Doba is a sourcing directory and online store integration, specializing in dropshipping. But if you’ve come here, we imagine your main question is, does it live up to the hype? We decided to find out and keep you from risking the time and money involved in discovering for yourself. Most importantly, we looked at what customers are saying about Doba. Here's what we found…
What is Doba?
Doba acts as a middleman, connecting dropshipping suppliers with aspiring retailers (that’s you). It also provides you with the technology to list and sell items on a range of eCommerce platforms.
When you want to sell goods online, but you don’t want a household - or a warehouse - full of packages that need to be shipped out, dropshipping may be a great solution for you. However, with dropshipping, a major difficulty is trying to find trustworthy dropshippers with profitable goods to sell.
This is where sites like Doba come in. Doba claims to have an impressive selection of products to choose from, all of which you can import into your online store. Of course, there are many other features to consider to understand whether Doba is right for you.
In this review, you’ll find:
- A brief walkthrough of how to use Doba
- The pros and cons of Doba
- A collection of customer reviews and opinions about Doba, gathered from online communities and forums
- An outline of whom Doba is best suited to
- Advice for what to do if you don’t decide to go with Doba
How does it work?
Find products, build inventories, and add product information to your selling platform.
On Doba, you’ll most likely start by finding products and suppliers. You’ll then be able to build your own inventory lists, export product data, keep track of the orders you’ve received and add more products to sell when you’re ready.
1. Finding products and suppliers
There are 3 different ways to browse potential products and suppliers on the new Doba site:
On the dashboard of the ’search products’ tab, hot products and top selections are displayed to give you some inspiration. There’s also the option to view new arrivals, or products which offer free shipping, among other categories.
You can view a list of suppliers in the ‘find suppliers’ tab and order the supplier list based on available item count, fulfillment rate, average order processing time and more. You can click into each supplier to learn more about them.
And, probably the most useful option, you can view Doba’s product catalog in the ‘search products’ tab and by selecting which category of products you are interested in.
The left-hand sidebar allows you to type in the search term directly, or filter products by category, supplier, supplier location, shipping times, price range and/or minimum order quantity.
You can then prioritize what comes first in the results from the dropdown box next to “sort by.” This gives you a lot of options to further customize your search and find what you’re looking for with ease.
2. Keeping an inventory
Something else Doba allows you to do is build your own inventory list of products that are of interest to you. Think of your inventory list as similar to a ‘wishlist.’ It’s easy to add products to the list by selecting the ‘add to inventory’ button under relevant products.
This provides a useful way to store, revisit and manage products you might be interested in dropshipping.
I’ve created an example inventory list for you to see, with a small selection of [phone products]:
You can then upload the inventories to your online store later on.
3. Exporting product data
Doba allows you to export product information from your inventory list into a zip file so you can access it offline, or add it to a spreadsheet. It’s easy to do this by selecting each product you want to download individually. Otherwise, you can check ‘select all’ and then download a zip file containing information about all the products in your inventory list. The download button is easy to locate to the far right of each product on your list, or when you multi-select products you can find the ‘download all’ button at the top of the list.
If you export the data to a spreadsheet, you can compare information in the columns easily, which may be useful if you are deciding which product to go with out of a range of similar ones provided by different suppliers.
There are also a lot of third-party formats you can export your product data to, so that you can easily upload product information to sites such as Amazon or Shopify to expand your business opportunities.
4. Keeping track of orders
There’s also an area for keeping track of the details of your orders, including the order status, dates, suppliers, buyers, locations and amounts.
Pros and cons
Doba is easy to use, and has useful features, but it’s not the lowest-cost option and there are other tools that offer more features for a better price. Further, there are a number of unhappy reviews found online.
We’ve broken down the main pros and cons here:
1. The platform is easy to navigate
Doba has worked to make it’s new platform user-friendly. There are a variety of methods for discovering products and filtering search results. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for general suppliers or specific products, you can filter the searches to suit your requirements.
2. It’s easy to customize your own inventories for quick reference
When you go away and come back, you haven’t lost your organized lists of products. They’re easy to review at a glance, or export for further use.
