Last Updated on by Karl
PSA! Oberlo has now been discontinued and the no-brainer alternative is Spocket.
Click here to check out my Spocket review and see why it's the best of the best!
Hey new dropshipper! Welcome to my Oberlo review.
In this full review, I’ll detail everything I experienced over my 3 years using Oberlo for my last dropshipping store.
Please, do not make the same mistake that I did and rush into getting Oberlo. It’s not 2017 anymore. You’ll put yourself way behind the competition.
I want to give you a peek under the hood of using Oberlo in the trenches of building an online business, so you know exactly what you’re getting into before you invest time in building your store with Oberlo and AliExpress.
In this review, I’ll cover:
- What Oberlo is
- Is Oberlo dropshipping worth it?
- Key features and benefits (or lackthereof…)
- Pros and cons
- Why you ultimately should NOT start a business with Oberlo
Ready? Let’s dive right in.
What Is Oberlo and What Does It Do?
Oberlo is the world’s most popular product sourcing and Shopify store management app for dropshipping businesses. Think of it as the bridge between Shopify and AliExpress.
It connects you directly to AliExpress and simplifies and automates supplier vetting, product sourcing, product importing, and store management.
It helps you find products according to different filters, import them, and change their info to make them unique, and manages tedious tasks like bulk orders or product inventory.
Oberlo eliminates most of the hard work of finding high-quality products, integrating them into your store, processing orders, and maintaining inventory.
Before the Oberlo app, you’d have to:
- Manually search AliExpress for hours
- Go in blind with every supplier
- Manually import products to your store
- Manually fulfill orders with AliExpress
- Manually update inventory
If you’re new to dropshipping, let me explain just how awful this was with a picture…
Just think about everything that could go wrong: bad products, hours spent importing to your store and changing every description and title, checking inventory every day, manually punching in customer details (errors!).
Now it’s easy…
Found a great product? Click Import and it’s automatically in your store.
Made a sale? Oberlo automatically fills in the customer’s info at checkout. Stock running low? This dropshipping app automatically updates inventory.
Sounds perfect, right? Not exactly.
Oberlo was awesome years ago when it was the only game in town, but nowadays there are way better options than dropshipping with AliExpress and using Oberlo.
I’ll explain ALL of this and more in a second. But first…
Quick Verdict: Is Oberlo Dropshipping Worth It?
Oberlo is worth it if you want to dropship with AliExpress, but I highly recommend against it. The Oberlo the app is solid, but there are way better options. All the successful dropshippers I know haven’t used it in years.
Dropshipping is super competitive in 2023, and if you aren’t ready to fight for every edge, just quit now. You won’t succeed.
AliExpress is littered with poor suppliers, worse dropshipping products, deeply entrenched super competitors, and month-long waiting times.
In 2017, Oberlo was great. In 2023, it’s a major competitive DISADVANTAGE.
- Good FREE plan
- Find and vet suppliers quickly
- Automatically import products
- Runs store tasks on autopilot
- Great dropshipping education
- Shipping and tracking updates
- Update product info directly in the app
- Only works with Shopify and AliExpress
- Low to average supplier quality
- Shipping can take up to 30 days
- Legwork required on research
The Bottom Line: The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly
Here’s the hard truth about Oberlo. And it pains me to say this, because it helped me so much back in the day.
I tell every new dropshipper the same thing. I wish I knew this back in 2016 instead of finding out the hard way.
Oberlo is good at what it does, but it’s fatally flawed.
What’s the Problem With Using Oberlo and Aliexpress?
The business model itself is fatally flawed. Oberlo only works with AliExpress, meaning you’ll inevitably run into issues like:
- Oversaturation (it’s the most popular – and competitive platform)
- Low-quality products (you’re responsible for the supplier vetting too)
- Long shipping times (most products take between 10 – 30 days)
- No branded packaging (more on this below)
Ask any seven-figure dropshipper how to get ahead in this game, and they’ll tell you the same thing:
- Find a kicka** product
- Get it to your customer ASAP!
- Be original and REAL
If you use Oberlo, you have to use AliExpress. And if you use AliExpress, you’ll be way behind competitors using better, faster platforms with more reliable suppliers.
A Quick Oberlo Dropshipping Example
Pretend it’s a bright, sunny day outside. Everyone’s enjoying the outdoors with their partners and children, finding fulfilment in life and living the dream.
