Shopify vs. Oberlo

So you want to know the difference between Shopify and Oberlo? Shopify actually owns Oberlo, but they have distinct functions. While Shopify can be used to make a captivating, high converting online store with heaps of third party app plugins, Oberlo is a tool for online sellers who are using Shopify for dropshipping.

  Shopify Oberlo
Online Store Builder    
Dropshipping Tool    
Product Importer    
Third Party Apps    
Paid Plans    
Free Plan    


If you’re looking to start your own business then both Shopify and Oberlo can surely help you out.

Both popular platforms in their own right, you can use Shopify to build your online store and Oberlo to help you run it.

In this article we answer some of your key questions, like what are Shopify and Oberlo good for? Who should use them? And most importantly, what features do they have?

By the end of this article you should have a good idea of what each can help you with.

As to whether Shopify or Oberlo is better? It’s an unfair comparison because Shopify bought Oberlo to complement what it already offers, with the ultimate goal of making your job as an online seller easier.

Let’s get into it!


Hint: We mention dropshipping a lot in this article. In case you haven’t come across the term yet, dropshipping is a popular selling method where business owners list products to sell online and when an order is placed by a customer, the supplier of that product fulfills that order directly on behalf of your business, meaning you never have to have inventory on hand. Interested in finding out more? We’ve come up with a guide to get you started dropshipping in just five steps

General Overview

Shopify to eCommerce is what WordPress is to blogging. It’s taking its industry by storm and proudly boasts over 1,700,000 stores built on its platform (and counting!).

That’s why in 2017 Shopify acquired Oberlo, a Lithuanian based startup focused on making dropshipping more accessible, to continue on its path of eCommerce dominance. With Oberlo on the team, Shopify continues to encourage all wannabe business owners to get started today.

With Shopify to build your store, and Oberlo to find and easily import items to be dropshipped on that store, the duo makes a formidable pair.

We’ve provided a more in-depth comparison of what each does in the following table.

General Overview Shopify Oberlo
Online Store Builder    
Dropshipping Tool    
Product Importer    
Third Party Apps    
Paid Plans    
Free Plan    
24/7 Customer Service    

Tip: Ready to start a business but stuck on what products to sell? We’ve come up with a list of low-cost, high-profit margin products to get you started.


What is Shopify for?

Shopify is a powerful platform for online sellers to design and build their highly-converting stores. No coding is required!

The Canadian-based company is highly regarded for its trustworthiness as an eCommerce platform, with advanced functionality and security features.

Recent data published by Oberlo, suggests that Shopify is currently the eCommerce platform with the largest market share (32%), closely followed by WordPress’ WooCommerce checkout (22%). This validates Shopify as the preference for online business owners.

Shopify operates on a membership basis, where you can pay an annual membership fee (cheaper) or pay month by month for your online store and checkout.


Tip: Interested in selling online? We’ve come up with a guide to give you some bestselling product ideas and useful market research tools.

Key features of Shopify

  • Store templates: Access beautifully designed, high-converting store templates to help you design your online store.
  • Unlimited products and bandwidth: You can list as many products as you like and you store can handle limitless traffic loads.
  • SSL Certificates: This creates a safe connection between a server and browser to ensure yours and your customers’ information is secure.
  • Checkout only membership: The Shopify Lite membership is for customers who wish to add a buy now button and checkout functionality to an existing website.
  • Third-party apps: One of Shopify’s most attractive features is your ability to integrate your online store with hundreds of third party apps. These apps come in all categories from automation, email marketing, analytics and more. Oberlo is actually one of these apps which has been designed to work in combination with Shopify.
  • Great customer support: 24/7 chat support in a range of different languages is available to all customers.
Screenshots of Shopify Store Builder

Dropshipping on Shopify

Shopify acquired Oberlo to help you out on the dropshipping front. There are also lots of other dropshipping tools out there which have been developed to work in combination with Shopify. If you’d like to skip to the part about what Oberlo does, then go ahead.

Who should use Shopify?

Shopify can be used by a diverse range of business owners, from small eCommerce startups to established enterprises. This is because Shopify offers powerful functionality that is suited to businesses of all sizes.

If you want a platform that is reliable, secure, is easy to set up and use, and offers captivating store templates, then you can confidently choose Shopify.


What is Oberlo for?

Oberlo is an app which can be used in combination with your Shopify store for dropshipping.

With Oberlo you can browse millions of products sourced from AliExpress, a globally leading consumer goods supplier, which can be easily imported into your Shopify store to be dropshipped.

Instead of having to source products and list them on your store manually, which can be a time consuming process, you can use Oberlo to get started selling in a number of hours (if you can find the right products, of course).

Oberlo also operates on a membership basis. You can join up on the free ‘Explorer’ plan which allows you to check out the products Oberlo has on offer and learn how to use the platform, but the real value is in the $29.90 a month ‘Boss’ plan.

On the Boss plan, you can import up to 30,000 items into your online store, handle bulk orders and have multiple staff accounts, to name but a few additional features.

Please note that this monthly membership fee will be additional to the cost of your Shopify subscription.

One of the downsides of Oberlo is that they don’t vet their products or suppliers, so quality may vary. We recommend ordering samples to check that you’re happy with them before importing products to your store. This can be a lengthy process, but an important one to ensure that your customers aren’t going to be receiving shonky products.

Key Features of Oberlo

  • Browse products: Oberlo lists millions of products sourced from AliExpress to be dropshipped through your Shopify store.
  • Easy import: Import your chosen products into your Shopify store in a matter of clicks.
  • Product information upload: Product information is automatically uploaded when you import into Shopify. From here you can edit this information as you choose and add your own images.
  • Manage orders and inventory: You can manage your orders through the Oberlo dashboard, and check inventory levels in real time.
  • No vetting: Oberlo doesn’t vet their products or suppliers so we suggest ordering samples to check for quality and the reliability of the seller before importing to your store.
  • Customer service wait times: Oberlo says you can expect a response within a few hours on live chat, which may not be useful for time sensitive issues.

Tip: SaleHoo Dropship pre-vets millions of products and suppliers, so you can skip the need for samples and get right into the good part - actually selling! Find out more about how SaleHoo can be used in combination with Shopify.

Screenshots of Oberlo

Who should use Oberlo?

Oberlo can be useful for online business owners who would like to dropship via Shopify.

While it generally has good features, one of its key disadvantages is that it doesn’t test its products and suppliers for quality and reliability.

Being owned by Shopify, Oberlo can seem like the logical option to go with, but keep in mind there are lots of other options out there which you may want to look into.

How Much Does it Cost to Use Shopify & Oberlo?

Monthly Cost Monthly price ($USD) Oberlo Boss Plan Total
Shopify Basic $29 $29.90 $72.90
Shopify $79 $29.90 $108.90
Advanced Shopify $299 $29.90 $328.90

Top Alternatives

There are many alternatives for both Shopify and Oberlo out there.

As with most decisions, there are tradeoffs involved. Shopify is generally accepted as having powerful functionality and ease of use, but it is one of the more expensive options.

Similarly, Oberlo is one of the more well-known dropshipping tools, but offers less features than some of the other ones. There are cheaper tools available too.

You may wish to have a look around before making any decisions.

Q&A Discussion

Something we haven’t covered? We welcome you to reach out to our 24/7 support team live chat to answer any questions you may have about Shopify, Oberlo, SaleHoo Dropship or eCommerce in general.

Made your decision yet?

Sign up for SaleHoo and start selling smarter today!

Yes, Sign me up!