3. With the option to export product data into various file formats, it’s easy to upload product information quickly onto marketplaces such as Amazon, or your own online store.
Taking product details and manually adding them to your listings can be time-consuming. That’s why this integration is so useful, bridging the gap and making the product listing process faster for you.
With all this being said, these features and more are typically found in the offerings of other dropshipping platforms, usually at lower membership fees.
1. Membership isn’t cheap
At the time of this review, a Doba membership will cost you $24.99 per month with limited features, or $49.99 per month with full access, so it’s certainly one of the more expensive options out there. Another option is to select quarterly or annual plans, but these involve decent upfront investments.
Additionally, most products on Doba have an additional ‘dropshipping fee’ and shipping fees.
The site does not have a clear refund or money back policy if you are unhappy with the performance of the platform.
2. Lengthy returns process
There are unclear returns processes outlined on Doba’s site and many suppliers who do accept returns appear to charge a restocking fee that can be up to 20% of the price.
3. The general online opinion of Doba isn’t favorable
In order to gather the most accurate data about Doba, we went straight to the source to discover what customers are saying about it.
We found that feedback was generally negative.
So what exactly are these customers saying? The findings are covered for you in the next section.
What are people saying about Doba?
We had a look at some of the major review sites to see what customers think about Doba. The company has a 2.8 rating on Trustpilot and on the Better Business Bureau they have a 1.18 rating.
After reviewing the customer opinions found on various forums and online communities, we’ve extracted what we believe to be the general opinions held about Doba.
General opinion #1: Doba prices are too high, which makes it difficult to compete with prices on eBay or Amazon, or to make a profit.
A customer in their Trustpilot review said “Doba is a site with tons of suppliers, so it's the suppliers that are setting the prices for products. The suppliers’ prices are not much better than eBay or Amazon.”
Bernard says in his SiteJabber review, “You will never get out without regretting your money and time. All their items are on sale on eBay or Amazon. You will never sell even 1 item because you can't list it at a competitive price.
“90% of the "wholesale" prices on Doba are exactly the same or higher than the retailing prices on Amazon. The remaining 10% of the products are just slightly lower than the going prices on Amazon. If you consider Amazon's fees including the dropshipping fee on Doba, you'll notice you're losing a lot of money, fast,” Michael said in his Trustpilot review. “Find a real dropship wholesaler with real wholesaling prices.”
Brad said, “Their Wholesale prices are too high, not competitive,” in his SiteJabber review. “Don’t use Doba! SaleHoo might be better.”
Another example is a comment on the Warrior Forum: “I tried Doba last year and there was no margin for profit there.”
Finally, people on Doba's Facebook page have left similar comments:
General opinion #2: Customer service is lacking.
There were a variety of complaints about Doba’s customer service found on various forums.
Here’s an example, once again on Facebook, where Chantale is complaining on Doba’s company page that she’s had trouble:
People complain on Facebook; it’s unavoidable. Any business will face this occasionally. The concerning thing is that the comment has not been responded to by a Doba representative. That, paired with all the other comments we identified, pieces together a bigger picture.
Update: Further examples of this have since appeared in the comments below this post. For example, this comment from Sharon, “...their customer service is horrible. I was supposed to receive an orientation phone call as part of my account subscription and never did. Then they charged me for a full subscription 1 day before my supposedly 'free' trial was supposed to end. When I contacted them about the early charge, they refused to reverse it and the rep gave me a FAKE email address to get in touch with the management team.”
Alex, in his Trustpilot review said, “I’m extremely displeased with the assistance I couldn't receive from doba.com ! I have been trying to reach them for a week.”
Another disgruntled customer, Bertrand, said, “There is no customer service. Nobody returns your emails or calls,” in his SiteJabber review.
Jannette echoed this in her SiteJabber review, saying, “Have sent emails and live chat messages 15 times, no answer to either one. There is no support or contact phone number listed.”
This is quite disappointing to see, because customer service can be so vital to running a smooth online store and knowing that support is never far away if you run into any issues. You may like to check out what SaleHoo customers have been saying about them.
