Oberlo is a very popular dropshipping automation service for Shopify stores. It makes it effortless for you to source, test and dropship products from China. The best part is that the automation it offers can simplify some of the most complex parts of the supply chain.
But since dropshipping automation services are dime-a-dozen, what is it about Oberlo that makes them so successful?
That’s what we are going to find out in our Oberlo review today.
- What is Oberlo
- How does Oberlo Work?
- Oberlo Dropshipping Features & Benefits
- Oberlo Pricing
- Is Oberlo Good for Dropshipping?
What is Oberlo Dropshipping?
Oberlo is a dropshipping automation tool designed for Shopify only. It does not offer integrations with WooCommerce or any other e-commerce platform.
It’s purely for Shopify. But that’s not to take away anything from it, mind you. Oberlo is far from a one-trick-pony. Instead, it is a comprehensive tool that has scripted multiple ecommerce success stories.
A group of entrepreneurs who found the existing automation solutions, lacking teeth, founded it in 2015. Within a year, Oberlo acquired its first funding tranche, which allowed them to double down on their strengths.
There are many features that make it a better alternative to commonly used marketplaces like Aliexpress. For one, it will allow you to scale without struggling to manage the additional volume. Secondly, it offers tons of useful courses, tutorials and even one-on-one personal coaching for entrepreneurs who do not want to take chances with their maiden venture.
Lastly, it automates practically everything and backs it up with one of the top rated customer support teams in the business currently. By the way, Oberlo was officially acquired by Shopify in 2017.
Using Oberlo is pretty straightforward. You can either search for dropshipping products from the Oberlo dashboard within Shopify, or you can install an Oberlo extension for your browser and import products directly from Aliexpress.
Here’s an explanation of both the methods.
Method 1 – Import directly from the Oberlo Interface
Step 1 – Head to the Shopify App store and Install Oberlo.
Step 2 – In the Oberlo dashboard, you can straight away search for products. If you are a beginner, then Oberlo shows you the latest trending products with some great granular data. For instance, they show you how many times a product has been imported into a store and the number of sales they have generated. This takes the guesswork out of your dropshipping product research. Any product that has fewer imports but higher sales, is a great option.
Step 3 – Once you have found a product that you are interested in, you can check the reviews and ratings as well as use other data to filter the products.
Step 4– When you have finally found the winning product, add it to your import list and then straight to your store.
This method is easier and works great for new dropshipping entrepreneurs. It gives you granular data on each product and lets you import products directly from the Oberlo interface.
Method 2 – Importing products from AliExpress using the Chrome Extension
Step 1– Install the Oberlo Chrome extension.
Step 2– Head to Aliexpress and search for products.
Step 3– When you like a product, just hover the cursor over it and an Oberlo icon pops up. Just click on it and the product gets directly imported into your store.
The advantages of this method are that you can find products on Aliexpress that Oberlo may not have in its database. Secondly, it gives you a much wider choice of products to choose from. It is estimated that there are 100 million products on Aliexpress. So, there’s no competition really.
Oberlo pros & cons
Before we get into the nitty-gritties of the service, here’s a quick list of the pros and cons with Oberlo.
1. Easy product imports
As a new dropshipper, anything that saves time is worth its weight in gold. That’s exactly what Oberlo does. Instead of sourcing products and then uploading them to your store, you can simply import your products directly from the dashboard. It is fast, effortless and a one-man job. So, even if you are a one-man operation, Oberlo will help you set up a store with hundreds of products in no time.
2. Easy to use
When you first log on to Oberlo and install the app, you’ll realize that it is effortless to use and configure. Right from navigation to product imports, everything is pretty straightforward and intuitive. You can find trending products, bestsellers, set featured products and watch product details when you start to generate sales. The overall design is very similar to WordPress, which in our opinion is one of the easiest software to use.
3. Find suppliers according to shipping times
In current times, delivery time is one of the most crucial determining factors for a customer. If you product delivery is 15-30 days, you can kiss that prospective lead good bye then and there. Aliexpress’s ePacket, is notorious for slow delivery times.