Of course, you’re sitting inside. You’re in the basement alone with the shades closed, browsing products for your next dropshipping business.
And you find the greatest product idea of 2023:
DEAR LORD, this is it!
You decided to dropship Breaking Bad puppy raincoats (… I am the danger now, Skyler).
You find a supplier in some town you can’t pronounce, and try to chat with support speaking so-so English. Oh, and you’re the 500th caller that day. No way you’re getting samples.
But you know this is the next big thing. You’re already dreaming of your success story talk at Dropship Lifestyle Retreat 2024.
Word spreads like wildfire via Facebook ads. But now when customers get to checkout, they see 10-20 days shipping.
They’ll go find someone else who’ll send it directly from the New Mexico backcountry. They’ll have it in 48 hours or less.
Let’s be generous and say someone does buy it, 3 weeks later it arrives, and fluffy’s raincoat has a tear in it… or it smells like mold… or it’s missing those god awful green mittens.
Your rep is ruined, and now you’ve got a return, a bad review, and a supplier who’s phone mysteriously doesn’t work ONLY when they owe you money.
Don’t believe me? Check out one of the top reviews on the Oberlo app page…
And the developer doesn’t even disagree:
Your customers want their Breaking Bad puppy raincoats ASAP. Month-long shipping is not going to fly.
You need to do better. Better, faster, stronger, more unique.
Which brings me to…
The #1 Oberlo Dropshipping Alternative for Better Products, Faster Shipping Times, and Better Service: Spocket
Spocket does everything Oberlo does just better and faster. It connects you to suppliers, simplifies the product searching process, automates your online store, and more…
Why Spocket Is Better Than Oberlo:
Spocket comes with all that PLUS:
- Faster shipping times
- Mostly US and EU suppliers
- Higher-quality products and detailed vetting
- Personalized branding and notes on packages
- Simple and beautiful user-interface
Imagine if Oberlo worked only with US and EU suppliers, personally vetted each supplier, checked their products, and customers received products within 2-5 days instead of up to a MONTH.
And it works with Shopify and WooCommerce.
Spocket Pros and Cons
- Faster shipping times
- In-depth review and onboarding for all suppliers
- No 3rd-party warehouses (all suppliers must hold their own inventory)
- Personalized branding on packages
- Smooth and simple interface
- World-class support
- 14-day free trial
- No free plan
- Costs more than Oberlo
- Oberlo has better training
- Fewer products
Who Is Oberlo For?
Anyone Needing a Free Plan
Spocket’s free version is kind of like the human appendix. Nobody is sure what it does or why it’s there, and then one day you die. Don’t bother. It’s a complete waste of time.
Literally all you can do is browse the “catalogue” and look at products you can’t order.
Oberlo is a bit more philanthropic.
- 500 products
- Unlimited orders
- Chrome Extension
All 100% for free. That’s plenty to get up and running and find some money (to then spend on Spocket).
Theoretically, you can make a solid monthly income without paying a dime.
Oberlo Is Good for Budget Shoppers
Let me give it to you straight: DON’T EVER SKIMP ON YOUR BUSINESS. You think you’re saving money, but you’re actually losing in the long run.
OK, I feel better now.
That being said, if you really need to budget, Oberlo’s Boss plan is only $29.90. You don’t get the real benefit of Spocket without paying $49.99.
$29.90 gets you:
- 30,000 products
- Unlimited orders
- Chrome extension
- Variant mapping (for two products)
- Bulk orders
- Shipment tracking
If you really need to save money, use Oberlo.
NOTE: Spocket is only $20 more per month, which is basically one dinner and a drink. For $20 more, you get faster shipping, ace suppliers, better products, and better branding. $.65 cents per day for a hyper competitive advantage sounds worth it. But don’t listen to me, I’ve only been making money at this since I was 12.
Anyone Who Wants Oberlo’s Training
Oberlo has some really helpful training for beginners on everything from building a dropshipping business to copywriting to dominating TikTok. Spocket doesn’t even try.
I really like their dropshipping education ecosystem: podcasts, courses, blogs – there’s a ton of helpful advice on business, mindset, lifestyle, and dropshipping for beginners.
The homepage on the Oberlo website doesn’t even say what they do. It’s just plastered with “be the CEO of your own life” type content.
As a practical guy, this just isn’t my protein shake (or cup of tea).
Oberlo Features Breakdown
Like I said before, Oberlo is the bridge between your Shopify store and AliExpress. Think of it like a research and management team that analyzes the landscape of the Chinese factory market and finds the best products.
