If you want to delve into e-commerce, dropshipping is the best way to get started.
It practically requires zero investment cost to set up and the heavy lifting is mainly done by your partner company.
You only have to concern yourself with producing top-notch designs, place them on products of your choice, and start selling.
The dropshipping company handles the shipping and other logistics that may arise, so it is paramount that you get it right when choosing your own.
Image source: Oberlo
Oberlo isn’t like your conventional dropshipping platform. It is a Shopify app that lets you set up your ecommerce store very quickly.
If you are just getting started with dropshipping, you will come across a lot of resources that make it appear to be easy, but when you actually get into it, finding a supplier might prove more than you bargained for.
With Oberlo, you can integrate your store with several third-party ecommerce platforms like AliExpress, so you are connected to thousands of suppliers from all sorts of places.
The major purpose of Oberlo is to be able to import products quickly to your store and have them carry out packaging and shipping on your behalf.
While this service does have a lot of positives, it has its downsides as well. For starters, you might have a hard time with quality control, especially if you are going to get your products from different suppliers most of the time.
Another thing that you can’t control is the delivery time. You can hardly tell how long it will take for the products to be packaged and delivered to your customers.
If you can find your way around these hurdles, Dropshipping will turn out to be a profitable business for you, especially because of Oberlo.
Although the platform has been a solid Shopify extension from the outset, the developers have continued to improve on it, including collaborating with more suppliers from all parts of the world to make shipping easier and faster.
This also makes sense for sellers because being closer to your suppliers will mean that you can request for sample products quickly and test them out to see if they meet your specifications before putting them up for sale.
How Oberlo Works
A typical dropshipping cycle consists of three parties: the seller, the supplier, and the customer.
The suppliers play a very large role in the whole scheme. They provide the products that you place on your store and once you get an order, they handle the delivery to your customer.
Once a customer places an order, they pay money to your account which you will receive via your payment gateway such as PayPal.
Once you have confirmed their order, your job is to log in to your dashboard to order the product from your supplier.
Oberlo will handle the fulfillment aspect from there.
Oberlo has a range of features that make it easy for you to connect with different suppliers and manufacturers from all over the world.
The only things that you will have to be involved in are the designing and marketing process. Once you have chosen the product and placed your design on it, the platform will do the rest of the heavy lifting and that usually includes syncing the products with your store.
This saves you a ton of time and resources since you will not have to embark on journeys to find suitable suppliers, plus you do not have to worry yourself about packaging and shipping logistics.
There are some downsides to this though. For example, using Oberlo means that you no longer have complete control over your products, which isn’t that much of a deal if you play your cards right.
Oberlo does not require you to have loads of capital before you can get started. In most cases, once you already have an online store, all that is left is the will and you are good to go.
The features and integrations see to it that the entire process is as smooth and seamless as they come, so you can start getting sales as soon as possible.
Here’s a deeper look at its top features:
Oberlo Suppliers Importing Feature
Image source: Ecommerce platforms
AliExpress is one of the most popular platforms that dropshippers use to find manufacturers and suppliers regardless of where they are, and so I have always wondered while no dropshipping platform had thought about adding a feature that lets users import products directly from the platform, until Oberlo.
This feature lets you simply import goods from what is arguably one of the largest marketplaces in the world with as much as a button, and if you are familiar with AliExpress, you will appreciate the detail that comes with this feature.
You do not only import the products, but you also get the high-quality images, detailed description, and prices that come with it.
Another major win is the ease with which you can search for a product within AliExpress. This means that it will not take a lot of effort from you to find great products that will fit in perfectly in your store.
You can do a wide search by simply typing the keyword within the search bar and once you have located your ideal product, you will only have to click the import button, and the product is in your store in the blink of an eye.
Before now, Oberlo allowed its users to import products from only AliExpress. On one hand, it was advantageous because the platform had a ton of suppliers, which made it easy to find just about any product without having to look elsewhere.