However, Oberlo allows you to filter suppliers according to shipping times. This is called the ePacket filter. As soon as you apply this, you are shown a list of suppliers who offer faster shipping times other than ePacket. This saves you the time and effort that would otherwise be spent on figuring out the shipping times for the product you liked.
4. Daily product syncing
Oberlo makes it easy to sync the orders in your store with Aliexpress. You just have to click on the order button and Oberlo, automatically loads the customer details into Aliexpress. You just need to complete payment. If you are sourcing from the Oberlo marketplace, the sync happens automatically once a day.
5. 30-day free trial
Oberlo offers a 30-day free trial for all their paid plans. This is an excellent way to test the waters and get to know how the service works before you pay them. A lot of dropshipping tools, like Dropfiled for instance, allows you to take a tour of the dashboard. But limits access to what you can and cannot do with the service.
But Oberlo shows you what you can achieve with a paid plan. It’s a great way to allow entrepreneurs to completely test the service before asking them to loosen their purse strings.
That’s not all. Their starter plan is completely free and lets you source up to 500 products with unlimited orders. Earlier this was limited to 50 orders. Now there’s no limits. Apart from captcha solver and staff accounts, you get all the features of the paid plan. Go figure!
1. They restrict some products
Sometimes, when you try to import a product to the Oberlo dashboard, you will be unable to. That’s because Oberlo places restrictions on certain imports from Aliexpress if it senses that the product design or branding is an infringement of intellectual property. Sometimes, this filter can be very stringent and it can be a little frustrating. Imagine spending hours researching and then realizing that it cannot be imported.
2. Bestsellers is highly competitive
One of the best parts about the Oberlo interface is that you get access to the bestsellers from the dashboard itself. The caveat is that these products are highly competitive and in some cases, they may not even be profitable. Want to know why? Because when a product starts to do really well, Oberlo starts recommending this to others too.
Here’s why this can be a huge disadvantage. Let’s say you found the perfect product that was not trending. You realized that this has great potential and start to make money with it. Suddenly, Oberlo’s showing this to everyone on their paid plan. Before you realize, the competition skyrockets. This can be a downside for many new dropshippers. In fact, it is one of the common gripes that we’ve heard from Oberlo users about the service.
3. Imports from Aliexpress only
Oberlo does not allow imports from other marketplaces like eBay, Rakuten etc. That means the only option is to source your product from Aliexpress.
We are not saying that there’s a dearth of options. That’s certainly not the case. But Aliexpress is like the Wild West of B2C marketplaces. It’s certainly not easy to get things right straight away. With the number of dropshipping suppliers expanding around the globe, it’s high time a service like Oberlo considers partnering with more domestic suppliers in the US, EU & Asia.
4. It’s a Shopify exclusive
Oberlo has always been a Shopify only app. They’ve never tried to expand to other ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce, Wix etc. So, if you are not using Shopify, you cannot use Oberlo. Now that Shopify has acquired it, it will remain a Shopify exclusive forever.
Check out other Oberlo Dropshipping Resources:
Oberlo Dropshipping Features & Benefits
Despite these small quibbles, Oberlo offers enough in terms of features to keep even a seasoned dropshipper impressed. Let’s take a look at what we believe are the top reasons for its success.
Process automation is the key to successful dropshipping. Any dropshipping automation tool you select should make it possible to automate the entire process as much as possible.
Oberlo comes pretty close to a fully automated solution, even though there are some manual inputs required. For instance, you can search and import products with one clicks.
You can filter them easily using a variety of criteria, and Oberlo will update product information automatically as it changes on Aliexpress. All you need to do is sync your store with Oberlo, and the orders go through automatically.
You can even fulfill them with just a few clicks. The manual bits, are entering your payment details on Aliexpress when you are placing the actual order. But that’s not a huge inconvenience is it? When the suppliers ship your order, Oberlo automatically updates the tracking information on your store.
Oberlo also offers order automation, which is a Godsend for busy dropshippers. You can set up automatic order fulfillment and even automatic email notification to your customers. This takes care of all the niggling details, so you can focus on more important tasks.
2. Reports & Analytics
As an entrepreneur, you should be spending as much time as you can to generate sales. Other than this, if you should spend time and effort on something, it is analytics and reporting.