Then, it stocks the shelves, fulfills orders, and tracks inventory. They’ll even make it easy to procure more products down the line.
It makes everything convenient and easy for you, the merchant… even if your customer suffers.
Oberlo’s features come in 3 shapes and sizes:
- Product sourcing
- Shopify store management
Again, I highly recommend against dropshipping with AliExpress, but if you insist, I’ll break down the features for you here.
Finding and Importing Products
The Oberlo plugin is like having expert boots on the ground in China constantly looking for the best suppliers and products.
Instead of manually searching for factories, Oberlo has everything in one place in an easily searchable database. Say you want to dropship watches, just click the Watches category and it instantly shows you the best suppliers:
If you want to niche down even further, just choose from the subcategories on the side:
This also makes it easy to brainstorm new, untapped product ideas. I never would have thought of pocket & fob watches without seeing the category.
Oberlo also hits you with estimated shipping times:
Notice the shipping times…
Trans-Pacific supply chain be damned!
Oberlo displays relevant product and supplier data for you to evaluate. Notice it’s YOU and not AliExpress or Oberlo. I really wish they’d put more effort into controlling supplier and product quality.
Once you’ve decided to sell your puppy raincoat… I mean, Ladies Magnetic Starry Sky Watch, just click add to import list and they’re ready to be stocked right on your shelves:
It doesn’t get much easier to find products. Category -> subcategory -> evaluate information -> calculate costs -> add to import list -> import.
Back in my day, I actually had to do work. You kids these days are spoiled.
Editing Product Information
Well-written product descriptions and titles are the easiest ways to stand out from the pack and increase sales, lower refunds, and generate positive reviews.
Back in the day, I had to go into each product manually on the backend and edit info in a nasty interface. Nowadays, you do it in Oberlo before the products hit the shelves.
Give your product a descriptive title and make sure to keep the main keyword in the title. For example “elegant cosmic nightwatch” isn’t going to cut it. “Elegant women’s cosmic night watch” or “elegant cosmic nightwatch for women” is much better.
Next, edit your product description:
Keep it roughly 3-5 sentences and make it engaging. Not like this here. Always include these 3 things:
- Specs: Keep the most important specs like color, weight, and material
- Value: Which problems does this solve? What’s the USP? For this watch, it could be it’s the perfect gift for a wannabe tarot card reader
- Story: Why do you sell this product in your online store? Did Breaking Bad inspire you to protect dogs from laboratory gas? Let the world know
NOTE: You can also check product variants under the Variants tab. Deselect any you don’t want to sell. Trust me, selling 10 different watch colors leads to choice overload. Simplify your customer’s decision.
Automatic Product Inventory Updates
Back in the day, you either had to update stock daily or just wing it and hope your supplier had enough of that particular product. Sometimes you’d go to fulfill an order, and the supplier would say “yeah, not gonna happen”.
Oberlo automatically updates inventory for you, so you never sell products that are out of stock or waste time checking daily inventory reports or calculating supplier stock manually.
Once you enable auto updates, Oberlo displays the current stock of each product. If it’s out of stock, Oberlo hides it or displays it as “out of stock” to stop anyone from purchasing it.
Automatic Pricing Updates
I love this lifehack.
Oberlo will update product prices in your ecommerce store according to your pricing rules. You can either choose as a multiplier or dollar figure (E.g. add $20 to cost).
I would usually choose a 3x multiplier. That way, if something cost $10, it would automatically display in my Shopify store as $30.
And if the supplier ever changed the price on me, my price would auto adjust to compensate.
You can also choose to set a “compare at price” rule that simulates a sale (see above). Don’t ask me why it works, it just does. So you could sell that Breaking Bad puppy coat for $25 but it’ll display as
$50 $25, leading to more sales.
Auto Order Fulfillment
This might be my favorite part of Oberlo. Oberlo offers auto fulfillment and fulfillment monitoring included in its Boss Plan monthly fee (not available on the free starter plan).
Again, it all comes down to the same mantra: EASY.
Once a customer places an order, it shows up under your Orders tab.
Find the product you want to send to your customer and click Order Product:
This transports you to the AliExpress order page:
The best part? Your customer’s details are automatically filled in! Do you know how much finger exercise and time this saves you? Just place the order and it’s on the way to your customer.