General opinion #3: Many have claimed that they’ve been charged during the free trial period, and that it’s extremely difficult to cancel.
Firstly, we have the “do not sign up for their free trial, they will charge your card without telling you before the trial is over” complaint from Jason, on his Trustpilot review.
This was supported by many other customers who have written below about being charged before the trial period was over.
In his SiteJabber review, Betrand said, “I signed up for the free trial for the $29 plan. The next day I could not log in. I tried to change my password over 10 times and did not get the email to reset the password. I emailed them over four times but no response from them. The following month, I get a bill from my credit card company for $69.99 which I did not sign up for.”
Tarziz said, “After the trial you cannot log back in your account to cancel the trials and stop them to reach your credit card” in his Trustpilot review.
Because Doba doesn’t offer any sort of money back guarantee, it may be difficult to recover billing charges that occur.
General opinion #4: People have commented on problems with listed inventory inaccuracy and order fulfillment
A customer on Trustpilot mentioned that, “A supplier updated their stock of a product at midnight to QTY of 112. I had placed orders for dropship of 60. By the morning at exactly 6am the product was gone with no avail QTY. I took a screenshot of this. So the supplier QTY is not truly real-time.”
“I paid for their service by the month, placed 15 orders after selling the products on eBay. These orders were never shipped and resulted in negative feedback from buyers due to their scam site,” Jannette said in her review. “I have lost 3785.26 out of my pocket for orders placed through DOBA that were never shipped.”
Doga said in their SiteJabber review, “I tried ordering this item for days, everytime it said "transaction failed" and cancelled but proceeded to withdraw funds from my bank account anyway! When I asked to get my 400.80$ back because my item was never shipped, they never replied to anything!”
We also found a full length independent review from a customer who has been using Doba for a year to give you an insider view on their experience.
So who is Doba for?
Doba is probably best for you if you’re someone who is experienced at dropshipping but time-poor.
If you don’t have a lot of confidence or experience with dropshipping, launching straight into using a company with a high membership fee and prices that can’t compete in major marketplaces is quite a risk.
In saying that, Doba’s strengths are in its usability and the ease of exporting product information. If you’re confident that you could make enough from these products to make a decent profit, then Doba might be a viable option for you to consider.
You may even feel like you still need a bit more information about dropshipping in general to clarify your needs.
What do I do now?
You have a couple of good options from here: You can decide to tackle Doba and try your luck at making a profit with the site, or you can look for an alternative dropshipping tool.
If you decide to go ahead and try Doba, then you’ll need to be diligent about hunting for products with a profit margin that will be worth your time. This is something that needs to be done with any site, but as some products can be found cheaper on Amazon and eBay than they can on Doba, you’ll have to be extra careful with your filtering.
Although the price is steeper than other tools, given the information we have provided you with, you may judge it to be worth it.
What to do if you don’t choose Doba
If you decide that Doba doesn’t sound like it’s for you, you can start doing your research to compare other dropshipping tools online.
We would certainly recommend reading their reviews to see what their actual customers are saying, as they can often paint a better picture than anyone else could. You can read SaleHoo reviews or any other dropshipping suppliers' reviews online to see what people are saying and you’ll surely be able to determine the best option for you.
Look out for alternatives that have a lower membership fee, for example, but that don’t skimp on customer service or profit margins.
When you invest your time, money, and online reputation in dropshipping, you’re putting a lot of your credibility and reputation into the hands of the dropshipper suppliers. The main issues revolve around receiving orders when suppliers have run out of stock, or the smaller profit margins compared to buying in bulk upfront. You can read more about the pros and cons of dropshipping here to get a bigger picture.
An alternative, if you’re the kind of person who would like more control over the overall process and the opportunity to sell at higher profit margins, is to look into wholesale selling by finding suppliers through a directory tool such as SaleHoo Directory. If you’re thinking about Doba vs SaleHoo, you can find a comprehensive breakdown here.
If you have any questions about Doba, SaleHoo or dropshipping in general, we welcome you to reach out to our expert eCommerce team at any time, 24/7.