Doba (Doba.com)is being sold as ultimate drop shipping solution for small and medium businesses and they claim to be #1 drop ship solution in the industry but what you will get if we filter out all the hype and marketing; let’s look at pros and cons of Doba as drop shipping platform.
Is Doba a Scam?
First lets address the question “Is Doba a Scam?” – No, Doba is legitimate company (check out their BBB record here) with steady growth rate (check out their Inc. 500 listing here) BUT it is very easy to lose money if you jump right in to it without knowing what you’re doing and proper research.
Doba drop shipping platform offers direct access to over 1.4+ million products that you can sell immediately. Doba network carries products ranging from electronics to children toys, books, sport equipment, clothing, and accessories and keeps adding new ones (Check out their catalog and prices here). Because of Doba’s large membership base they are able to negotiate lower prices with wholesale suppliers and offer you access to BIG name-brands like Adidas, Sony, LG, Makita, Calvin Klein, Zippo etc… which no other drop shipping platform or directory can offer, unless you’re purchasing in bulk.
Doba Products Prices – Are They Really Wholesale?
If you’re expecting to find rock-bottom wholesale prices inside Doba drop ship catalog I have to disappoint you because it is not the case. Comparing Doba prices with prices on eBay or Amazon you’ll always find that there are sellers who are selling at your wholesale price or even below.
BIG online retailers will pummel you price wise “The Wal-Marts” of the Internet have a distinct advantage when it comes to pricing products to sell. Here’s why:
- They can purchase in bulk at huge discounts. Small and independent online retailers usually can’t afford to buy in such huge quantities, so the wholesale price you pay is considerably more than the wholesale price a major league player like Wal-Mart, Target, Tiger Direct etc… pays.
- Big stores can afford to sell popular items at a loss, because they know that if they can get shoppers into their stores, those shoppers are eventually going to buy products with higher markups.
So if you’re planning to win customers and make bunch of money by selling at lower price than anybody in the marketplace you’re up to unpleasant surprise – you won’t make any money by trying to compete on price alone.
To make money selling Doba drop ship merchandise you have to leverage other areas to make yourself and your products stand out in the marketplace.
While price is important when selling online it is not the only thing that buyers look at. Think about Apple with any other vendor selling consumer electronics, Apple consistently manage to sell their devices for 2-3 times more than other vendors selling devices of the same class. Starbucks with other coffee shops… same thing. Your local dentist – one will charge you $2500 for dental implant the other one $4000 for the same thing and they both have business. This goes without saying for eBay – there are sellers that consistently are able to get more money for the same items that other sellers selling cheaper. Marketing and research have huge impact on how much money you’re going to make selling particular product online.
Remember, you don’t need to have the lowest price in the marketplace to make money. You are not trying to outsell Amazon or eBay and never will.
Selling products from Doba’s drop ship catalog without researching them first will almost guarantee that you fail and lose money. While it is possible to perform market research for different products manually it is very time consuming and mundane task. Let’s say you have decided to start selling “LED LCD HDTVs” from Doba on eBay – here are questions you need to answer before listing them:
- What is the demand for this product (how many people want to buy it now)?
- What is the supply for this product (how many sellers are trying to sell it now)?
- How much I can expect to make selling it?
- Great sales copy and description (what features and benefits are important to buyers)?
- What is the right day and time to start and end an auction, when people spend the most?
- Right category to get maximum amount of traffic/visitors
- Most profitable price to start so you cut down your eBay fees, but not the profit
- Right keywords and phrases buyers use to search, if they can’t find your listings, they can’t bid on them
- How many serious players are in your market (if it is too competitive you don’t have a chance) and how big is your market?
- Are your market affected by seasonal trends?
- Listing features that are supposed to get your listings more attention
- What the most successful sellers in your category do in order to be successful?
Knowing answers to these questions will tell you which products to sell and when, how to sell more often and make more money from every auction and you can’t really answer these questions without proper eBay market research tool. I am using Terapeak (see detailed review here) because it is easy to use and the most powerful one out there.
You can check out more free videos on eBay research below:
Is Doba a Middleman?
Essentially Doba is a middleman but in this particular case it is not bad; because of their membership size they are able to negotiate better deals with wholesale suppliers and give you access to products that you wouldn’t otherwise get yourself. They even provide “Lowest Wholesale Price” guarantee – that if you find a better price among other online drop shippers they will we’ll reward you up to $120 in FREE membership.
When using Doba you have the ability to order from their catalog without registered business name or Tax ID and drop ship single units, which makes things much faster and easier for you BUT the prices won’t be as low as if you were buying in bulk directly from the wholesale supplier.
You could get better prices for certain products dealing with wholesale suppliers directly but, as I said, this does require you to have Registered Business Name and Tax ID and invest money upfront to buy in bulk. You’ll often find that large wholesalers refuse to deal with small business owners because it is too much hassle for them to drop ship single units and you can’t buy large quantities upfront, this is especially true for more expensive items. You won’t find wholesale suppliers on your own that would drop ship single units of popular name-brand products like Sony, LG, Samsung, Apple.
Doba have “Education and Training” section inside their portal but information there is a bit outdated and there are better tools and techniques available now. Doba also offers “Elite Seller Report” where they highlight 30 products from each section of their catalog that recently sold on eBay for significantly more than their wholesale price. While “Elite Seller Report” is a good place to give you initial idea of what to sell, I would recommend to use eBay market research service like Terapeak because it gives you the ability to find and track “HOT” selling products almost in real time and you can find products with higher profit margin that will make you more money.
