23 Profitable mail order business Ideas
Since the 90’s opportunities to start your own Mail Order business have boomed due to the internet and online marketplaces such as ebay and Amazon. However, having your own website will give you a great advantage and is almost essential if you want to expand your business in a niche marketplace. Here are a few ideas that may inspire you…
Start a mail order business supplying materials and equipment for artists and craftworkers.
Build up a catalogue of products and advertise in arts and crafts magazines. Compile a list of suppliers by researching trade directories at your nearest reference library. See below for recommended reading on how to start a mail order business.
Start up your own business selling health foods and supplements.
There`s a huge market now for health products, most of which are light and easy to post, making them an ideal mail order product. Decide on which products to sell, there`s a vast range available. Find a reliable source of supply, then have a mail order catalogue printed. Advertise in health and leisure magazines. One way to get a feel for this type of business is to work as an agent for one of the leading companies then set up on your own.
Supply jewellery making products by mail order.
Making custom-made jewellery is a popular pastime for many people. A good reliable supplier can quickly build up a regular customer base, with repeat orders almost guaranteed from satisfied customers. As with all good mail order suppliers, ensure your catalogue and price list are professional in appearance and competitively priced. Try to cater for a wide range of tastes. Promote the art of jewellery making as an immensely enjoyable creative art, perhaps including one or two good illustrated `how-to` booklets in your catalogue as well.
Candle-making supplies are also good products for selling by mail order.
Sell to craftworkers who like making candles for pleasure or resale. Write to the main suppliers listed in any of the craftworkers trade directories, requesting prices and supply information, using a business letterhead. Compare prices before deciding what to stock. Compile a catalogue and advertise it in the most suitable hobby magazines.
Start a mail order business selling books and videos relating to astronomy.
Other items could include a regular newsletter and special offers on telescopes for beginners. Advertise in the appropriate science and astronomy magazines.
Start a printing service that you can operate by mail order.
This way you can reach a wide range of customers. Include a free design service in your price. Specialise in short runs of between 50 and 500 to cater for new small businesses. Your products could include letterheads, business cards, leaflets, compliment slips, ID cards, membership cards and invitations. Inkjet and laser printers are now very affordable and easily up to the job for short print runs. Good design work can be produced using a desktop publishing package such as Adobe Pagemaker. Advertise your services in the Exchange & Mart and business magazines that are aimed at new businesses.
Start a mail order business selling sketches of famous people.
Movie stars, sports personalities, pop singers etc., are all suitable subjects. You could also specialise in doing a range of sketches of one particular person. e.g. Elvis, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, or someone as equally famous. Advertise your catalogue of sketches in film and entertainment magazines.
Sell business manuals and self-improvement guides
This was once one of the most popular mail order businesses to get into, But sellng books as digital ebooks has more or less taken over. Unfortunately, not everyone succeeds at it. Like every successful mail order business, it takes careful planning and good organisational skills. Anyone can buy a money-making guide with reproduction rights and try to sell it. The best way to get started however, and save yourself some money, is to write and self-publish your own manual, and see if it sells. You could even try selling it over the internet. Click here to learn more.
Produce a mail order catalogue for selling a range of magic tricks and practical jokes.
These type of products are always popular but not so easy to get hold of. A well prepared catalogue advertised in the right places could prove to be a good little money-spinner.
Sleep products are a good mail order seller.
Any device that helps people sleep or reduces snoring will prove popular in the classified ads. Invite people to send for further information and send them an illustrated brochure or catalogue by return post. Use a persuasive sales letter to accompany your price list and order form, extolling the benefits of a good nights sleep. You can advertise these products in practically any popular magazine with a large circulation.
Sex aids are another big mail order seller.
As you might guess, not everyone feels comfortable going into a shop to purchase these type of products. A mail order business set up to provide an exciting range of naughty toys and sexy underwear can hardly fail, providing a sensible approach to business is maintained. Seek out suppliers through suitable trade directories and magazines such as `The Trader`
Produce a series of audio cassettes for helping people relax.
