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A mail order distributorship can be run from a spare bedroom or the kitchen table. You can sell both products and services by mail. The key is selling products and services that mail order companies typically sell successfully by mail. Products that sell well by mail include children's and women's clothing, vitamins, athletic equipment, software and electronics. Photo processing and restoration, re-mailing services and genealogy or family tree information are examples of services that you can sell by mail.
Create a descriptive name for your mail order company, such as "Jenny's Arts and Crafts" or "Quality Kid's Clothing." Register your fictitious business name as your DBA (doing business as) through your local county or city administration office. Obtain a vendor's license through the same location, as you will need to pay sales taxes on in-state sales.
Find a wholesale supplier for your mail order business. Contact the NAW (National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors) at Naw.org, or the NMOA (National Mail Order Association) at Nmoa.org. Obtain lists of wholesalers through the NAW and NMOA. Call SMC (Specialty Merchandise Corporation), for example, if you want to sell a wide variety of gift products or novelties. Visit the Macromark.com website if you are interested in selling mailing lists. Search business opportunity magazines, such as "Business Opportunities" and "Entrepreneur," for available mail order distributorships.
Call various wholesale suppliers. Find out what products these wholesalers sell. Ask wholesalers if they offer drop-shipping services, which will allow you to order single units at wholesale products. Align yourself with a drop-shipping wholesaler if you want them to ship products out for you. Select the wholesale supplier that best meets your pricing and shipping needs.
Place classified ads in consumer magazines with large mail order sections, such as "Popular Science" and "Popular Mechanics." Advertise in more specialized publications like "Dog Fancy" if you sell pet products, for example.
Key your ads with letters and numbers so you can track your inquiries and sales. Use DF120 as a key, for example, if you are advertising in the January 20 edition of "Dog Fancy." Place additional classified ads in magazines that are profitable. Stop advertising in magazines that are not earning you a profit.
Order peel-and-stick mailing lists of consumers who buy your types of products. Get your mailing lists through the Direct Marketing Association at The-dma.org, for example. Create a sales letter that fully describes the benefits of ordering your products. Order product brochures through your wholesale company. Make copies of your sales letters and brochures. Affix your mailing list labels to your envelopes, which should include the name and address of your company. Mail the sales letters and brochures to consumers on your mailing list.
Order products through your wholesale supplier when customers place orders. Ship the products out to your customers, or have your drop shipper send the products. Include a catalog or brochure with each shipment. Mail the catalogs to each customer because 80 percent of your business will come from repeat buyers, according to Entrepreneur.com.