Dropshipping entrepreneurs seek a streamlined supply chain experience. So there’s been a spurt in the number of dropshipping automation tools on offer these days. Two popular options are Spocket and Oberlo.
Both these services have their pros and cons, but which one is the best for your business?
That’s what we will review today in this direct comparison. We will compare these services on the basis of key factors that can determine which one’s a better fit for your dropshipping business and help you come to an objective decision.
Spocket is a dropshipping automation service that connects you with verified, quality suppliers from all over the world. There are 60,000 plus suppliers on Spocket at the time of writing this. Add to that an extensive range of products in a variety of categories, branded luxury items and a bevy of other features.
Spocket automates inventory management, that helps you keep track of stock levels and automatically orders new stock when it dips below a certain threshold.
But its big draw is that more than 60% of the suppliers listed on the marketplace are based in the US & EU. This means that dropshippers who target these markets can enjoy faster shipping times and lower shipping costs. Want to match up to Amazon? Spocket can help!
For Suppliers, listing on Spocket’s marketplace is free. There’s zero subscription cost. That said, they have one of the most stringent evaluation processes in the business. So, it’s certainly not as easy as it sounds to get listed there. We have read that applications are rejected more than they are accepted.
So, only suppliers with credibility, experience and production capacities have a chance.
Pros and cons of Spocket
Here’s a look at Spocket’s pros and cons.
- Access to high-quality suppliers in the US & EU. This means faster shipping times for dropshippers. You can also search for products by warehouse location. This makes it easy to find products that will ship a warehouse close to your target market.
- Many of the products listed on Spocket are top brands in the US. You get access to wholesale prices for these products.
- Inventory management system that helps you keep track of stock levels and automatically orders new stock when it dips below a certain threshold.
- For a long time, Sprocket worked as a liaison between the supplier and the dropshipper. So you dealt with Spocket and never with the seller. The onus on vetting, quality control and customer service was on Spocket, not you. But now, they have a service where they allow you to contact sellers directly.
- Automated Order fulfillment, with suppliers that ship from multiple warehouses worldwide.
- Listing on Spocket is free, but not easy for suppliers. They have one of the most stringent evaluation processes. So, not everyone who applies gets accepted.
- Inventory level syncing is based on the supplier’s integration and settings with Shopify. So, it might happen that you list a product and it’s not available when a customer orders it.
- It’s not a third-party friendly service. For instance, you cannot sync Spocket with eBay or Amazon and list products directly.
Read our Spocket Review
Oberlo is a dropshipping automation tool for Shopify that allows you to find and import products from AliExpress into your online store. They also connect you to independent, verified Chinese suppliers. But the bulk of the sourcing happens from Aliexpress.
Aliexpress is one of the world’s largest online shopping platforms. It allows you to find and dropship millions of products. The sheer variety and the automation that Oberlo offers, makes it a favorite with beginner dropshippers.
That said, the suppliers are all based in China. You will not find domestic (US/EU) suppliers on Oberlo. This may lead to longer shipping times and higher shipping costs.
However, if you seek seamless integration with Shopify and complete dropshipping automation, then Oberlo is one of the best options.
Pros and cons of Oberlo
Here’s a look at Oberlo’s pros and cons.
- Oberlo makes it effortless to find and source products from Aliexpress. You can find products by category, popularity, or price, to name a few. It is hands down, the most beginner friendly dropshipping automation tool in the market.
- Oberlo offers a curated list of suppliers called the Oberlo Verified Suppliers Program. This ensures that you get access to high-quality suppliers who have been vetted by Oberlo. Another great feature aimed at beginners.
- The Oberlo app integrates seamlessly with Shopify. You can list products directly from the Oberlo app and bulk edit the listings before importing it into Shopify.
- It allows you to set multiple automation rules, so that you can automate the entire dropshipping process.
- Oberlo integrates only with Shopify. It’s not as versatile as other tools such as Spocket which integrate with numerous ecommerce platforms.
- All suppliers on Oberlo are from China. So, if you are looking for domestic suppliers, this might not be the right tool for you.
- Oberlo shares product sales data with all its members. So, if you somehow manage to find a winning product on your own after lots of research, it will eventually get competitive.
You might be interested to read:
Spocket vs Oberlo: The Key Feature Comparison
Now that you have a fair idea of how each service works, let’s drill down into the granular bits. This is where you will get a real feel of the nitty-gritties of each service.
1. Supported eCommerce platforms
Spocket offers one-click integrations with 8 ecommerce platforms including Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix, BigCommerce, SquareSpace, Square, Ecwid and Felex.
This covers the entire spectrum of ecommerce platforms, commonly used around the world by dropshipping entrepreneurs, making this a very flexible service that does not shoehorn you into subscribing with one particular platform.
Oberlo ONLY natively integrates with Shopify. This means that if you are running your dropshipping store on any other ecommerce platform, then you cannot use Oberlo. It’s as simple as that.
2. Product sourcing
Both these services have very different workflows for product sourcing. Let’s take a look at how each service allows you to find and import products.