Once you place an order, you can also track it within the app. You have to go to your AliExpress account and synch the page to your Oberlo app:
Oberlo then sends you a notification once the product has shipped.
ePacket is a less-than-ideal solution to the worst problem in dropshipping: long wait times.
ePacket is an agreement between China and Hong Kong and the US (plus other nations) that enables faster delivery.
Before it was up to 8 weeks. Now it’s 10 – 20 days (for certain products and certain suppliers).
ePacket has been a lifesaver for thousands of dropshippers, but it’s still flawed at its core.
First, in some countries (e.g. Canada), customers might have to pay customs duty on delivery. Second, only certain items qualify. For example, only items under $400 qualify and the sum of the length, width, and height must not exceed 90cm.
It’s faster and cheaper than the old way, but 20 days is still way too long to wait.
Multiple Orders (Bulk Orders)
Let’s not even talk about how hard my life was when I was making 25+ sales per day (life was tough).
But placing all those orders was a pain.
Enter: Bulk products ordering.
Check each order you want to place, then click “Place AliExpress Orders”.
Confirm all details are correct for all your orders, and then click “Pay For All Orders”
Instead of spending god knows how long entering each order manually and ordering separately, you just clicked two buttons. Use the rest of your time to read more cool stuff on DreamGrow instead.
Oberlo Chrome Extension
Oberlo’s Chrome Extension is the middleman between Oberlo and your online store.
It’s what actually lets you access all of Oberlo’s features. Without the Oberlo Chrome Extension, you wouldn’t be able to import products, sync order data, or any of the other fun stuff Oberlo lets you do.
Most of the functions I’ve described above will be performed via the extension.
I just wanted to clear up the confusion. It’s not like Jungle Scout’s extension, which comes with a ton of extra features. Oberlo and the Oberlo Chrome extension are pretty much the same thing.
Variant mapping solves two key issues: separate listing for different variations of the same item (e.g. size or color) and stock outs of a single variation. Having too many listings turns your Shopify store into a mirror image of my office: messy.
Variant mapping cleans up your online store and improves processes by allowing you to combine different variations from different listings/suppliers into one listing. For example, say you’re selling Breaking Bad puppy raincoats in 5 sizes and 5 colors. That’s 25 variants.
Now, say one supplier only carries two sizes and another carries three. Instead of two separate listings, you can offer them all under one listing and the customer is none the wiser.
Or, if one supplier runs out, you can continue to offer that product for the time being from another supplier.
Oberlo does have basic analytics like sales reports, but you can’t glean much from them. It’s just basic sales and revenue. Small business owners won’t get much insight into their drop shipping store from it.
Oberlo Pricing Review (Major Update!)
Oberlo plans have changed recently. It’s now more competitive and simpler to run your store. I’m like 98.6% sure this is due to better competitors offering better service, and Oberlo being unable to justify $80 per month for a second-rate plug-in (you didn’t hear that from me).
Now there are only two options: The basic plan and Oberlo’s pro plan (BOSS).
Oberlo Free Plan (Explorer)
The best free plan on the planet. It comes with:
- 500 products
- Unlimited monthly orders
- Chrome Extension
- Variant mapping (2 products)
Can you get started with Explorer? Yes. Should you run a business with it? Not really. If you’re just starting out, the basic plan is fine, but don’t expect to build a business on it.
You 100% should upgrade to BOSS.
NOTE: No, there is no free trial. That’s because the basic plan is plenty to get you going. Don’t be greedy!
Oberlo BOSS ($29.90/mo)
Oberlo’ing like a BOSS is the only way to Oberlo. This comes with everything in Explorer plus:
- 30,000 products
- Variant mapping on 5 products
- Bulk orders
- Shipment tracking
- Staff accounts (multiple user accounts)
- Affiliate program
- CAPTCHA solver
Should You Upgrade to Oberlo Boss?
Yes, you 100% should upgrade to Oberlo BOSS. I’m going to be brutally honest – if you aren’t willing to spend $30 per month on your business, you shouldn’t go into business.
Think about it this way – if you don’t upgrade, you’ll suffer from:
- Spending all day placing orders
- Losing shipments
- Angry customers wondering where their stuff is
- Never being able to hire staff
- Not selling enough products to stay afloat
Oh, and all your competitors will have tons of free time, happy customers, and staff doing their dirty work.
Get what I’m saying?
AliExpress dropshipping is already hard enough. DON’T make it harder. It’s $29.90. That’s like $1 per day for a competitive advantage.
