Oberlo & Shopify – The Best Combination for Your Dropshipping eCommerce Store
Dropshipping is big business in 2020, and many entrepreneurs are making huge fortunes using this relatively low risk, low investment selling strategy.
So What Exactly is Drop Shipping?
In a nutshell, drop shipping describes a business model where an entrepreneur builds an online store and sells products – but they don’t store or post the items themselves. Rather than piling all of the stock into a spare room or garage then packing and posting it themselves, they purchase the stock and store it at the warehouse of a “dropshipper”, who for a small fee will then post the products on their behalf.
These days, when most people talk about dropshipping, they’re actually describing an even simpler process…
Entrepreneurs will browse massive eCommerce wholesale sites like AliExpress in China, find a product, and then use their own website to sell the cheap products listed there for a marked-up price in their home country.
The benefits of the dropshipping model are obvious.
The shop owner doesn’t need to fork out huge sums of money for 1,000s of units of stock. This enables them to test the water with different types of products and marketing strategies completely risk free. They also don’t need to manage the storage of stock, or packaging and postage fulfilment themselves – so their time is immediately freed to do other things.
I Want to Try This! How Do I Build an Online Store?
The good news is that these days, you need very little experience to create a great looking online store.
One of the best ways to get started is to use a platform like Shopify.
Shopify provides everything you need to get an online store up and running, with beautiful templates, easy product listings and a seamless ordering and payment processing system.
Shopify will take care of the entire infrastructure of your online store for a starting price of just $29 per month. That’s an absolute bargain when you consider how many complex processes the platform is handling for you.
Shopify also has a market-leading customer experience and payments processing journey built-in. You really are getting the best service you could possibly put in front of your potential customers.
OK, But How Do I Use Shopify for a Dropshipping Business?
In order to use Shopify to sell dropshipped products, you’re going to need another app to handle the process. Enter Oberlo…
What is Oberlo?
Oberlo is an add-on app (plugin) for Shopify stores. It allows you to set up a new store and then fill it with products from dropshippers almost immediately. After that, Oberlo automates the fulfilment of any orders placed on your store.
Here are the five key things Oberlo does:
- Oberlo links your Shopify website to AliExpress, the massive Chinese wholesale marketplace. This enables you to import products directly from the site and into your store
- Oberlo manages your products, and allows you to customise their images, descriptions, prices and fulfilment options.
- Oberlo is able to calculate and update price variations automatically for you, whenever the wholesale price changes. It’s also able to watch stock levels and then “hide” items from the store if supplies run out.
- When a customer orders from your site, unbeknownst to them, Oberlo has simultaneously ordered the item from the wholesaler, who then ships directly to your customer.
- Because your store acts as “the brand”, you’re able to switch out suppliers and products whenever you like whilst still keeping the look and feel of your store the same.
Oberlo also features “Oberlo Supply” which is a curated list of products that are shipped quickly from the most reliable suppliers on AliExpress.
Getting Started with Oberlo
The basic version of Oberlo is completely free to use. It’s currently the most popular app on the Shopify marketplace and is actually owned by Shopify themselves, so the experience is guaranteed to be seamless.
Setting up Oberlo is extremely simple. You just need a working Shopify account and you can pair the two services up with a few clicks. Once you’re up and running, you can browse and import products from the whole of AliExpress, the largest and most popular source of dropshipped goods in the world.
There is talk of future Amazon and DHGate support too, which will obviously be a game changer if it happens.
Oberlo Supply is a curated list of over a million products that are available from the most reputable sellers on AliExpress.
This is a good option for fast shipping and great for beginners unwilling to take risks, but the selection only represents 5-10% of the products on the platform, so choice in certain niches can be limited.
Oberlo has plenty of other neat features besides the importing and fulfilling process. There’s a Chrome extension so that you can efficiently browse AliExpress and quickly add products on the fly.
It’s also easy to install Google Analytics to get a handle on how many customers are viewing your products.
On top of the Shopify subscription plan, there are three price levels for the Oberlo add-on:
Free Plan: Import 500 products, edit listings, use fixed or dynamic prices, manage your inventory and use all the fulfilment features available.
Basic Plan ($29.90 a month): All the same features as the free tier, but with a 10,000 product limit, realtime tracking, bulk orders and lots more monitoring options.
Pro Plan ($79.90 a month): Only really useful for very large stores. The same features as the Basic Plan, but with a 30,000 product listing limit and multiple staff accounts.
All Oberlo plans offer a 30 day free trial. With Shopify giving a 14 day free trial too, that means you could setup a fully functioning test shop to take the software for a test drive.
If you’re serious about creating a drop shipping business, then the Oberlo and Shopify combination is a hassle free and seamless way of getting your first store up and running. It also saves literally hundreds of hours of time compared to building your own solution using a collection of non-compatible apps and platforms.
Obviously Oberlo does come with a few caveats. The app currently only works with AliExpress, although the platform is so massive that this shouldn’t pose too much of an issue. If Oberlo adds Amazon and DHGate integration in the future, Oberlo will offer an absolutely unrivalled service.
Overall, Oberlo is a no-brainer for anyone looking to establish an online drop shipping business. Definitely recommended!