There are a growing number of dropshipping suppliers, and it’s difficult to know which are best. Many people wonder about Spocket vs Oberlo in particular, so let’s dig into them.
Oberlo is a company owned by Shopify that allows you to easily import products from AliExpress and sell them in your store. Oberlo has several plans that give you more features and increase the cap on the number of products you can sell. Here are the basics:
Starter: This free plan lets you sell up to 50 orders a month and import up to 500 products into your store.
Basic: For $29.90, you can sell up to 500 orders a month and import up to 10,000 products into your store. The Basic plan also includes an order fulfillment dashboard and some form of package tracking.
Pro: This $79.90 plan has no cap on the number of orders you can seal and you can import up to 30,000 products. In addition to all the features in the Basic plan and lets you have multiple accounts.
All plans include:
Syncing products and tracking numbers
Dispute management with the individual AliExpress vendors
A 1-click order fulfillment function (it’s not automatic)
Bulk order functionality
A Chrome web browser plugin which makes importing products easier
Since Oberlo is the app, and AliExpress is the product marketplace, I’ll refer to AliExpress when discussing vendors and products. AliExpress has thousands of vendors selling millions of things, which offer different levels of service, support, and shipping options. Oberlo has looked at them and created 3 tiers:
AliExpress - They sell on AliExpress
Oberlo Suppliers - Oberlo has checked the business, warehouse, documents, shipping operations, and support. You can have a higher level of trust with vendors that Oberlo has rated an “Oberlo Supplier”.
Oberlo Verified Supplier - Oberlo evaluated all of the Oberlo Suppliers and has rated vendors that have over 1,000 successful orders, at least 95% of orders are shipped and elivered on-time, and a dispute rate of lower than 2%. You can have the highest level of trust with these vendors.
Most AliExpress vendors mostly have warehouses in China and other nearby countries and can offer free, but slow shipping because of this. Cheap shipping from China to the US is becausae of a quick in worldwide postal agreements, and it’s unclear how much longer it will last. Fulfillment and shipping can take up to 30 days but because it’s relatively cheap, many customers are willing to make the trade off of free shipping for waiting a little longer. Vendors on AliExpress have started shipping from the US, so you can find products that will ship more quickly.
Since there are so many vendors, many of them sell the same, or just about the same, stuff. For example, a search on AliExpress for “spider lamp” gets 7 pages of results. Here’s an example.
Some of those are using the exact same photo! So, you can see that choosing products from AliExpress can be a bit overwhelming. You can refine your searches by looking only for Oberlo Verfied Vendors who offer ePacket shipping, for example. The search results return only 1 lamp when those search filters are used.
Spocket offers vendors that are located in the US and Europe.
Their pricing plans are:
Basic - This free plan caps you at 25 products and you can have unlimited orders. You’re limited to support via email.
Pro - For $39 a month, you can have up to 250 products, including premium products and the in-box paperwork can be customized for your store. You can also get support via chat.
Empire - This $99 plan gives you unlimited products & orders.
Spocket claims to have higher quality products than other dropshipping companies. They vette all of their suppliers, including interviewing each one and evaluating a selection of their products. All of Spocket’s vendors are roughly equivalent to Oberlo Verified Suppliers.
Since Spocket’s vendors are located in the US and Europe, shipping is faster, although more expensive.
You’ll find some things on Spocket that you can’t find on AliExpress using Oberlo, like furniture and clothing. However, not all products are unique.
Comparing Spocket vs Oberlo
AliExpress and Spocket offer roughly similar product categories, although each organizes things a little differently. For example, Spocket has a “toys” category, while AliExpress has “toys & hobbies”. AliExpress has a few categories that Spocket doesn’t, like “automobiles” and “tools & home improvement”. Similarily, Spokect has “festivals & parties”, which AliExpress doesn’t.