Analytics is a window into your business performance, and it can tell you a lot of things you need to know about your business. Oberlo offers comprehensive analytics, which give you all the data you need to take informed decisions about your Oberlo business.
The Oberlo dashboard provides insights into total units sold, total sales, sales change, sales graph, earnings, costs, total sales over time and other granular data. What’s amazing is that a lot of this is available on the default dashboard without having to dig too deep into your store.
You can use these insights from Oberlo for micro-optimization and even macro performance improvement. Each of these metrics can also be exported into reports at the click of a button.
3. Price automation rules
Manually editing prices for every product or every category of product can take ages. Moreover, suppliers can change product prices without notice, so you have to keep an eagle eye on them. Oberlo’s Price Automation feature takes care of this for you.
You can set a rule that states the minimum and maximum allowable price range for a product, and Oberlo will automatically adjust the prices as needed. You can also specify the markup percentage you want to add to the original price.
This ensures that your prices are always updated and in line with your business strategy, without you having to lift a finger. This is a terrific way to ensure that your profit margins remain unaffected, even if the supplier decides to hike prices during peak season.
4. Verified suppliers
As we mentioned, Aliexpress is the Wild West of the dropshipping universe. This is where you can find anything and everything, and some of the suppliers are quite dodgy. It’s hard to know which ones you can trust, and which ones you should avoid like the plague.
Oberlo takes the guesswork out of this by giving you a list of verified suppliers on a platter. These are suppliers who have been screened and approved by Oberlo, so you can be sure that they are legitimate and up to the task.
This is a huge relief, as you don’t have to waste time (and money) on dodgy suppliers who might not deliver what they promise. You can simply focus on the verified ones, and rest assured that they will fulfill all your dropshipping orders.
5. Switching suppliers made easy
Many times, the supplier that you are sourcing product from, will run out of inventory. This can be a huge predicament because suddenly, you have to go find a new supplier and completely alter the product listing, uploading it from scratch.
Oberlo takes care of this by allowing you to easily switch suppliers. You simply have to search for the product you are looking for, and Oberlo will show you all the available suppliers who carry that product. But here’s the kicker. You can switch suppliers and continue to use the same product listing!
This is a godsend, as you don’t have to waste time re-uploading all your product data. You can simply switch suppliers, and Oberlo will take care of the rest.
6. Bulk edits
If you have tried to edit product data on Shopify, you will have a fair idea of how tedious it is. This is especially true if you have to make changes to a large number of products.
As we mentioned earlier, Oberlo lets you edit product data within the dashboard, which is neatly organized and formatted. You can then import this back into your Shopify store with just one click.
This will save you hours if not more. The bigger the store, the more time and effort this saves.
7. Real time order tracking & fulfilment monitoring
Since the product will be shipped from China, there will be times when the customer reaches out to you to get an update, even after the tracking information is sent to them.
If you are on one of their paid subscription tiers, Oberlo gives you access to a live order tracking system. This means that you can see exactly where the order is, and when it is likely to be delivered.
This information can be especially reassuring for customers who are anxious about their orders. In addition, Oberlo also has a fulfilment monitoring feature. This lets you keep track of the supplier’s fulfillment process, and helps you get updates along the way.
Oberlo has two pricing tiers.
The Free Plan is free to use for life. It allows you to source and import up to 500 products into your store. It also includes all the features that you need to get started with a dropshipping business.
The Boss Plan is $29/month and gives you access to all the features we discussed above. There’s no contracts, so it can be cancelled at any time without any penalties.
Please keep in mind that in addition to Oberlo’s monthly charge, you will also incur the charges for the Shopify plan that you are on currently.
Oberlo Review Conclusion: Is Oberlo Good for Dropshipping?
Oberlo ticks all the boxes for starting a dropshipping business. It’s easy to use, has a ton of features, and is affordable. The Free Plan is great for beginners. It is free to use for life and you can use it to learn the ropes until you really start to scale. When you want to transition to a branded dropshipping business, then you’d have to consider switching over to a private dropshipping agent.
If only it offered more marketplaces and the option to source from domestic sellers, it would have become the top dropshipping automation tool in the industry. But those are tiny quibbles and certainly not deal breakers.