shipment tracking tool so you can manage your shipments from one platform. Filter orders by payment, fulfillment, and tracking status to get detailed shipping information. The Boss plan also comes with a CAPTCHA solver, saving you time on bulk orders.
You don’t need a separate shopping cart for your Oberlo products. Shopify has a fully customizable Shopify Checkout with paid Shopify accounts to accept orders and payments.
You can adjust the look and functions of the Shopify Checkout easily to fit your branding and image. But if you want to use Oberlo, you need to disable the automated order processing and payment capture when configuring your checkout preferences.
Oberlo integrates seamlessly with Shopify and any compatible plug-in on the site, so whatever plug-ins you install for your store work with Oberlo. But one of the drawbacks of Oberlo is that it only works on Shopify, so you might want to get a workaround for that with the Buy Button sales channel.
This free app included in all Shopify subscriptions allows Shopify store owners with sites on other e-commerce platforms to dropship using Oberlo. For example, if you have an existing site on GoDaddy Online, you can introduce a new sales stream by including Oberlo products on your site.
The Buy Button also helps create sales funnels through social media as it sends anyone who clicks on it directly to your Shopify store checkout.
The SEO of your store depends primarily on your product listings, which is why it’s useful that Oberlo allows you to edit product descriptions. You can followour tips for on-page optimization to create a searchable listing.
The Boss plan also provides analytic tools that can help you track your store’s progress and identify your bestselling products. Your sales data can give you insights into whether your SEO efforts are working and if you should try another tactic.
You can also use SEO software to identify keywords, do a site audit, and track competitors’ rankings. Semrush, for example, can help send your Shopify store to the top of search engines.
Oberlo is a mobile app first and a Chrome extension second. Using only the mobile app, you can manage your dropshipping from the fully functional dashboard. You can do everything on the go with the mobile app as you would on the Chrome extension.
High-quality Search Functionality
The primary function of Oberlo is product search on AliExpress, and it does that very well. When you access the search function of Oberlo, you only need to put in the product name, and the app provides you with a list of available products from suppliers with the following information:
- Star rating and review counts
- Order counts
- Number of imports
- Supplier feedback and years in business
The information you get from the search helps you choose the best products to buy and the most reliable suppliers for those products.
Shopify has Level 1 PCI DSS compliant certification that extends to all stores hosted on the platform. This means that data from card payment transactions between you and your customer and your supplier is protected from hackers and unauthorized persons.
Hosting your dropshipping store on Shopify provides you with high-level protection, which is vital for Oberlo users as dropshipping requires numerous transactions to other countries.
Additionally, Shopify provides SSL certificates for all the stores they host. This ensures that any data the site sends and receives are encrypted and shielded from interception or access by unauthorized parties. For example, if you send an order and payment to your supplier through Oberlo, only you and the supplier can see the data.
Support and Self-help
Oberlo began as a standalone app designed to integrate with Shopify but only became an extension in 2017. As such, the developers and founders of the app created a website to support users of the app, including a well-populated blog, a comprehensive learning platform of articles and tutorials, and 24/7 customer service via live chat and email. It even has a podcast channel.
The level of support and self-help hasn’t diminished since its acquisition but has only improved. New Oberlo users can find all the help they need to use the app on the website.
What Are Some Good Alternatives To Oberlo?
While Oberlo is one of the most popular dropshipping apps on Shopify, it isn’t the only one. Here is a comparison of Oberlo to its alternatives specific to Shopify.
How Does Oberlo Compare To Modalyst?
Modalyst and Oberlo have similar features and offer free plans, so you should try both if you’re getting started. Modalyst also offers more flexibility because it integrates with platforms other than Shopify. Additionally, it sources name-brand products from the U.S. or European Union, which probably means shorter shipping times if you sell in those areas.
But if you look at Modalyst pricing plans, Oberlo starts to look more attractive. This isn’t because Modalyst’s paid subscriptions cost more (starting from $35) but because of the 5% transaction fee compared to the 2% fee on Oberlo. You can expect to pay much less using Oberlo, which means you can offer cheaper products. But you’ll need to factor in longer shipping times, however. Oberlo also provides better customer support.
Overall, Oberlo trumps Modalyst in terms of cost and support. If your customer base has no problem waiting a tad longer for their products, Oberlo is the better choice.
How Does Oberlo Compare To Spocket?
Like Modalyst, Spocket focuses on products from the U.S. and EU plus Canada, although it also includes AliExpress as a marketplace. Spocket has the advantage over Oberlo in terms of shipping time, and some say in the consistent quality of products. Spocket suppliers offer private labeling, which is rare with Oberlo suppliers.
Spocket provides a 14-day free trial for all plans ― no credit card required ― so you can try it on for size if only to check out the goods. It also integrates with several e-commerce platforms, so good news for non-Shopify shop owners.
Both have free accounts. But the free version of Spocket is next to useless for dropshippers anxious to get started with sourcing and selling U.S., EU, and Canadian products. Even its paid plan (starting from $24.99/month) offers minimal scope for dropshippers unless they sign up for the highest plan ($99.99/month), and that doesn’t include the per-transaction fee, which can go up to 5%.
Additionally, the range of products available on Spocket to dropshippers outside of AliExpress is quite small, which makes Oberlo the better option in this case. Overall, Spocket can burn a much bigger hole in your pocket than Oberlo and you may end up with higher-priced items and not as much variety as with Oberlo.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Oberlo?
I Want To Start a Dropshipping Business. Are Oberlo and Shopify All I Need?
Shopify provides all the tools needed to build your store on the platform, and Oberlo takes care of the rest from a dropshipping perspective. Additional software and plug-ins for finance, marketing, and content creation can help your business grow, but they’re not necessary at the start.
What Is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is an order fulfillment model that allows a business to sell products without buying and keeping stock. Dropshippers take care of the retail end of the sale by building and maintaining an online store, marketing the products, and accepting orders and payments. Suppliers send the orders directly to customers after receiving the payment from the dropshipper.
What Is AliExpress?
AliExpress is the “retail” arm of Alibaba, the biggest e-commerce company in China. This online marketplace comprises vendors from China, Hong Kong, and Singapore and offers numerous products across various categories at lower prices than other marketplaces such as Amazon.
How Does AliExpress Dropshipping Work With Oberlo?
Oberlo serves as the bridge between AliExpress and your Shopify store. You use Oberlo to find products from an AliExpress supplier, list them on your site, and accept orders and payments. You send the order and payment (less your markup) to your supplier for fulfillment. The supplier then sends the product directly to the customer.
How Does Order Fulfillment Work With Oberlo?
Once the supplier ships the order, you receive a notification via email that includes an AliExpress tracking number. Update the order information on Oberlo by going to the dashboard and selecting the Orders tab. Find the order that needs updating and tap on “SYNC WITH ALIEXPRESS.”
Once your product syncs on Oberlo, you see the status change to “Shipped,” and it gets marked as fulfilled on Shopify. Both have the same tracking number. The customer might receive a short message service (SMS) or confirmation email at this point if you have configured Oberlo to send automatic notifications for shipping information.