A mail-order business sells goods or services by mail. Such a retail business takes orders from consumers without them having to come into the physical store. It allows people to become consumers without leaving their homes, and helps businesses achieve sales even when the consumer does not come to the store.
Originally intended for consumers who lived in more remote areas, mail-order businesses have become increasingly popular with those living in urban environments. It has also facilitated the growth of globalization, with customers around the world able to purchase items from any source, thus contributing to the distribution of desirable goods to people of all cultures and locations.
The convenience of the mail-order system, both in terms of ease of ordering and efficiency in delivery systems, makes it attractive to people with busy, stressful lives. Although the increase in convenience through the use of such technologies appears to make for a higher quality of life, the social interaction that was formerly experienced by shopping at local stores is lost. Thus, people have less opportunity to develop a community identity, and develop personal relationships with neighbors. Trading the social interactions, that are essential to human existence, for external convenience may prove to be more detrimental than beneficial in the long run.