Oberlo vs. AliExpress
AliExpress is an online marketplace that supports a huge range of third party sellers. You can use it to find millions of products to purchase or start dropshipping. Oberlo is a tool that can be used with AliExpress to easily import products to dropship through your online store, saving you significant time. It could be said that these two platforms work in complement with one another.
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So, you've come here wanting to find out about how Oberlo and AliExpress can help you run a dropshipping business, and most importantly, which one is better.
Oberlo has actually been developed to make it easier to dropship using AliExpress, so you could say that it complements rather than competes with it!
In this article we will look at how you can use each to start dropshipping, and consider whether Oberlo has set a gold standard for dropshipping tools.
But first, if you need to brush up on what dropshipping is, then we’ve written a handy guide for you.
Tip: At the beginning of your dropshipping journey? We’ve come up with a list of low-cost, high-profit margin items to get you started!
Oberlo is a tool which has been designed to save dropshippers time by allowing them to easily import AliExpress products into their Shopify store and manage dropshipping orders as they come through.
This Canadian-born product was launched in 2015 and shortly after was purchased by the eCommerce giant, Shopify. It is available on the Shopify App Store to integrate with your online store, but note that it will only integrate with Shopify stores.
Using the tool, you can browse an extensive range of items which can be imported into your store in mere clicks, ready to start selling, rather than having to manually upload products and their information yourself. Although, you’ll likely want to edit some product details to put your own spin on it to make products appear unique to your business!
The products that are listed on Oberlo are from AliExpress, and you can usually choose between multiple suppliers for each product. However, none of these products are vetted so we recommend you be cautious about which ones you select and always get samples before you start selling them to your own customers. This may be the largest disadvantage of using Oberlo over other dropshipping tools that do vet their products first.
Heads up: You will need a Shopify store, Oberlo account and an AliExpress account to use the Oberlo tool.
Oberlo offers a free membership with limited features. Their free plan allows you to import up to 500 products into your store with unlimited monthly orders, however it lacks features such as the ability to handle bulk orders, shipment tracking and affiliate program support, all of which are offered on its Boss plan ($29.90 per month).
While the Oberlo tool is robust, it may be more suitable for experienced sellers who are confident in selecting products that haven’t been pre-vetted first.
Most suppliers on AliExpress are open to dropshipping arrangements, even if you aren’t using a tool like Oberlo.
AliExpress also doesn’t vet any of the products listed on their site, so there’s definitely a mixed bag on there. We recommend a few things when selecting AliExpress suppliers to work with:
- Look at the ‘detailed seller ratings’ panel for each supplier. See the screenshot below for where to find this.
- Read customer reviews and identify the number of orders that have been placed for each product you’re considering (displayed by each listing). If a product has a high number of positive reviews you can feel more confident about the quality of the product and that it will look like the pictures and do what it says it does.
- Read the return policies and customer protection policies of each seller carefully.
- Order product samples before you start selling to check the quality.
You could be waiting a month or two to get started selling, if you’re being thorough and waiting for samples to arrive first.
In order to bypass all that, we recommend looking at dropshipping tools which pre-vet their products and suppliers so you can start selling straight away with confidence. SaleHoo Dropship has millions of vetted products for you to browse and upload to your online store in just a few clicks.
That’s another thing using a tool like Oberlo or SaleHoo Dropship will save you doing: manual product uploads. If you are going to dropship AliExpress products without using a third party tool, then you will need to list them on your chosen selling platform manually and one at a time. If you have more than a few products you want to sell then make sure you set aside enough time to do so, because it takes a while!
After, each time a customer places an order with you, you will need to go onto AliExpress and purchase that item yourself, but ship it to your customer’s address, much like you would with a gift.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of Oberlo and AliExpress, to sum up.
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Tip: Want to find out more about dropshipping? Check out our guide on how to get started on AliExpress.
Using a dropshipping tool can certainly make your life easier as a business owner, and the good news is that Oberlo’s not the only one out there.
While Oberlo can easily be used with Shopify and AliExpress, a key disadvantage of it is that they don’t vet any products, which means it can be hard to determine which ones will be of decent quality to sell without ordering samples first, which can be a lengthy process.
Take a look at the box below to explore some of the other tools that can be used with AliExpress.
Is there something this article didn’t cover? Reach out to our team via our 24/7 live customer support chat with any questions about Oberlo, AliExpress or SaleHoo.
Most of all, good luck out there, we are here whenever you need us!