On the other hand, because almost all of the suppliers are based in China, it meant that buyers had to wait a long time before their products got to them.
Now, Oberlo has increased the stake a notch by adding two new suppliers: Oberlo suppliers and Oberlo verified suppliers.
The former are suppliers that have been vetted by Oberlo and meet the standard requirements to supply sellers on the platform. These suppliers can usually be found anywhere in the world.
Oberlo verified suppliers are the top dogs. They are handpicked by Oberlo based on their performance and you can be assured that they are the best of the best.
Image source: Shopify
Over the years, page builders, especially WordPress, have grown to become popular alternatives for building web pages for a host of reasons, one being its clean dashboard that makes it easy for just about anybody to use.
It is the same with Oberlo.
The Oberlo’s dashboard is nice and simple, with its menu prominently listed out on the left side where users can find different functions to execute their tasks.
From the dashboard, you can search for a new product to put in your store, set a featured product to cue other similar products, or view all your products at once.
Also, it makes it easier to find detailed information about all of the products in your store at once. For example, you will have immediate access to your sales and earnings for each product.
If you want to add or remove any information from your product detail, you will have to go to your Shopify dashboard to do so.
Oberlo Automated Fulfilment
Image source: YouTube
The only reason more people are not doing ecommerce is because of logistics. Quite frankly, top ecommerce giants like Amazon do a lot behind the scenes to ensure that their buyers get what they want quickly and in good condition.
If you are just starting out, you cannot tow the line of Amazon, which is where Oberlo comes in.
Oberlo dropshipping service is exactly what dropshipping should be. Everything is automated.
First, your customer goes through your product library and orders a product. You will then receive the order notification. What is left for you to do is to find the product in your inventory and order it from the supplier.
From there, Oberlo will take care of every other thing down to delivery. While you would have done only a little thing, from your customer’s end, it will look as if you are operating a big ecommerce business.
Oberlo Auto Pricing & Inventory Updates
Image source: Oberlo
When you have started making sales, products are bound to sell out. If you had to operate your dropshipping store manually, you will have to monitor your inventory at all times so that your customers do not order a product that is no longer in stock.
This can be very tedious and even impossible in cases where you have products from different suppliers.
With Oberlo, this problem is completely solved. The system automatically updates your catalog when a product is no longer available, so your customers will never order a product that is out of stock.
The same goes for pricing. The software updates the prices of your product whenever there is a change in price from the supplier’s end. Oberlo notifies you of that change so that you can review your own prices accordingly.
Image source: Oberlo
One of the biggest things about Oberlo is its alliance with AliExpress and the fact that you have access to thousands, maybe even millions, of suppliers.
This means that you have a lot of alternatives, so if you are unsatisfied with the products from one supplier, you can easily jump ship until you find what you are looking for.
You can make your choice based on a couple of factors as well. For example, suppliers with the best ratings tend to be among the best choice. There’s also the price factor.
You may want to opt for the suppliers with the lowest prices, but you must be careful to vet them as some suppliers can put forward substandard products at significantly lower prices.
Image source: Oberlo
Oberlo has three pricing tiers, but before you start paying for any plan, you will be given a free 30-day trial period so that you can get a feel of what you want to sign up for.
Of course, you will be required to fill in your billing details at the start, but Oberlo will not charge your credit card until the trial period has elapsed. This means that you can choose to cancel your plan before the 30 days run out and you will not lose your orders.
One thing to note though is that, if your orders cross your plan limit, Oberlo will not handle the extra orders. Instead, you will have to process them manually, all by yourself.
Oberlo has the Starter, Basic, and Pro plans, which cost $0, $29.90 and $79.90 respectively.
The Starter plan is free forever and lets you add as much as 500 products to your store, with up to 50 orders every month.
The Basic plan gives you up to 10,000 slots for your products and fulfill as much as 500 orders per month.