Spocket offers products in these categories:
Bags & Wallets
Bath & Beauty
Home & Garden
Jewlery & Watches
Kids & Babies
Festivals & Party
Sports & Outdoor
AliExpress offers products in these categories:
Phones & Accessories
Home & Garden
Tools & Home Improvement
Beauty & Hair
Sports & Entertainment
Computers & Office
Jewelry & Watches
Accessories & Intimate Wear
Toys & Hobbies
Shoes & Bags
Baby & Kids
Each of these categories are split into subcategories. Toys & Hobbies has these subcategories:
Stores you’ll love
Drons & RC toys
Models & building toys
Dolls & accessories
Plush Toys & stuffed animals
It’s important to remember that Spocket offers premium products, which are available only on the Pro and Empire plans. Since most people using Spocket are on the Basic plan, not as many stores have access to these premium products, making it easier to choose things that help make your store stand out. Premium products are also have faster shipping.
Let’s compare some products offered by each company.
It’s inevitable that there will be similar products listed on a number of different platforms. It’s likely you’ll find many of the products on both AliExpress and Spocket on Amazon or eBay, for example.
A Spocket vendor lists a “Buddha Bracelet Matte Black” for $17.50, for which Spocket recommends you sell for $40.25. It has black onyx beads and the vendor offers 2 day fulfillment and 3 day shipping. Shipping within the US is a flat $5 for the item, with a charge of $1 for each additional item purchased from that vendor. The return policy is 15 days. It looks pretty nice.
An AliExpress vendor offers a “2016 Natural Stone bead Buddha Bracelets (sic) For Women and Men, Silver Buddha, Black Lava bracelet” for $1.31. The bead is supposedly a zinc alloy. You can get different color beads, like turquoise and brown. Shipping is free and the estimated time for delivery is 20 - 39 days and the vendor guarantees you’ll get it within 50 days. They offer a
Comparing the two, you can see that the while the beads on the Spocket bracelet are smooth and those on the AliExpress one are rough, the Buddha bead looks extremely similar, if not identical.
It is much more likely that Spocket’s premium products will be unique. This doesn’t mean expensive though. These ugly earrings are listed at $6.37 with a suggested retail of $14.66. Shipping within the US is $5 with fulfillment and processing up to 10 days.
For better or worse, you won’t find these on AliExpress.
AliExpress has products which you won’t find on Spocket. This is mainly due to the number of vendors and the number of product categories they offer. You’re more likely to find somewhat expensive electronics, for example, like this Android Auto car stereo for $333.45 on AliExpress than on Spocket.
AliExpress offers an on-time guarantee, and they will give you a refund if your item doesn’t arrive on time. However, each vendor can specify how long that is. In the bracelet example, the vendor gives themselves a 50 day window, which is a really long time.
One cool thing is that you can filter your product search results by available shipping method. We recommend limiting yourself to products that offer ePacket shipping, which is typically pretty cheap but most importantly, offers tracking numbers.
Simarily, each vendor on Spocket can offer different shipping methods and carriers.
Return and Refund Pollicies
Each AliExpress vendor lists their return and refund policy, although AliExpress offers a basic guarantee that you can get a refund if your item is significantly different than it’s description and photos.
Spocket’s standard return policy is 15 days, although some vendors offer 30 days and a few don’t allow returns.
Which Should You Pick?
A lot will depend on what kind of store you’re building. One annoyance with Spocket is that you need to install the app in order to search for products. If you’re interested in Oberlo, you can go to AliExpress.com and search there. Luckily, both Oberlo and Spocket have generous free plans, which make it easy to figure out which marketplace has the products you want to offer.
Oberlo and AliExpress are both great for offering an extremely wide selection of products at lower prices at the cost of long shipping times and the extra challenge of building a unique store. Spocket is great if you want to build a more curated store with more difficult to find products and faster shipping times, although your pricing will need to be higher overall, due to more expensive products and shipping.
Spocket is a serious contender and deserves consideration.
Once you have a store set up and selling, you’ll need a way to track your shipping. You can’t afford to have a hands off approach these days. The longer your fulfillment and shipping times, the more risk there is of losing customer satisfaction and a package going awry. Check out ShopClerk Order Tracking for Shopify, which gives you email alerts when you have a shipping problem and a Snapshot dashboard which gives you a shipping command center. We offer a 14-day trial, and plans that work for every size store.