Shopify DropShipping – Alternatives to Oberlo

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If you’ve been DropShipping on Shopify for any time at all, then you’ll know all about Oberlo. It has become synonymous with DropShipping from AliExpress suppliers on Shopify, and in many cases, it has been the first place that individuals that want to create their own businesses start sourcing products from, when they are launching their own business on Shopify.

Oberlo first launched on the Shopify App Store in 2015, and quickly became one of the most popular apps. With the potential for further success, it came as little surprise to many in the industry, when in 2017, Shopify acquired Oberlo for $15 million. Since then, Oberlo has grown, giving thousands of wannabe merchants to create their own businesses. 2020 saw the pandemic, as well as a major rebrand for Oberlo, and by 2021, there were more users than ever, with more than 12,000 stores worldwide using the app.

Why is Shopify shutting down Oberlo?

It is a question many people are asking – and the official line from Shopify is that the product no longer serves merchants with the most optimal solution. They emphasise that the product deprecation is a routine occurrence.

However – like all major changes, there is speculation about Shopify’s decision to close Oberlo. Shopify has taken steps to invest in other areas of their business, such as with the Shopify Fulfillment Network. Just this month, it was announced that Shopify would acquire Deliverr for $2.1 billion – the largest acquisition in Shopify’s history. With this investment, it seems a logical conclusion that Shopify has a strategy in mind to do more fulfilment for their users, rather than forcing merchants to source from external sources, as they did with Oberlo and AliExpress.

When will I have to stop using Oberlo?

As with all software sunsets, there is a timeline that allows users to find alternatives. The key dates to know are:

May 12th – Oberlo is discontinued and removed from the Shopify App Store. When you visit Oberlo.com, all links to join redirect to Shopify.

June 15th – Oberlo will shut down completely. If you’re already an Oberlo user, you’ll be able to use the app up until June 15th. After that, when you log into your Shopify account, the Oberlo app will no longer appear, and all data will be gone.

While this is an inconvenience for Oberlo users, and a relatively quick timescale, there are alternatives to Oberlo already available – so let’s take a look at those next.

What happens to unused Oberlo subscription I’ve paid for?

Shopify advises to cancel it immediately, by downgrading to the free Explorer plan. After that, you can receive a refund or Shopify app credits, depending on where you’re billed. If you are billed directly within Oberlo, you’ll be refunded to your card, while if you’re billed through Shopify, you’ll get credits for the Shopify App Store.

If you don’t manage to get there before June 15th, your subscription will be cancelled on that day, with refunds or Shopify app credits for unused subscription days issued accordingly.

If you need to request invoices after Oberlo shuts down, you can still get your invoices for accounting purposes. Users that are billed from Shopify should see invoices in Shopify Admin, under Settings and Billing. If you’re billed by Oberlo, you’ll need to email [email protected] and request for Oberlo invoices.

How can I keep the information in my Oberlo account?

As with all things in business, you need to keep accurate records – and whether you need them for your accountant, for a tax audit, or in case of a customer contacting you about an order, you definitely need to hang onto the information in your Oberlo account.

After Oberlo closes down, you won’t be able to access anything. Shopify recommend migrating historical data such as orders, settings, products, and import list data from Oberlo to the DSers app. However, if the DSers app doesn’t suit your needs, then you can use another DropShipping app to migrate your Oberlo data manually to.

What can I use to do AliExpress DropShipping on Shopify instead of Oberlo?

Shopify are recommending that current Oberlo users should use DSers. They have chosen DSers due to the existing partnership the app has with AliExpress, and the fact that they already have a strong integration with AliExpress. This means that the migration from Oberlo to DSers should be relatively straightforward.

If you’re looking for another option for DropShipping on Shopify, there are alternatives. Shopify points to eight other apps that can be used as alternatives to Oberlo:

Importify

Spocket

Modalyst

Syncee

JD Sourcing

Dropified

Zendrop

Ali Orders

We can’t recommend any of these apps over the other, since it might be that one suits your business better than another. However, on the Shopify App Store, you’ll be able to see the current reviews that the apps have, and the rating score that each has been awarded by users.