Spocket – Product sourcing explained
Spocket is an independent marketplace that has its own vetting process for suppliers. This actually takes away a lot of the hassles and uncertainty of finding high-quality suppliers.
To further dial down, you can search directly by supplier name and check their reputation score/reviews before contacting them or making any deals. Top Suppliers on Spocket are easy to find as they have a ‘Diamond’ Icon next to their name.
What’s great is that you can actually see the location that a supplier ships from. This can be crucial if you want to dropship products that are specific to your region.
For instance, you can find products that ship from the US & EU, and ship to the US & EU. You can fine tune your search by shipping time. For example, find products that ship from the US and offers 1-3 day deliveries within US.
These are not the only filters mind you. Spocket lets you narrow down on products based on a variety of parameters. It is one of the most detailed and comprehensive filters you will ever come across.
Once you find a product that you like, you add it to an import list, tweak the product listing if necessary and then push it to the store. That’s all it takes. The process is fairly simple and easy.
Spocket also lets you source from Aliexpress by the way, which a lot of people are unaware of. All you need to do is install the Aliscraper Plugin. Aliscraper is a chrome extension that lets you scrape products from Aliexpress and add them directly to your import list in Spocket.
Just like Spocket’s integrated filtration systems, Aliscaper allows you to filter products on Aliexpress using a wide range of filters, including price, shipping type, shipping destination and more.
Oberlo – Product sourcing explained
Oberlo is a little different from Spocket in the sense that it serves as a bridging point for dropshippers and suppliers on Aliexpress. It does not work like a traditional marketplace, where you can create your own listings.
Although Oberlo does offer a list of Verified suppliers, it’s not as huge as what you get with Spocket. You can find products directly on the Oberlo dashboard and add it to your import list.
The import list allows you to tweak the product information, including the title, description and images. Once you’re done, you can simply hit the ‘Import to store’ button to add the product to your store.
Oberlo also offers a chrome extension that allows you to find products on AliExpress and import them directly into your Oberlo account. Once you install the extension, you just head over to Aliexpress and start browsing the product listing.
When you find a product that you like, just hover the cursor on it. This will bring up a button that allows you to import the product to your list. The rest of the process remains the same.
It may seem a little complex. But once you get a hang of it, it’s actually very easy to import products on Oberlo.
3. Payment methods
There are two parts to the payments you make to any dropshipping tool. Firstly, you pay for the subscription. Secondly, you pay for the orders. Here’s a glimpse of the payment methods and fees that each service uses.
Spocket allows you to use credit cards, PayPal and Shopify to pay for their subscription on a monthly or yearly basis. But you can only use credit cards to place orders on Spocket.
No Debit cards or WU or any other payment method. They use Stripe as their payment processor, which means that there’s a processing fee of 2.9% + 30 cents on every order.
Now, if it’s a small store with limited orders, you might not feel the pinch due to the processing fees. But picture placing hundreds of orders each day from different suppliers.
It suddenly adds up and you end up paying a lot in just processing fees. Despite being one of the most widely used global supplier networks, it’s a mystery why Spocket does not offer other payment methods yet.
You can use only credit cards to pay for your Oberlo subscription. No PayPal or Debit cards even. When it comes to paying for the orders, you will be paying directly to Aliexpress sellers.
So, the payment methods are entirely dependent on the seller. In most cases, you will be able to pay with Alipay, cards, PayPal, Google Pay, WU & Wire. But again, this depends entirely on the seller. Some other methods that you may also find are Doku, Boleto, Mercado Pago & Giropau.
Some sellers do not offer PayPal and prefer payment only with cards. So, it’s not consistent on Oberlo. This can be a little cumbersome because if you order different products from different sellers who prefer different payment methods, you have to keep switching payment methods.
The payment processing charges are entirely dependent on the payment service you use. If you pay using PayPal, there’s no PayPal fee applicable for you. That said, there could be processing fees involved for credit card transactions.
4. Fulfilling orders
Order fulfillment on Spocket is definitely easier than it is on Oberlo. Let us explain.
Spocket – Order fulfillment
Spocket is designed for true one-click order fulfillment. To fulfill orders of products sourced from the Spocket marketplace, you just head to your dashboard, click on ‘My Orders’.
Next, click on ‘Checkout’. At this point, Spocket will automatically calculate the shipping rates for you based on the customer’s address. Just hit ‘Place Order’ and the procurement price and shipping charges will be billed on your credit card.
Spocket will then take care of the rest, including order tracking and customer communication.
You can also bulk process the orders at once using their Bulk Checkout feature.
If you are sourcing from Aliexpress on Spocket, the process is pretty much the same. You do not have to manually head to Aliexpress to even enter the payment details. You pay to Spocket and Spocket pays the seller on Aliexpress.
However, Aliexpress sourced products invite a 2.9% charge + $0.30 transaction fee and a 5% order processing fee. So, it’s not as cheap as sourcing from Aliexpress on Oberlo.
