Some believe that the Internet has killed mail order. But, the fact is that it’s helped tremendously. Most businesses that sold mail order before the Internet merely moved their business online – where it exists today. Some businesses never experienced a true mail order company and yet nevertheless have a thriving business due to automation provided by the Internet. If you’re thinking of getting into this business, here are some of the best products you can sell.
Amazon proved this to the world, and the company still makes a killing on book sales. Not all of them are physical books, thanks to its Kindle and ebook business. In total, the online giant pulls in 5.25 billion in revenue just from books or 7 percent of its total revenue. Books are still big business, and there is no shortage of book lovers out there. Here’s the thing though: you need to recognise the massive competition you’re up against.
Amazon is a natural born bookstore killer. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. If you plug into its marketplace, instead of trying to fight against them, you can move with the flow instead of against it.
Health and Beauty
Health and beauty products sell amazingly well online. Most consumers who buy them love shopping online or through catalogs. Needless to say, your target market will likely be mostly women.
Clothing is a huge business, but it’s not intuitive that catalog sales make up a significant portion of sales made in this industry. Shopping malls are good at putting on a front for sales totals. However, designer clothing and accessories are often sold via the Internet or catalogs, as are special order or custom-made items.
DVDs and Movie Tickets
Believe it or not, people still watch DVDs. Apple, Google, and Amazon haven’t cornered the market on digital movies yet. While the margins are low, you can still make significant income just by selling bundled packages or cult classics that are hard to find.
Indie films also do well because they lack formal or substantial distribution, and therefore never really make it to the major outlets.
Businesses can do well by buying services mail order. For example, UK Merchant Services helps connect businesses with merchant services providers. But, they do it all online. Consulting services, and today even financial services, are typically offered at a discount online.
Cars don’t seem like something that could be sold mail order. How are you going to mail a vehicle? And, for the most part, they’re not. But, niche markets do exist for classics and rare pieces as well as car parts. And then there’s Autotrader and similar sites – a virtual mail order warehouse of vehicles.
Food items, particularly non-perishables, are frequently sold online. Your target market will be speciality foods, like organics, dried foods, and canned goods. A very small number of companies exist that sell perishables, but prices are often much higher than retail due to the need for extensive packing materials like dry ice and overnight shipping.
Harley Sims is a marketing director. He loves to write about his experiences on the web. His posts can be found on many marketing and business sites.