An Introduction to Oberlo
If you’re considering starting an online business using drop shipping, or you already do, you’ll want to read this Oberlo review (2018 update). Drop shipping is an increasingly popular way of selling products online and it’s a great way to get started with e-commerce.
Do you want to start a drop shipping business but don’t know where to start? Do you think the whole drop shipping thing sounds too complicated? Don’t know who to use? Enter Oberlo.
Oberlo allows you to easily import products from AliExpress directly into your Shopify store and ship directly to your customers, wherever they are and in only a few clicks. More than 6,500 Shopify stores are using Oberlo and have made $36,000,000+ in sales so far.
Try Oberlo for free for 30 days, no credit card is required. Their cheapest plan is 0.00 per month. Every account starts with a free trial of the Pro Plan and you won’t be billed until after the free trial period has ended.
Oberlo was founded in 2015 by a group of close friends and Oberlo has quickly thanks to its powerful features and ease of use become a leading drop shipping app in the Shopify app marketplace, with nearly 7,000 active Shopify stores that so far have made over $36 million in sales.
Oberlo allows you to easily import products from AliExpress directly into your Shopify store and have the products shipped directly to your customers – in only a few clicks.
Oberlo is dedicated to helping people succeed, wherever they are on their e-commerce journey. Regardless if they are just starting out or looking for new ways to grow their online business.
What is Oberlo?
Oberlo is an app that works with the Shopify platform and AliExpress, the mega-website that sells products at ultra-low prices. The app allows you to import thousands of products from AliExpress into your existing Shopify store.
The Oberlo app connects your online store to AliExpress, making it quicker and easier to sell products found there. You can find Oberlo in the Shopify App Store, or get the Chrome extension in the Chrome store.
What is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping isn’t a new concept, but it has increased in popularity in the last 5-10 years. Drop shipping is a way for an online retailer (which could be a large company or even just one guy in his living room) to offer products for sale online without having to keep an inventory of those products.
When an online seller sells an item, he can either ship from his own inventory, or have the item shipped from a different location, directly to the consumer.
This other location could be the product’s manufacturer or a large warehouse that stocks the item. Any time the shipment originates from an off-site location, without the seller’s direct involvement, it is called dropshipping.
Video: Get an easy-to-understand overview of dropshipping and 4 steps you can take to get started today.
Benefits of Dropshipping
For an online seller, dropshipping has huge benefits. First, they don’t have to purchase large amounts of product and find somewhere to store them.
Without the physical limitations of storing products, online sellers can expand their offerings, sometimes selling thousands of products that they don’t actually have in their possession. On the meantime, let’s take a look at how dropshipping compares to the likes of traditional e-commerce and affiliate marketing:
|Traditional E-Commerce||Affiliate Marketing||Dropshipping|
|Responsibility||Fully responsible for stock and administration||No stock, although fully responsible for administrative processes and staying up to date||Administrative responsibility only|
|Shipping||Full responsibility||Not responsible||Not responsible|
|Running Costs||Usually higher than the alternatives||Dependant on the operation and team size||Relatively low, although operation size is relevant|
|Time Consumption||Not only time-consuming but physically demanding||Very time consuming, unless looking at a seasoned autonomous business||Moderate, seeing as responsibility is split|
Second, by not purchasing large amounts of items, they can save their cash for marketing and other administrative costs. They can also focus on customer service, instead of shipping.
Finally, many drop shipping operations allow consumers to return products directly to the manufacturer or warehouse, so the product never touches the seller’s hands.
What is AliExpress Dropshipping?
AliExpress is an extension of Alibaba, the Chinese website that sells billions of dollars worth of consumer goods each year. Alibaba usually sells items in large quantities and specializes in wholesale.
AliExpress is a retail site, in which anyone can make a purchase, even for only one item.
Like Amazon and eBay, AliExpress is a marketplace, in which many manufacturers or sellers offer products. Sometimes, they offer the same products at different prices and with different delivery times.
Why Use AliExpress for Dropshipping?
When it comes to online selling, “variety” is the name of the game, and few dropship programs have the variety that AliExpress offers.
AliExpress has millions of products for you to choose from, with many items on offer from multiple suppliers, so you can select the items that make your web store stand out.
What is ePacket Delivery?
