If you’re considering setting up a drop shipping business it’s worth considering using an app like Spocket or Oberlo.
They both cater for different situations but in this review I’ll give you an honest opinion on Spocket with warts and all so that you can decide.
What is Spocket?
Okay, if you want to get started in drop shipping you need some basic ingredients:
Shopify or a Woocommerce website will sort out no 3 and allow you to put your products on display. But the most daunting task for someone new to drop shipping is 1. Finding reliable suppliers and 2. Finding quality products.
And attracting customers will be what you will want to spend most of your efforts on once you’ve got your store in place.
Spocket was founded relatively recently in 2017 by Canadian based entrepreneur Saba Mohebpour, who recognised the shortcomings of other drop shipping apps such as Oberlo in his own successful drop shipping business.
It now has over 60,000 users and has helped a huge number of drop shipping businesses to grow into major successes.
In a nutshell, Spocket is an app that can integrate with your Shopify, Woocommerce or social media online store and allows you to browse products at wholesale prices from approved suppliers.
At the click of a button you are able to import your selected products straight into your store.
As with any drop shipping app, you don’t pay for the products until you get an order from a customer.
It does a lot more than that, which I’ll go into later in this article.
Spocket vs Oberlo (and a bit on AliExpress)
I’m writing a separate review of Oberlo next. However, it’s worth looking at both and comparing them.
But first let’s talk a bit about AliExpress.
If you’ve been looking at drop shipping you can’t fail to come across AliExpress. It’s been the number one place for dropshippers to source cheap product for a long time.
AliExpress is a China based platform where products are listed by suppliers, mainly in China, at wholesale prices. It’s part of the Alibaba group which is aimed at larger scale businesses ordering in bulk.
And products produced in China are generally significantly cheaper than similar products from EU or USA based companies, mainly because of vastly cheaper labour costs.
However, the main problem with AliExpress is that there is only very basic vetting before a supplier can list there.
So that makes it difficult to know that your supplier is reliable and whether the products are of any quality, or even genuine in the case of branded items.
There is a review rating on most products, and you can get an idea by how many of each product has been sold (over 300 sold is a good indication), which is shown on the listing. But that’s not fail safe.
The main drawback of Aliexpress though is the shipping times. Although there are some suppliers based in other countries, the vast majority are in China. And shipping times can be 20-30 days or more to the USA and EU.
That’s a major stumbling block when you’re competing with Amazon, and it’s not great for your customer experience. After all, your customers are buying from you because you’ve built a brand based on quality of goods and service.
There are also issues around communication with your suppliers and managing the tracking of orders, which is all down to you.
Enter Oberlo, which has been around since 2015.
Oberlo is actually very similar to Spocket in what it does – it even looks the same. However, unlike Spocket, Oberlo only integrates with suppliers from AliExpress. And that’s its major limitation.
Spocket sources the majority of its suppliers from USA, EU, UK and Australia, although it does also have a small proportion sourced from China, including through AliExpress.
For this reason a lot of its shipping times are 2-3 days to USA and EU, although some are up to 14 days – still better than 20-30+ from China.
Before a supplier can list products on Spocket they have to pass a vigorous process including vetting by Spocket on the legitimacy of their company. They also have to agree on shipping times, and neutral packaging.
Spocket also has a great policy of sampling the products listed on their platform to check quality. Oberlo doesn’t do this.
Of course the sourcing of products from USA and EU does come at a price and the profit margins on Spocket products tend to be lower than from Oberlo/AliExpress.
Although most products on Spocket still have margins from 30-60%.
You need to decide whether you are happy to explain to your potential customers that it might take more than a month before they receive their goods.
That said there’s no reason you can’t link your drop shipping store to both Spocket and Oberlo if you feel this would work for you. Or even use AliExpress alongside Spocket.
The Overview and Online Freedom Seeker Scores
Name – Spocket
Website URL – https://www.spocket.co/
Founder – Saba Mohebpour
Established – 2017
Training – Available but at extra cost US$12-14 per course. 4 out of 5
Technical Support – Depends on which plan – 4 out of 5
Mentoring and Support – 3.5 out of 5
Research Tools – 2.5 out of 5
Cost – various plans US$19 to US$299 per month with 14 day free trial. See following image.
Value for Money – 4 out of 5
Overall Online Freedom Seeker Rating – 4 out of 5
The platform is really easy to use. There’s a keyword search box that you can use.
Or alternatively you can filter by product category, ships from EU or USA, Premium products, fast shipping to USA, Shipping to USA for under $5.
Browse products and click on the product for more detail. This gives you the option to look at shipping costs to various locations, returns policy, product info and which country it ships from.
The recommended retail price is shown on the listing (all in US$), but it’s up to you what you charge. Their RRP is based on the average of prices that other Spocket users are selling at.
It also has info on shipping times and whether the supplier ships worldwide. If it ships worldwide you can click on the appropriate flag for your customer base and it updates the times and costs.
Import to Shop
Once you find a product you like you click the “Import” button. This stores it in a list where you can edit before transferring to your Shopify or Woocommerce store. And because it’s linked it transfers seamlessly.
A neat feature is that you can order a sample of any product so that you can see and touch it for yourself. This is a pretty important thing if you really want to make sure your brand is represented by quality goods.
When your customer pays and checks out of your Ecommerce store, the order goes direct to the supplier with payment of your wholesale cost plus shipping going to Spocket, to be forwarded to the supplier once the return period has expired.