More than that, it gives you access to some features that are absent in the free version, such as tracking and fulfillment monitoring.
The Pro plan contains all the features of the two previous plans, but it allows you to setup up to 30,000 products and there’s no limit to order fulfillment.
Image source: Printful
Printful is another platform that takes care of your printing, packaging, and delivery.
In fact, it is one of the most popular dropshipping platforms in the industry and if you have heard that Printful does not offer a large range of products, you may wonder why it still considered among the top platforms.
If you want to stock your store with a variety of products, including unique ones like yoga mats, then Printful is probably not the best choice for you.
However, with Printful, you will never run out of shirts and by that, I mean high-quality shirts that will turn your first-time buyers into loyal customers.
Printful has a long list of reasons why it ranks among the best in the industry, but for the purpose of this review, we will only talk about a couple of them, including its ease of use, pricing, and selection of products.
Image source: Printful
From personal experience and reviews I have seen online, Printful doesn’t seem to have a problem with the quality of their products, but you can’t tell how it will fare at your end based on the experiences of others.
The best way to know if Printful is giving you what you asked for is to upload your design on your chosen product and order it for yourself.
Ordering a sample product is never free, but Printful subsidies it for you. Firstly, they give you a 20% discount for that product and offer free shipping for some select locations.
There are Printful facilities in California and North Carolina, so samples ordered from within the United States and Canada from these facilities are delivered free.
The same goes for Europe. Samples ordered from the printing facilities in Europe are shipped for free to any European country.
You are entitled to only one sample order per month and for every sample that you order, you will have two products delivered to you.
If you don’t need to test out multiple products each month, then this arrangement will be ideal for you, but for companies that do, there are ways around it.
If you integrate your store with an ecommerce platform or generate up to $300 in sales in the previous month, then you will be eligible to receive more sample-like products.
Printful Is User-friendly
Image source: Printful
Not all marketers are programmers. In fact, you will hardly see a dropshipper that is a good programmer, which is why they are always looking for dropshipping platforms that have quick and easy to use printing centers.
Printful has a system that is not just easy to use from the design end, but it is also pretty simple to move the products to your own website.
With Printful, you can make your designs right from your Printful dashboard and place your designs on it.
To design a product in Printful, first choose your canvas print and select the size you’d like to sell, then upload your design on the canvas.
While doing this, Printful will guide you on what you need to change with your upload. For example, if you download a random image online, Printful will likely notify you that the size is too small and you will be required to upload a larger file that can be gotten from design tools like Photoshop and Lightroom.
Once the system accepts your upload, you can crop it and proceed with the remainder of the process.
Printful will provide mockups for potential customers to see how your design looks like in real life.
After that, all that is left is for you to place a custom order on the finished product or connect it to your store.
Image source: Printful
You can hardly find an app that does everything that you need for your business, so you will need third-party apps to handle payments, marketing, etc.
Many dropshipping platforms allow for third-party integration alright, but I have yet to see one that does this better than Printful.
Printful allows integration for virtually all the services you can think of, which means that you can work with platforms like WooCommerce, Amazon, Weebly, Etsy, and a host of others.
Image source: Printful
Printful does not work like other dropshipping platforms and neither does its price structure.
There’s no upfront cost with Printful, so you literally have to sign up for free, upload your designs, and place your products up for sale for free.
Printful will take their cut when you make a sale and the remainder is your profit.
Winner – Oberlo Vs Printful
Both Oberlo and Printful are ideal platforms to use for dropshipping, whether you are just starting out or want to jump ship.
However, I’d recommend Oberlo for just about anyone that’s into dropshipping. It takes very little time to set up and grants you access to a bank of suppliers.
Printful is perfect for dropshippers who want to try out custom printing and crave fast shipping and high-quality products.THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Efose says he is a polymath, which reflects in his work. He excels at inbound marketing, tech, and business. He has a rich experience of working with renowned digital marketing agencies in the past. Often writes for top blogs.