Dropshipping is one of the most popular ways to start an online business, it is one of my two favourite ways to start making money online. However, the day to day tasks of running a dropshipping store can get repetitive and is very time-consuming. In this review of Oberlo, you will see how this app can automate a lot of these tasks and help you start and run a dropshipping store with little effort.
Oberlo is a web app that works exclusively with the Shopify eCommerce platform. Its primary function is to make importing products from AliExpress to your Shopify store much easier.
It also comes with a host of other features that will help make your store retain customers, increase sales and help boost your profits.
What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is an eCommerce distribution method in which the store owner never handles any of the inventory he/she sells. Dropshippers act as the middlemen between customers and suppliers.When an order comes in, the store owner will pass on the order to the supplier and they will deliver the item.
The store owner will keep the difference between what they charged the customer and what they paid for it from the supplier. Profit margins in dropshipping can be anything between 10% – 300% depending on who your supplier is and where you dropship. For a more detailed explanation of dropshipping read this article.
So, what exactly is Oberlo and how can it help you run a dropshipping business? Oberlo is a Shopify App that helps dropshippers import products from AliExpress to their Shopify store with little hassle.
The other major feature of this app is its one-click order fulfilment, every time a sale comes in, instead of manually ordering it from the supplier, you just let Oberlo fulfil the order for you.
These two features alone will save you a lot of time and let you concentrate on other aspects of your business like marketing and advertising. However, there are a lot more features to this app that has made it one of the best selling Shopify apps and responsible for selling over 85 million products worldwide.
Although Oberlo was not developed by Shopify, the popularity of the app and the success people were achieving lead them to acquire the app for $15 million in 2017.
Import Products from AliExpress
The main selling point of this app is the ease with which you can import products from AliExpress into your Shopify store with the click of a few buttons. This step is made much easier if you install the Oberlo Chrome Extension which will automate the process much faster.
The video below shows you how simple this process is.
Fulfil and Track Orders
One of the best ways to gain customer satisfaction is to fulfil their orders on time and Oberlo makes this possible with their streamlined ordering process.
Once an order comes, all you have to do is order the product from the Oberlo dashboard and they will take care of the rest.
It really is that simple and straightforward. You will also be able to track the order from the moment it leaves the suppliers warehouse until it reaches its destination.
Automatic Inventory and Price Updates
Another fantastic feature, you will not have to worry about customers ordering items that are out of stock because Oberlo will alert you when an item is no longer available.
This will allow you to either remove the item or find an alternative supplier of that item. The app will also update any changes in price, this will allow you to make any adjustment to your own price so that you always stay in profit.
Change Suppliers Whenever You Want
One of the great things about AliExpress is that there are multiple suppliers for many of the same products.
What this means is that you can change suppliers very easily should you see that you will get a better deal. With Oberlo you can change suppliers with the click of a few buttons and your customers will not know the difference.
Automated Pricing Rules
This is another time-saving feature, you can set up your own pricing rules for all your products at once.
You have two basic pricing options, they are:
- Multiplier – Multiply the original price by a fixed number
- Fixed Markup – Allows you to add a fixed number to the original price
There are other pricing features as shown in the video below.
One of the issues with dropshipping from AliExpress is the length of time it takes for the item to be delivered.
However, there are some products that can be delivered faster with a service called ePacket. Products that are eligible for ePacket delivery can be found by applying the ePacket filter within Oberlo.
Most products that are eligible for ePacket delivery are small and lightweight and when you first start dropshipping, these are the types of products you would start with.
You can edit product description, images, titles etc not only will this make you stand out from other people who are selling the same product but it will also have some SEO value should you want to rank for any keywords.
You can track the sales of all your products and analyse which products are converting well and which are not. This will allow you to stop promoting products that are not selling well and put more effort behind ones that are.
The sales dashboard will provide you with a total earnings report and provide stats for your top 5 selling items.
Oberlo supply is a large database of the best reviewed and most trustworthy suppliers in the AliExpress marketplace.
The suppliers have been handpicked by the Oberlo team so you know that the products and service will be of the highest quality.
All the suppliers are aware that most of their business customers are dropshippers so they will not deliver items with promotional material that will let customers be aware of this fact.
With Oberlo Supply you can also order in bulk instead of having to order one by one and all the items will be delivered within 2-7 days (the fastest times possible).
Processing orders can be done through smartphones, tablets or desktop PC’s this provides you with more flexibility as you can manage orders from anywhere.
The only downside to Oberlo supply is that it only lists a small percentage of the suppliers that are on AliExpress, so you will be limited by what products you can sell.
Oberlo has a fantastic support system and this is showcased by their extensive resources page. These are some of the materials you get free access to (you don’t even have to subscribe to a free membership of Oberlo):
- Free eCommerce eBooks
- Active Community Forum
- Free Business tools
- Free Stock images
- Updated list of trending products
- Guide on what to sell
- Help centre
Even if you do not end up using the app,the resources alone will help you in your eCommerce business.
There are three options you can choose should you decide to use the app for your dropshipping business.
There is a free plan and two paid plans.
Oberlo is free until you reach 50 orders per month (which hopefully you should do sooner rather later). The Basic plan is $29.90 pm and the Pro plan is $79.90 pm.
All the major features are included in the free plan, along with a 14-day free trial that comes with every Shopify plan, you can potentially start a dropshipping business with no upfront costs (only need to pay for a domain name, which can be purchased for less than $10 form Namecheap)
Oberlo vs Alidropship
There is another app that is very similar to Oberlo, it is called Alidropship and comes with many of the same dropshipping automation features as Oberlo.
You can read my review of Alidropship and decide for yourself which one you prefer. I personally prefer Alidropship, mainly because it works with WordPress and I am very familiar with that platform (this website is built on WordPress).
However, the one advantage that Oberlo has over Alidropship is that there is a free version of the app, Alidropship comes with a one time fee.
Either one is fine for dropshipping, however, although I personally prefer Alidropship, many people find Oberlo easier to use and Shopify less technically demanding than WordPress
With dropshipping becoming a very popular method to start an eCommerce business it was inevitable an app like Oberlo would be developed. It is a fantastic app and it will definitely make running a dropshipping business much easier.
If you are new to dropshipping, Oberlo has a wide range of resources to help you and it does have a fantastic customer support system should you need additional assistance.
Looking through their various blog posts and updates, the company is continuously improving the platform and this is reflected by the fact that Shopify acquired the company for a substantial amount in 2017.
The only negative point I have to make is that it only works with Shopify and so you are stuck with one eCommerce platform. This can be a problem down the road if you decide to move to another platform as you will have to start over from scratch.
However, with its free plan and Shopify’s 14-day free trial, you can start a dropshipping business for free (you will have to pay for a domain name).
That along with its fantastic range of features like 1-click order processing,ePacket filter and fantastic free resources,I highly recommend this app if you want to start a dropshipping business.