Once your store is getting significant numbers of orders this makes for a huge time-saving for you. And potentially saves you having to employ people to administer the process.
Global Pricing Rules
Once you get a reasonable number of products in your store, setting your retail price can become a bit of a headache. One of the options with Spocket is their Global Pricing facility.
You can automatically set how the selling price is calculated. For instance, you can set it at a multiplier e.g 1.5 x purchase price, a flat amount, or a percentage.
You can also segment the global pricing using different rules. E.g one rule for items up to $20 and different rules above that.
Another great feature is that Spocket doesn’t send payment to the supplier until the returns period has expired (if applicable).
This means you don’t have to be chasing the supplier for a refund if everything isn’t good.
I have to admit that at first glance I felt that some of the first products I looked at didn’t look that attractive in terms of margin, especially if you want to absorb shipping costs into the price.
But on a bit of a deeper search of products I found some pretty healthy margins. You do need to look around a bit at the country source compared with your target audience.
If you’re USA based then ideally you want to source products from the USA.
And certain categories are obviously more profitable than others.
Another thing you need to bear in mind is that sales tax isn’t included in either the wholesale price or the RRP. You won’t pay it on the wholesale price but may need to charge it when you sell.
This is a whole other ball game and you should get basic tax advice on whether you should be including or adding sales taxes to your shop prices.
These are only available to plans from Pro upwards, and in certain categories it makes a big difference to the profit margin and shipping times.
So, although the Starter package will enable you to get up and running I feel that, if you are serious about this, then you’ll definitely need the Pro package ($49 per month) as a minimum.
On the Starter plan this is by email only, but on the higher paid plans it’s 24hr online chat. And it seems to be pretty good.
Training and Mentoring
Spocket has an “Academy” which is basically a series of training modules, available at a one-off cost of between $12-14.
It would be nice if these were available within the subscription. But to be fair to them they aren’t claiming to teach you how to be a successful drop shipper, and the cost of the training isn’t massive.
You also get access to their Facebook page, where members can share ideas and advice. Although I have to say a lot of the posts are about how XYZ made six figures in 3 months. Still, it’s a place to communicate, so not bad.
Firstly, I’d definitely try it out with the 14 day free trial. That way you can have a look around and see if it works for you.
When you sign up it does ask you for a payment method, but just skip that and it will let you carry on, although pop-ups keep appearing asking you to sign up. Just ignore them for now.
You can upgrade from one plan to another at any time and there’s no contract time, you can cancel any time you want if you find it’s not for you.
The Starter package at $19 a month is really only useful to get you up and running, with a restriction to 25 products in your store and no access to Premium products, but it’s not a bad place to start.
One limitation that might sway you is that you don’t get branded invoicing on the Starter package. It’s a nice touch to have your brand on the invoice from the start, and you get to put a personal message on the invoice, which can help massively with repeat business.
Although Spocket claim that their Empire plan is the most popular, at $99 a month it’s quite steep if you’re setting up a new business. So I would stick to the Pro plan at $49 a month.
If you end up needing to upgrade then that’s great, it means you’re making money!
And if you end up needing all the tools you get with the Unicorn package, then you won’t be needing advice from me, you’re on the road to riches!
– Quality Products – Means less likelihood of returned goods
– Ability to Order Samples – So you can do your own quality checking
– Easy Integration With Shopify, Woocommerce and Social Media online stores –
– Automated Ordering – Saves you time
– Short Shipping Times – And ability to source products by area
– Branded Invoicing – Great for building your brand
– Neutral Packaging – So that customers aren’t aware that you’re drop shipping
– Order Tracking – Automatic as soon as customer checks out
– Automatic Inventory Updates In Real Time – So you don’t have to worry about listing out of stock items
– Payment Security – Means you don’t have to worry about getting refunded for returns
– Global Pricing Rules – Simplifies your pricing policy
– More costly than Oberlo – But you get what you pay for.
– Slightly limited product range – But increasing all the time.
– Lower profit margins than AliExpress in some cases – But customer satisfaction is better.
– You can’t contact the supplier direct –
Is Spocket the Best Drop Shipping App?
This depends on what you consider to be important. I’ve detailed the differences between Spocket and its main competitor, Oberlo.
And there are cheaper options than both of these platforms. But none of them provide all the integration features that Spocket does to make your life easier.
And you’ll quickly realise that time is definitely money in the drop shipping business.
If the slightly higher cost of Spocket frees your time to concentrate on marketing your store, then that in my opinion is money well-spent and will more than pay for itself.
If you are concerned about building a long-lasting brand, selling quality products, and getting them to your customers in a time that competes with Amazon, then in my opinion Spocket is definitely the best app to partner with.
If on the other hand you are happy to simply maximise profit by sourcing potentially inferior goods from China, and believe that your customers will tolerate long waits for their purchase, then you might not want to go with Spocket.
I personally believe that if you sell high quality goods the profits will follow as you won’t be wasting huge amounts of time and money dealing with complaints and returns. And you’re more likely to get repeat customers.
It costs a lot more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one.
So yes, I believe that Spocket is the best app to use if you’re new to drop shipping.
Once you get to a significant turnover you may well have greater buying power and decide at that point to source direct. But most successful Spocket users stay with them.
That tells an interesting story!
So, if you’ve found this helpful and want to see for yourself why not try it out with the free trial.
And I always love to hear feedback, positive or negative, on my articles so please leave a comment in the box to let me know.