Is DropShipping from AliExpress the best for my business?

DropShipping from AliExpress is pretty popular, and if you’re brand new to DropShipping, it can be an easy way to test the water. We talked about the advantages of DropShipping using AliExpress in this post, but some of the main reasons to source from AliExpress DropShippers include:

  • It is free to start sourcing directly from AliExpress suppliers (there is a fee for some platforms, as with Oberlo)
  • There are millions of products available from AliExpress suppliers
  • You have control over your product margins
  • Trending products are made available quickly

But for established retailers, DropShipping from AliExpress comes with issues, and potential risks that make it undesirable for supporting their business. Consider:

  • Many AliExpress merchants are already reselling to you, so thin margins become even thinner
  • The majority of AliExpress merchants are based in China, so delivery times can be pretty long
  • Long delivery times can lead to cancelled orders, refund requests, and complaints from your customers
  • Product bundle options are limited
  • Communication can be an issue, even when merchants speak English – and may not respond to requests for refunds, leaving you to absorb the cost within your business

Since Oberlo is being closed, now is the time to consider if AliExpress DropShipping is indeed the right DropShipping solution for your business. Since every business is different, we can’t give you the definitive answer, but if AliExpress isn’t best for you, then finding alternative DropShipping suppliers will be high on your list of priorities.

Further to these considerations, if you’re DropShipping on other sales channels as well as Shopify, then using just one app to source products might not be the right option for your business – especially if the app is Shopify-only.

How can I do DropShipping on Shopify without AliExpress?

If DropShipping from AliExpress isn’t right for your business, then you’ll be looking for alternative DropShipping suppliers – and many businesses are right now. When the success of your business depends upon your DropShipping suppliers providing an outstanding service, you need a service you can depend on.

For many businesses, Shopify isn’t the only sales channel that they are selling on – and that means finding a way to DropShip from multiple suppliers, with integrations to make DropShipping processes either completely automated, or at least, much easier. That’s where DropShipping marketplaces come in.

Avasam is an example of a DropShipping marketplace, with a plethora of features that can support the DropShipping activity in your business – whether you hold your own stock as well or not. Features that Avasam users love include:

  • Product sourcing from leading UK DropShipping suppliers that we verify
  • Thousands of products to source
  • Easy to use catalogue with categories and preset filters
  • Variation listings
  • High quality, validated product data
  • Channel integrations for Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, OnBuy, eBay, Amazon, Wish, and Linnworks
  • Automated order processing, payments, and shipping
  • Interactive and automated returns and refund process
  • Tools including bulk sourcing, product listing tools, listing manager and pricing rules

If you’re looking for an alternative to Oberlo for DropShipping on Shopify, and for DropShipping on other sales channels, then Avasam is the DropShipping solution you’re looking for.

The Takeaway

The news that Oberlo is being shut down permanently has thrown many users into panic, and while it is a cause for concern, taking action to secure your business quickly will mean that you can continue to sell successfully. However, it is an ideal time to think about whether DropShipping from AliExpress suppliers is right for your business, or if local DropShipping suppliers might be a better option.

If alternative DropShipping suppliers could a be better prospect for your business, then you should certainly be considering DropShipping with Avasam. We might be biased, but with UK-based verified suppliers, thousands of products to choose from as well as automation for DropShipping processes including an automated returns and refunds process, it certainly makes sense to give it a try. And since our free account allows you to explore the platform, to browse the product catalogue, and to log support tickets, it’ll cost you nothing to get a feel for whether Avasam is the right Oberlo alternative for your business.


Dawn Matthews
Dawn has worked in technical and customer supporting roles for over 20 years. Most of her career was spent in technical services at top rated UK universities, which has given her a keen eye for detail. A lucky escape led her to the field of eCommerce in 2017, and she’s never looked back. Dawn studied in the field of social sciences with the Open University, achieving an MSc in Forensic Psychology at the same time as working two jobs. She regularly applies principles of psychology from her studies to her work, and outside of her role at Avasam she is busy writing her second book. Follow Dawn on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/dawn-matthews

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