Wednesday, April 27, 2005

So Bubba needs a scheme again.

This time Bubba has effectively decided to sell crap to people who don't particularly need it but can be made to want it just long enough to place an order.

What I mean to say is that I would like to encourage relatively affluent consumers to exercise their dormant curiosity in certain product lines that might cease to interest them shortly after making a reasoned purchase.

Now the problem is finding a product line in which you can charge a high enough margin to justify your costs. I was thinking cellular phone accessories, but though I can easily find them at really cheap prices at wholesale, I don't think I can move large enough amounts of product with high enough margin.

Several ideas are currently floating in my head:

1) A catalog of various minor crap that I can get from numerous suppliers that are cheap to buy at wholesale, but might be interesting to a prospective buyer. Knives, in particular strange and murderous looking ones can be sold. When you are selling a knife you are not selling a middle aged man just a hunk of reworked steel, you are selling him an image of himself as Rambo, back when Stallone was young, or as Sean Connery as 007, again back when he was young. So for a $1.50 knife you might be able to get $11.99. In the same way you can sell a $1.90 lighter with a compass as the Delta Force Survival Training Lighter for $9.99. Other similar stuff can be sold.

2) Security products - this includes personal and home security. Although stun guns are illegal in NJ, NY there are other things that one can carry such as expandable metal rods and various pepper spray containers (not to mention some clever knives). The home security component of this would be cameras with monitors and various other contraptions for real surveillance and for the deterrence of thieves.

Other product lines are under consideration, but the security products line has the lead for now because of the possibilities of expansion into the field of installation and maintenance of security systems, and of course the fact that Americans are just plain paranoid about their personal safety and the safety of their valuables (this is the work of the media bastards. a kid disappears in florida and now Billy can't go out to play and has to watch the brainwashing on TV so that he can be even more paranoid).

The basic long-term idea behind this scheme is presented in the diagram below. A projection of sales can not be done with any certainty until the initial phase is complete. The initial exposure for the website would be provided by printed brochures that should scare the shit out of middle aged suburbanites prevalent in these parts. Such brochures/pamphlets would be distributed in places where these possible consumers gather - transportation hubs, shopping malls and for good measure thrown into those containers for car catalogs. Bulletin boards would also be utilized. Marketing efforts online would probably not initially be useful as marketing online seems to be significantly overpriced in comparison to offline marketing. I don't know what laws apply to the distribution of pamphlets or the liberal use of bulletin boards, but at the initial phase I doubt that much trouble can be encountered from widely scattering these brochures. This is of course a time-intensive procedure and must be accounted for..

Each brochure would try to sell the most impressive (read high-margin) inventory and direct people to the websites where they would be exposed to other products. Orders would also be accepted by phone and by mail-order. If the initial sales period is successful, a customer database can be created for future direct sales efforts. I figure that the initial stage objective should be to obtain roughly $250 in profits before sales expenses per day, which at the reasonable average margin of $10 / item would mean selling about 25 products every day. Costs for sales - printed materials, graphics design, phones, etc will need to be calculated a bit later. Most of these orders would probably [hopefully] come through the internet which would allow me in the initial period as the lone employee to continue to work on the distribution of printed materials, the design and sales copy of future brochures, and the expansion of the website.

Now I just need to come up with a name and some kind of idea for the theme for the website and printed materials. I gladly accept comments and help from mysterious strangers.

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