Oberlo VS AliExpress Dropshipping – What’s the Difference?

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Are you wondering what the difference is between dropshipping using Oberlo vs AliExpress dropshipping? You can dropship AliExpress products using Oberlo but were you aware that Oberlo also has their own suppliers? I’ll explain the differences below.

One thing to make note of about using Oberlo is that it works exclusively on the Shopify platform. It is a Shopify app so you cannot use it on WordPress or WooCommerce. That being said, let’s jump into it.

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The Difference Between Oberlo Suppliers and AliExpress Suppliers

The Oberlo app has three types of dropshipping suppliers to include Oberlo suppliers, Oberlo verified suppliers and AliExpress.

Here is a table of the differences between each:

oberlo suppliers

As you can see, Oberlo suppliers have been personally checked by Oberlo to ensure that you are dealing with legitimate dropshipping suppliers.

The main difference for the verified suppliers is that these suppliers have been verified to have:

  • Processed over 1,000 orders
  • 95% of orders shipped and delivered on time
  • Dispute rates lower than 10%

The only difference between Oberlo suppliers and AliExpress is that Oberlo does not verify or control any of AliExpress’ services.

It is great to have options and many dropshippers do use AliExpress as their supplier for many reasons. Some of which include:

  • 200,000 exporters
  • Over 100 million items
  • No entry or participation fees
  • No limits on your profit margins
  • No limits on the amount of products you sell
  • Works with individuals and registered companies
  • Free shipping on most items
  • Ships to over 200 countries worldwide
  • Online shipping tracking
  • Wide range of shipping methods
  • Buyer protection system with full money back guarantee

What About Shipping Times From AliExpress?

One of the biggest concerns for many new dropshippers are the shipping times from AliExpress. AliExpress merchants are located primarily in China.

Shipping times have not been a huge issue for many successful dropshippers. That is due to ePacket shipping which is a faster shipping method offered for a majority of products.

It reduces shipping time down to 12 – 20 days. In most cases, that is fine as you should make it clear throughout your store that items are shipping from warehouses in China.

Another reason why shipping time isn’t a huge issue is that most items that sell well are impulse buys. Meaning, customers are buying items that are not necessarily “important” in terms of necessity.

So long as you make it clear about shipping times, where the items are shipping from, and provide tracking information, most customers should not make a fuss.

AliDropship has written an excellent article which details why AliExpress shipping times are not an issue.

What is the Best Way to Dropship Using AliExpress?

You can definitely dropship AliExpress products using Oberlo and Shopify. The Shopify platform is really easy to use and so is using the Oberlo app.

However, there are two things that you may want to consider before using Shopify and Oberlo. The first thing to strongly consider is retaining your store’s ownership.

Shopify is a software as a service company. That means you must build your store using their software which is hosted on their servers.

You cannot download your store and move it elsewhere. It essentially belongs to Shopify and you are paying a monthly fee to lease their software.

It states in their terms of service that they have the right to close your account at any time and for any reason:

terms of service

The second thing to consider is the monthly store expenses that you have to pay using Shopify and Oberlo.

Both Shopify and Oberlo have monthly fees. It isn’t a huge deal as you often have to pay monthly fees for many types of software.

Shopify’s basic fee is $29 per month and Oberlo’s basic fee is $29.90 per month. Therefore you are paying $60 per month to run your dropshipping store.

Other fees you would need to consider are the additional Shopify apps you may want or need to manage your store.

Here is a screen capture of a Shopify dropshipping store which was for sale:

store expenses

If you notice the red arrow that is pointing to $120.00 per month in additional Shopify apps and subscriptions.

This particular store was profitable so chances are the apps installed played a role with increasing conversions.

Everyone runs their stores differently. It is important to keep in mind the other possible expenses that come with using software as a service based companies.

Another AliExpress Dropshipping Option with Zero Monthly Software Fees

Thankfully there is another awesome alternative to dropshipping with Oberlo. It is called AliDropship.

AliDropship is a WordPress dropshipping plugin that turns your website into an AliExpress dropshipping business.

Why is this alternative so awesome? Well, for one thing it addresses the issues that I mentioned above about store ownership and expenses.

It works on WordPress which is website software that is free to download and install. 31% of the web uses WordPress to run their websites.

I use WordPress for every website that I create. You don’t need any technical knowledge to get started. Most web hosting providers offer one-click WordPress installation.

Anyone can have their own WordPress website quickly and easily. Once you purchase the AliDropship plugin, it is yours free and clear.

You always retain 100% ownership of your dropshipping store from the start. That is a huge benefit and one that you rarely find with most dropshipping services on the market.

AliDropship Also Provides Custom Dropshipping Store Creation

If you prefer to have your dropshipping store built for you, the AliDropship team can do so. They provide you with a personal manager to guide you through the entire process.

Just like the plugin, it is a one-time fee and your store is yours. There are no ongoing monthly software fees. It is a great way to get started quickly with your own store.

Packages start at $299. Click here to learn more.

Some Tips About Using AliDropship

I opted to install the plugin and build my store myself. This is a popular option for anyone already familiar with using WordPress.

What you need to be aware of are the web hosting requirements for using the plugin. They include:

  • Open incoming connection Hosting 32bit (64bit recommended)
  • cURL libraries ver 7.58.0 recommended
  • PHP 5.6 or higher
  • ionCube activated on your hosting
  • File size upload limit: min. 10MB.

If the above requirements baffle you, don’t worry. Most web hosting providers have those requirements installed by default.

I’m no web hosting expert but I use and recommend Siteground web hosting.

I needed to make sure that ionCube was installed and would work with the plugin. I simply opened up chat support and the support tech had everything working within seconds.

Here is a screen capture of my support chat that day:

support chat window

Wrapping Up

The big difference between Oberlo vs AliExpress dropshipping are Oberlo’s own suppliers. You can easily dropship AliExpress products using Oberlo and Shopify.

Another awesome alternative is the AliDropship Plugin and AliDropship Custom Store service. No monthly software fees and no worry about another service having the power to close your account makes this alternative ideal for many.