I don’t recommend Oberlo dropshipping, but if you insist, then you better be getting Oberlo BOSS.
Oberlo Pros and Cons
Oberlo as a dropshipping app is fine, but still has some serious drawbacks compared to competitors.
- Great Free Plan: A free Oberlo account is enough to start selling products on the Shopify ecommerce platform. With the Oberlo Starter plan, new drop shippers can get their feet wet selling products until they’re comfortable to pay for a better service.
- Automates Tedious Tasks: Shopify stores are one headache after another. Instead of growing your online business, most of your time is spent running your drop shipping business. Oberlo does a great job of freeing up your time to spend on more valuable things.
- Solid Education: If you’re new to online business or even have an existing Shopify store, the Oberlo eCommerce platform comes with a ton of great educational material to get you up and running.
- Low-Quality Suppliers: Oberlo suppliers are generally low to average quality at best. And the best ones attract drop shippers like protein cookie dough protein bites attract me on Saturday nights. Oberlo verified suppliers are better, but there aren’t enough. Oberlo puts little to no effort into verifying its suppliers.
- Cheap Products: Oberlo’s marketplace is a notch below Spocket and other competitors. Products from AliExpress are hit or miss. And the Oberlo marketplace is hyper competitive for the few quality products from AliExpress that actually exist. Isn’t online selling fun?
- No Branding: Other competitors allow you to send personalized invoices with notes so the customer thinks you actually sent it. Sometimes, this is the only thing separating you from the Zombie hoard of competitors out there.
- Wonky at Times: I’m not a fan of the Oberlo dashboard. And the app is a bit wonky at times. Oberlo reviews on the Shopify app store constantly complain about the app not working properly.
- Slow Support: You think Shopify support is bad? Wait until you have thousands of free Chrome Extension users overloading your support team all day every day.
Verdict: Should You Use Oberlo for Dropshipping in 2023?
Is Oberlo dropshipping worth it in 2023?
It’ll get you from A to B, but there are just too many dings on its record.
Imagine if I offered you a used Honda Civic with a busted transmission or a brand new BMW for $20 more. Why would you ever take the used car? It’s exactly the same idea with Oberlo and Spocket. Sure, you pay a bit more, but you get so much more value.
Dropshipping is way too competitive these days. AliExpress dropshipping with Oberlo is like shooting yourself in the foot before the race even begins.
Why Oberlo Is a Competitive Disadvantage
How can you compete against:
- Faster Delivery: While your customers wait 3 weeks or more, Spocket customers will have their orders in as little as 48 hours. Which one would you choose?
- Better Suppliers: Regular Oberlo suppliers won’t cut it if you want to be a competitive eCommerce store. Spocket rigorously vets suppliers and even tests their products, so you get better service, better products, and fewer returns (plus happier customers).
- Personalized Branding: While your competitors are sending branded paperwork with personalized notes, you’ll be sending bland packaging. Hard to build brand awareness with that.
If you’re serious about starting a successful dropshipping business, get a leg up on the competition instead of shooting yourself in the leg.
You have two choices now.
Get Spocket and benefit from faster delivery, better suppliers, better products, and personalized branding.
Or, get Oberlo, leave customers waiting a month, sell crappy products, and deal with constant customer complaints.
I really see no reason to choose Oberlo in 2023. Especially when Spocket offers a 14-day free trial. You have nothing to lose.
Again, if you want to dig deeper. give this a read: Spocket Review – 5 Reasons I Switched from Oberlo
Oberlo Review F.A.Q
Q: Is Oberlo Actually Good?
A: Yes, Oberlo is actually good. It’s just not the best option out there for a drop shipping business. The problem is that products from AliExpress can take up to a month to arrive, putting you at a serious disadvantage in drop shipping these days. You’re better off with Spocket, which uses USA and EU suppliers instead of AliExpress suppliers.
Q: Is Oberlo Owned by Shopify?
A: Yes, Oberlo is owned by Shopify, which makes it even easier to connect Oberlo with the platform. Once you connect your Oberlo and Shopify accounts, managing your drop shipping store becomes so much easier. Oberlo is NOT included in your Shopify account fee.
Q: Does Oberlo Take a Fee?
A: No, Oberlo does not technically take a fee. All of its features including importing products, order fulfillment monitoring, and inventory management are available for free up to 500 products every billing cycle with their starter plan. After that, you pay $29.90. Keep in mind this is on top of the fee for your Shopify account.