In the past, items shipped from places like China were shipped in bulk via boat. This was an inexpensive way to ship, but it took a ton of time – as long as two months or even more. In the age of Amazon same-day delivery, this put many e-commerce stores at a severe disadvantage.
Enter ePacket delivery, an agreement between the US Postal Service and Hongkong Post aimed at increasing the efficiency of shipping from manufacturers in China and Hong Kong.
Advantages of ePacket Delivery for Your eCommerce Store
This method of shipping cuts shipping time down considerably, sometimes to as little as four to nine days. It also allows for door-to-door tracking, so customers can see where exactly their items are.
In order to be eligible for ePacket delivery, the items must weight less than 4.4 pounds and be valued below $400 USD.
But really, how can ePacket delivery benefit your business?
- Save significant shipping costs as an operator
- Give your customers the luxury of cheaper shipping costs
- Faster shipping than conventional methods from China
- Additional tracking of packages offered reduced stress over the loss of shipments
- Better customer retention due to cheaper and faster shipping
- Potential increase in sales due to efficient shipping solution
- Reduced responsibility due to increased support from ePacket
- An additional method of delivery provided for customers ordering items at moderate value and size
- Reduced risks at customs
When it comes to software and apps, there are two categories of main features that really matter: features that help you convert sales, and features that make it easier for you to update your website and track sales. Oberlo delivers on both fronts.
Let’s dive in and take a look at 9 noteworthy features of Oberlo:
- Easily add products from AliExpress
- Change product suppliers as you desire
- Product inventory is updated automatically
- Product customization
- Automated pricing
- Fulfill and track orders automatically
- Track your sales
- Multiple user accounts
- ePacket delivery (scroll up for breakdown)
Easily Add Products from AliExpress
Oberlo allows you to browse the huge product database of AliExpress and add products with one click. You can also use the ePacket filter to import only products with the fastest delivery times, giving your website a unique selling proposition and potentially increasing your conversion rate.
If you’ve already been selling products from AliExpress on your website, you can connect them to your Oberlo account once you’ve installed the app. This is a real convenience for anyone who is looking to increase their efficiency but doesn’t want to have to start from scratch.
Change Product Suppliers as You Desire
AliExpress offers the same products from multiple suppliers, but each supplier has their own prices and delivery times. Oberlo allows you to change the supplier for a product, which could make the difference between a customer buying from you or buying from a competitor.
Suppliers on AliExpress also have feedback ratings, so you can properly identify the best supplier for you.
It’s important to select a good supplier. Here are some good tips on how to do that.
Product Inventory is Updated Automatically
Oberlo’s software will automatically update an inventory of the products that you have published on your site, so you won’t run the risk of selling something that has gone out of stock at AliExpress.
There are two huge benefits to this feature. First, it can save you a significant amount of time, since you won’t have to run and import inventory reports.
Second, it has the potential to save you from serious hassles and negative reviews when you accept a customer’s payment and then find out that an item is out of stock.
Just because you’re using Oberlo doesn’t mean that your products have to look just like everyone else’s. Oberlo allows you to customize your products, including changing the titles and images, so they stand out from the crowd.
You can also make edits to the product descriptions, which is great for including important SEO keywords.
Controlling your margins is important in order to turn a profit. Whether you want to maintain an everyday margin or are creating a special promotion, Oberlo makes it easy to update product prices in bulk, using pricing rules you create.
Fulfill and Track Orders Automatically
Online customers demand speedy order processing and detailed order tracking information, so Oberlo makes it fast and simple to fulfill an order once you have received the customer’s payment.
You just click “Order Product” to confirm that you want to ship the product to the customer, and Oberlo will process the order and provide integrated tracking, so you always know the status of a customer’s order. To view order tracking, go to the “Orders” page.
Please note that tracking for orders is only available for the “Basic” or “Pro” plans, not the “Starter” plan.
Track Your Sales
Oberlo provides a dashboard to help you keep track of what you’ve sold, and when you sold it, so you can “rinse and repeat”, or totally adjust your strategy.
Multiple User Accounts
Only one of Oberlo’s pricing plans (see below) includes multiple user accounts, but it’s a feature we appreciate.
As businesses evolve, so do the roles and responsibilities of the people behind the scenes, and having the option to have multiple user accounts is useful.
Looking to offer faster shipping? Oberlo allows you to do just that. ePacket delivery is an agreement between the USPS and Hongkong Post that increases the speed of delivery of small packages – in most cases just 7-10 business days versus the 30+ days previously experienced. ePacket also allows for door-to-door tracking and free returns for undeliverable items.