You can easily track your order details from the dashboard. Spocket offers real time tracking as well as updated fulfillment time. Just click on the ‘Truck’ Icon on the orders page to get an update.
Oberlo – Order fulfillment
Oberlo’s order fulfillment is a little tricky as compared to the fulfillment process for Spocket. You need to set Shopify to manually capture payments for each order and ensure that it does not fulfill the orders.
Else, both these processes have to be done manually which is a time consuming thing. Once you have the Shopify settings in place, you head to your dashboard and click on My Orders.
Then, you review the shipping method, wait for the updated price and review all details. Click on ‘Order’ and the order status will change to ‘To Pay’. Now, the actual order has to be paid for on Aliexpress.
If you are using the Oberlo Chrome Extension, it will show you the available payment options. On the app, you get an option that says ‘Pay on Aliexpress’. Follow the instructions and pay for the order. Please be aware that no discount coupons will work when you place Aliexpress orders within Oberlo. Also, you can only pay for a maximum of 30 orders on Aliexpress. Not more. This is also payment method specific. Some methods limit this further to 10 orders at a time.
Once you have paid on Aliexpress, you need to sync the orders within the Oberlo Dashboard to automatically update the order status on Oberlo and receive the tracking number.
Please remember that to successfully process orders on Oberlo, you need to have an Aliexpress account and register for their free dropshipping program. This needs to be synced with your Oberlo dashboard. Only then, will you be able to successfully dropship on Oberlo.
You can track your orders either within the Oberlo dashboard, which may not always work, or use third party tracking websites like 17 Track and USPS tracking to name a few.
If tracking is not working within the Oberlo dashboard, you can click on ‘Retrack’ to try again. Else, you have the option to manually update the tracking details to avoid customer emails.
5. Shipping options
Spocket does not allow you to select Shipping options. This is seller-specific and in most cases, will be DHL, USPS, ePacket, FedEx, or other local carriers. They also do not offer expedited shipping at the time of writing this.
You can only avail of standard shipping. That’s not as bad as it sounds though. If you use the right filters to find the products, you should easily be able to find products that ship to your target market in the fastest time.
On Oberlo, the shipping method depends on the supplier, the warehouse that the product is stored in, the destination country and the type of product. The options are Aliexpress Standard Shipping, USPS, China Post Registered Air Mail, SF Express, Special Line YW, Cainiao Super economy global, UPS, DHL & FedEx.
Both, the time taken to deliver and the price varies extensively depending on the method you choose. You can find this information beforehand in the import list though.
6. Refund policy on orders
It’s important to know the refund policy before you select a dropshipping platform. Especially, if you deal with a lot of refunds or work in a niche that generally does.
Spocket’s refund policy is seller-specific. Different sellers can have different policies so you will have to check with the respective seller for this. If you check the product listing page, you should find the refund policy on the right hand bottom side.
In case you are dealing with an incorrect product, product not delivered, damages or missing items, you will have to file a claim with Spocket with photo evidence and within 15-days of order delivery.
In some cases, Spocket requires the recipient to file claims directly with the shipping provider too. Also, there are situations in which they offer a 100% refund. But there are some in which only a partial refund will be granted.
On Oberlo, the process is almost identical. If you are sourcing from Aliexpress, you are expected to mutually solve the problem with the supplier directly. If you are unable to come to a mutual consensus with the seller, you can file a dispute.
In case the supplier does not offer a refund, Aliexpress will offer it through buyer protection. For this, you need to support every dispute with valid photographic evidence. You have a window of 45 days to dispute the order and file for a full or partial refund.
Also, it is important that you create a refund policy before you set up your store. Many suppliers on Aliexpress might not accept returns or refunds. So it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the policies of the suppliers that you work with, before importing any products.
7. Customer service
This is another critical aspect of your store that you need to get right. Because, no one wants to purchase from a store that doesn’t offer good customer service.
Spocket offers email support on its basic plan and it can be slow at times. They also have a live chat support which is reserved for their higher subscription tiers.
Oberlo also offers email support and Live Chat. So it’s even-steven here. We dug through customer reviews for both these services and the general consensus veers towards positive for both.
Most customers have had a positive experience, barring a few on the free plan who experienced slow responses.
Conclusion: Is Spocket Better than Oberlo?
After carefully analyzing both these services, we believe that they are neck-and-neck when it comes to features. However, Spocket edges Oberlo out when it comes to a global supplier network and faster shipping times.
The fulfillment automation is also easier on Spocket. But if you are sourcing from Aliexpress, which gives you access to a virtually endless catalog of products to test from, then Spocket may be an expensive choice.
Oberlo is more cost effective in this regard and it certainly has many automation features that will make life simpler for you.
Here’s our two cents.
Use Spocket if you are looking to offer faster shipping in your target markets like the US & EU. The caveat is that the products may be more expensive and your choices will be limited.
Use Oberlo if you are starting off with Dropshipping. You get a pool of 120 million products, one click imports and virtually endless attempts to test the waters. If you are looking to scale, shift over to Spocket or work with a dropshipping agent and a private supplier.