Mail-order

Austin Bentley

Definition

Mail-order retailers sell merchandise through catalogs that they distribute to costumers, customers select items by looking at the pictures or illustrations and reading accompanying descriptions.

Where They're Located & Type of Merchandise Sold

Mail-order retailers offer shopping at home for people who cannot (or prefer not) to go out. Mail-order retailers sometimes sell apparel and other items at low prices because they purchase goods in large quantities, have low overhead, and sell to a mass market.

Interesting Facts

1. The objective of the direct marketing industry is to alter the sales distribution chain, in other words (bypass) the wholesaler and the retailer and go directly to the customer, reducing therefore tariffs and taxes.

2. In the United States, an advantage of this type of shopping is that the merchant is typically not required by law to add sales tax to the price of the goods, unless they have a physical presence in the customer's state. Instead, most states require the resident purchaser to pay applicable taxes. There has been periodic discussion about amending the law to make these sales taxable.

Vocabulary

Mail- order retailing is also known as direct-mail marketing.