Oberlo currently offers a 30-day free trial, which offers “all the main features” of the software, and then transitions your account into the Starter Plan at the end of the trial.
The Starter Plan will cost you $4.90 per month and is intended for people who are new to selling online and owning a web store. According to the Oberlo website, this plan “will perfectly suit you for the first few months.” One key feature that is not included, though, is the detailed order tracking.
Oberlo’s Basic Plan is $29.90 per month and is intended for accounts that are processing up to 500 orders per month. This plan does include shipment tracking and orders monitoring features.
The Pro Plan costs $79.90 per month and includes what’s mentioned above, plus multiple user accounts. This plan is intended to help you scale your business and includes unlimited orders. Oberlo intends to integrate with other sales channels in the future, which will be a feature included in this plan.
How to Get Started with Oberlo
Here is a quick step-by-step guide on how you get started with Oberlo.
Sign up with Shopify
Because Oberlo is a Shopify app the first thing you need to do is to sign up with Shopify (or login if you already use Shopify)
- Go to shopify.com and get started with setting up an account
- Sign up using your name, email address and the name of your Shopify store (you’ll see if your desired store name is available or not)
- Fill in the necessary details (no surprises here)
- Once you have successfully signed up you will be taken to your Shopify admin area, your dashboard
- Go to the Shopify app store, and search for the Oberlo app
- Go ahead and install the Oberlo app
- Confirm (approve) the app installation. (Before importing products to your store, you should set up your application. Go to the Oberlo settings page and follow the instructions there)
- Search for AliExpress products to import into your Shopify store. Go to the Search Products page and look for products you want to import to your store
- Select the products that you wish to import to your Shopify store. Oberlo helps you import AliExpress.com products to your Shopify store, that can be all done within minutes.
- Customize product information (edit descriptions) before you push the products live to your Shopify store. See below.
Customize Products from AliExpress
Click the “Add to Import List” button next to the products you want to import. Then, in the “Import List” page, you can edit your product information and push them to your Shopify shop.
It is highly recommended that you customize and optimize the product information with unique titles and descriptions.
Search engine optimization (SEO) can make or break your e-commerce site and it’s worth investing time and effort into having uniquely written and compelling information about the products that you sell.
Your Products are Now in Your Shopify Store
Your products are now in your Shopify store and your customers are able to purchase them. After you receive an order containing the imported product, just go to My Orders page on Oberlo, click the order product and confirm that order on AliExpress.com
The makers of Oberlo clearly understand the challenges that online stores face when it comes to creating products on a website, and fulfilling orders.
Many of their key features include “one-click” or automated systems, which can make a world of difference when you start increasing the number of products that you offer.
The auto-update for inventory is especially important and useful, as anyone who has been burned by an out-of-stock product can tell you.
Unique Partnership with AliExpress
One thing that we really appreciate is that Oberlo allows you to connect products you’re currently selling from AliExpress once you install the app.
This is so much better than having to delete the product and then add it back in again via the app.
Probably the biggest negatives that we found about the Oberlo app have to do with the pricing and features available per plan.
At a time when people are more demanding than ever, not providing order tracking information on the Starter Plan just seems like a way to push users into buying the Basic Plan.
The difference in price between the Starter and Basic plans is pretty steep, too, so you really need to have some orders rolling in for you to not feel the upgrade cost.
Pricing plans aside, we believe that Oberlo delivers on its promise to help you dropship with ease. Also having close to 400 positive reviews on Shopify’s app store speaks for itself, customers love this dropshipping app!
Frequently Asked Questions About Oberlo
As always, we will cover some common queries which tend to arise when discussing Oberlo.
I want to start an e-commerce store/business. Are Oberlo and Shopify all I need?
From a website perspective, yes. Shopify lets you build, customize, and host your online business website and Oberlo will make it easy to implement drop shipping. You will, of course, need to create content, implement a marketing plan, and so forth.
What is drop shipping?
Drop shipping is when a supplier (like AliExpress) fulfills your orders. You handle the e-commerce, marketing, and customer support side of things, but you don’t need to invest in or hold any inventory yourself.
What is AliExpress?
AliExpress is the retail side of Alibaba and it’s an online platform where you can buy small quantity goods from Chinese suppliers’ products.