There are numerous books written about stress relief and self-hypnosis techniques. Take the best advice from these books and devise a script that can be recorded on tape to help people overcome their tension and fears. Use a professional speaker with a relaxing voice if your`s is not suitable for the job. Sell your tapes by mail order in various magazines with a classified ads section.
Specialise in selling sports videos by mail order and on the internet.
Compile a catalogue of boxing videos, football videos, snooker, cricket, motor-racing and rallying videos. In fact any type of sports video that features famous or exciting events to bring a little nostalgia into peoples lives. That`s what makes these videos sell well. Advertise predominantly in sports magazines and through your own ecommerce website on the internet.
Write and self-publish ebooks and guides in the gardening niche.
Guide that provide information about growing outdoor plants or vegetables always prove popular. You could also sell guides on landscape garden design, caring for houseplants, or growing your own flowers to sell. If you would rather sell existing titles on these subjects, then see what`s available and find a reliable source of supply. Compile a catalogue and advertise in the classified ads of gardening magazines.
Become a mailing list broker.
Lots of companies rent mailing lists for use in their direct mail advertising campaigns. Many firms who sell mailing lists either sell them by direct mail themselves or through mail order advertising. The easiest way to get started is to compile your own. If this sounds like a business you would like to try out, then find out more by searching online for ‘compiling and selling mailing lists’
Start a business selling self-improvement Dvd’s and CD’s
This could be a suitable companion business to selling self-improvements books, as mentioned previously. Videos might include titles relating to keeping fit, losing weight, self-defense, make-up techniques and so on. CD’s might include topics such as `How to stop Smoking` etc.
Produce a mail order catalogue specialising in chess set designs.
Include various designs and d.i.y. kits for people who want to make their own. Find a supplier who can provide you with all the necessary products. These will include latex moulds, casting powder, resins, colour additives, felt for the bases etc. You might even try designing your own chess pieces using a material such as clay to make the master. Advertise your catalogue in hobby magazines. Any chess sets that you create yourself can be sold through gift and souvenir shops.
Sell science-fiction and fantasy books, plus American and British comic books by mail order.
Contact suitable suppliers and import the American titles on a regular basis. You could also deal in the thousands of secondhand titles which are also available, and buy and sell them at the various comic book fairs around the country. Advertise your mail order service through subject-related magazines.
Produce an audio CD training course in salesmanship or how to run an online business.
If you have experience in either field, this could be a very profitable project. CD’s are easy to duplicate in large numbers once the master CD has been produced. Compile the course first, using outside help if required, and hire a small recording studio to produce the master CD. Use CD/DVD duplicator (available to buy on ebay or from online retailers) to duplicate your CD’s with professionally printed cover designs on each one. Advertise by mail and send them to customers in a well designed package, along with any necessary printed material.
Design a new stress-relieving gadget for busy executive types.
Product ideas should be kept simple, but fun to use. It should obviously offer some kind of therapeutic physical or mental relaxation. Prototypes could be made from wood and other materials readily available. Finished products could be marketed by direct mail. Use a professionally printed full colour leaflet, extolling the virtues of your new stress-relieving device.
Produce a business directory listing firms offering specialised services.
For example, services related to computing, web design and advertising. Promote it by direct mail to various businesses. Have it professionally printed and sell advertising space to selected firms appearing in the directory.
Start a business selling ladies lingerie by mail.
These type of goods are extremely popular and very easy and light to post. They make an ideal mail order product. Advertise in various magazines and send a fully illustrated catalogue to all enquirers. You could specialise in lingerie designed for ladies with a fuller figure. For the more adventurous, a nice range of sexy underwear should bring in a good response. When business picks up, you might consider expanding into other areas of sexy clothing to suit a variety of different tastes.
Sell your products on eBay.
As mentioned earlier, ebay is an ideal place to start a mail order business on a shoestring budget. It gives you the ideal opportunity to test your mail order ideas without too much risk, providing you proceed with caution. Almost anything can be sold on eBay. For example, books, videos, software, collectibles, toys, craftwork, prints, posters, paintings, the list is endless. New or old, if you have something you would like to sell, or an idea for starting your own mail order business working from home, eBay is the perfect solution. It’s free to join and you can register at their website. Click here for UK sellers or choose the ebay that serves your area if you live outside of the UK.