Doba Products – Are They Name-Brands Products?
Yes, it is products from well-known brands as well as products from less popular vendors they are brand-new in box. They also have refurbished items but I wouldn’t suggest using them because risk of return is much higher. See products form their drop shipping catalog and prices here.
Subscribtion Fees/Cancelation Policies
Doba offers 14 day free trial with valid credit card after which you will be charged price of your monthly membership ($59.95 – $89.95) depending on your level.
|Doba||Core Supplier Access, 1K My Inventory||$59.95|
|Doba Advanced||Core Supplier Access, 10K My Inventory, Pre-Pay, Elite Seller Report||$69.95|
|Doba Pro||Pro Supplier Access, 25K My Inventory, Pre-Pay, Elite Seller Report||$89.95|
Total Annual Cost
Discount (Based on Monthly Pricing)
|Doba||Core Supplier Access, 1K My Inventory||$599.50||Save $119.90|
|Doba Advanced||Core Supplier Access, 10K My Inventory, Pre-Pay, Elite Seller Report||$699.50||Save $139.90|
|Doba Pro||Pro Supplier Access, 25K My Inventory, Pre-Pay, Elite Seller Report||$899.50||Save $179.90|
In addition to mentioned above membership levels they also have “Multi-year” and “Lifetime” memberships which you can upgrade to anytime.
With Doba PrePay you can save 3% on products by waiving their merchant processing fee but you’re required to supply you Tax ID and identification. You fund your Doba PrePay account and then use it to order products.
With “Elite Sellers Report” you get information about 30 products from each section of their catalog (270 products total) that recently sold on eBay for significantly more than their wholesale price. If you’re using eBay market research service like Terapeak or Hammertap I don’t see a reason to pay for “Elite Sellers Report”.
You can cancel anytime but please note that you need to call their customer service to confirm your cancelation request.
Doba offers support by email, live chat and phone.
- Email – available 24/7
- Live Chat – Monday through Friday, 7:00 am — 6:00 pm (MST).
- Phone – Monday through Friday, 7:00 am — 7:00 pm (MST). Call 877-321-DOBA (3622)
Doba vs Worldwide Brands
Wholesale Directory vs. Drop Shipping Platform
Doba and Worldwide Brands are two different animals, Doba is drop shipping platform and Worldwide Brands is directory of certified drop shippers, wholesalers and liquidators. Doba focuses on drop shipping – simplifying and streamlining the whole process for you so you can order from their catalog with a click of a mouse without providing resale license and tax ID (everything done inside Doba’s portal); Worldwide Brands gives you access to qualified drop shippers, wholesalers and liquidators whom you can order products from (you contact wholesale distributor, setup your account and negotiate prices based on your purchase volume)
Drop Shipping vs. Buying in Bulk
Because Doba is a large middleman they have exclusive contracts with wholesale suppliers and are able to give you access to brands and products that you wouldn’t otherwise get yourself – that’s why you have the ability to drop ship single units of name-brand merchandise, but you have to pay slightly inflated price as a result. With Worldwide Brands you won’t find suppliers that are willing to drop ship single units of name-brand products – you have to purchase in bulk which does require investing money upfront. They do have drop shippers that will drop ship single units for you but do not expect iPads, HD TV’s, SLR digital cameras etc… they have a lot of drop shippers supplying accessories for those products (cases, batteries, chargers, cords…) though. By purchasing in bulk directly from wholesalers you’ll get better prices than people selling from Doba’s catalog, but again, buying in bulk requires investing quite a bit of money upfront.
Monthly Membership vs. One Time Payment
Doba give you instant access to 1.4+ million products you can sell right away, their platform makes it easy to list those products on eBay, Amazon, Facebook or your own website, because of their large membership base they have exclusive contracts with wholesalers and you can find single units to drop ship that are impossible to find from other wholesale sources, for this convenience and simplicity Doba charges $59-$89/month depending on your membership level.
With Worldwide Brands for onetime fee of $299 you get instant access to their market research tool, online business training videos, wholesale directory which claims to have over 8 million products. They do not provide you with a catalog from which you can sell right away – you have to contact suppliers that you want to work with your Tax ID and registered business name, setup your account and order the products.
Doba is not for everybody; if you expect to find rock-bottom prices inside their drop shipping catalog and make bunch of money by simply listing those products on eBay or Amazon – Doba is probably not for you. They have a lot of high-quality products to choose from and make the whole process of drop shipping extremely easy for you, but unless you’re willing to do thorough product research you probably won’t make money. I wouldn’t recommend to use them as your primary product sourcing solution in long-term because you do pay premium price for simplicity and convenience of their platform and could make more money by going to supplier directly.
They are great for supplementing product sourcing strategy and testing the market with little or no risk – no contracts, no money upfront. If you can break even with Doba product you’ll make profit by going to supplier of that product directly by using wholesale directory like Worldwide Brands. If you can make profit selling product from Doba’s catalog you may want to continue use them as your supplier because they make process of searching and managing products very easy for you.
I would recommend doing the product research first and after you get some ideas on what you might be selling check out Doba products and prices by signing up for their 14 day free trial.