How does AliExpress drop shipping work?
AliExpress dropshipping works as per traditional drop shipping. You select the products from AliExpress that you want, set your own prices/markups, and after you sell a product, you purchase it from AliExpress and have it shipped directly to your customer.
How does order fulfillment work with Oberlo?
After items ship, you need to change the status of the order in Oberlo to reflect the change in status. You can do this manually by going to Oberlo>Orders, then selecting the item to fulfill, and clicking “Mark as shipped.” Orders from Oberlo Supply (Oberlo’s marketplace) fulfill automatically, making this step unnecessary.
Can I offer free shipping with Oberlo?
Yes. ePacket makes it even more affordable to do so by offering less expensive shipping options.
How does the free trial work?
When you start your free trial, you get access to Oberlo’s Pro Plan (their fully featured plan). Your billing cycle only begins after the free trial period ends.
Is Oberlo available on other platforms like WordPress?
Right now Oberlo is only available on Shopify, but they are working on integrating with both Bigcommerce and WordPress. Plugins for WordPress and WooCommerce are being worked on.
What’s Oberlo’s support like?
Oberlo offers live chat and email support. Their support team is available for a live chat around 07:00 AM – 16:00 PM (UTC/GMT +2). But you can email them anytime, and they will reply you when they are online.
What is Oberlo Google Chrome Extension?
Oberlo’s Google Chrome Extension is a tool that will help automate things for you, and it help run your dropshipping business more efficiently. To install Oberlo Chrome Extension, go to Chrome web store and click on ‘Add to Chrome’ button
Oberlo vs ShopifiedApp?
Both Oberlo and ShopifiedApp use AliExpress to import dropshipping products to your store, and there are lots of similarities between the ShopifiedApp vs Oberlo app. ShopifiedApp is an Oberlo alternative but Oberlo is cheaper, easier to use and better suited for new or smaller stores.
How Does Oberlo compare to WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform that allows site owners to build and customize their eCommerce store. Oberlo is solely a drop shipping solution. WooCommerce does allow you to integrate drop shipping, but it is not as easy to use as Oberlo. It is difficult to compare the two, as they serve different functions.
Oberlo Plans & Prices
Oberlo offers three types of plans; Starter plan, Basic plan, and Pro plan. Every account starts with a free trial of their Pro Plan and your billing cycle begins only after the free trial period has ended. For latest and most up to date prices visit Oberlo’s official website.
|Plan name||Transaction fees||Number of products||Monthly price|
Best Oberlo Alternatives
People share their opinions about companies on Twitter each and every day. We monitor tweets about Oberlo and apply a sentiment analysis algorithm that classifies these tweets as positive or negative. Every review is from a real personal opinion. We use this information and output an approval rating score, which is based on real people, positive and negative, opinions about Oberlo on Twitter
OberloApp Review on Twitter
OberloApp vs Competitor Ratings
We're happy the @OberloApp team uses Bonusly! They help you add drop-shipped products into your #ecommerce store:
Thanks @OberloApp for including us on this list! We're in great company 🙂
@OberloApp Happy birthday #Oberlo. You. Guys. Are. The. Absolute. BEST ❤️
Don Svedberg (@philam10)
Happy Birthday, Oberlo! http://bit.ly/2dlYO9u Normally a 1 year old is in diapers but you guys are already in "formal" wear
Chris Williams (@Scampiuk)
Ohh [email protected] , why have you gone away? #down
Shopify Support (@ShopifySupport)
@adzreed @OberloApp Hey, Adam! Congrats on your first order. Hard work pays off! We're always here if you need a hand at any stage.
Adam Reed (@adzreed)
5 days in to @Shopify and @OberloApp, learned so much about FB Ads it hurts my brain. But my first order has just arrived
ian hollander (@ianhollander)
How to launch an #Ecommerce Store in about an Hour (While watching BAD daytime TV 🙂 @OberloApp
Dan Siepen (@DanSiepen)
@OberloApp Hey guys, will you be doing WooCommerce anytime soon? I will certainly pay for this if you do 🙂
Business Mgmt Blog (@bizmgmtblog)
Building an #ecommerce business w/ @Shopify & @OberloApp is so easy & fun. I strongly recommend it. #entrepreneur #sales
Kyle Armour (@kylewarmour)
@OberloApp Hey, is something wrong with the site? Looks like all the CSS is gone or something for me..