Ringmania now sells all products via third parties and affiliate marketing. Find out the reasons behind why we no longer stock physical products and how we can still earn money while having no customers.
When I first started trading online back in the late 1990s, I kept a large stock of products. In it’s heyday, Ringmania featured around 5000 different lines. Every product had to be photographed, counted and stored somewhere which was easily accessible. Descriptions had to be written and added to the website with the photos to be displayed in the online shop. Most of the software was created by myself using an early shopping cart program. With the help of my partner, I packed every order and sent it out via my local post office. This was great for the customers as orders were shipped frequently within the hour if I was not too busy. Orders placed before lunchtime would often be delivered to any address in the UK the next morning.
We built up an unrivaled reputation for fast and secure delivery and had many regular customers. Around once per month we used to travel hundreds of miles to source and buy new products. After a while we started buying from some wholesalers either online or by telephone. Although this saved the trouble of many hours traveling, we didn’t always receive the correct order. It was no substitute for actually visiting the warehouses and handpicking the products ourselves.
Sourcing new and unusual products
I was beginning to look further afield in order to find new products which were not sold everywhere else. I found many companies online mostly in China, Thailand and India who sold some really unique products. Some of the products on offer were perfect for the website and were virtually unavailable anywhere in the UK.
I began by requesting samples as it was not practical to visit personally at the time. Once approved we were buying silver jewellery from Thailand, hair accessories from China and other handmade fashion jewellery from India.
In order to make it worthwhile, we had to buy large quantities in order to get the best price. The inventory soon outgrew the spare room in my house and we decided to rent a small industrial unit for storage and use as an office.
Due to distance and communication errors, it was inevitable that sometimes the wrong products were received. As it was uneconomical to return the consignment, we resold these items at cost on the website or market stall just to try and recoup the investment.
In November 2003, I was on holiday in Thailand where I met my current wife. She knew the best places to buy products which were suitable for my needs. Most of my stock was then sourced around Thailand. In order to continue next day delivery to our customers in the UK, I was doing regular buying trips to Bangkok and sending the goods personally back to my partner in England.
A new location
I sold my place in England and moved permanently to Phuket, Thailand in 2004. After getting married I continued sending products to the UK in from there.
At that time, I was also selling some items via “dropshipping” and some local Thai products on Ebay which was already becoming popular. As online shopping became more competitive, sales at Ringmania started to fall and a change in my career was imminent. In 2005 I returned to England in order to wind up operations there. Unfortunately. I had difficulty in selling the Ringmania domain so it seemed I was stuck with it.
Not knowing what to do with the website, I kept it running for several years trying to sell various products and services with very little success.
The last venture before the recent update was the sale of Ice Pop Machines from Thailand which I took to Ireland in 2015-16.
That little project unfortunately failed due to lack of interest and the Irish climate in the summer of 2016
After returning to Thailand so that my wife could reopen our resort in Phuket, I was out of a job. I then began designing websites for others. I had previously dabbled in dropshipping and affiliate marketing before leaving Ireland and thought it might be the way forward for Ringmania.
First steps in affiliate marketing
Initially, I found an affiliate program called “Affiliate Window” (AWIN) and based Ringmania around their “Shopwindow” program. Now I had a website that simply contained links to thousands of products in one convenient online shop.
I liked the idea of being able to run a company that had no physical products to take care of and no need to worry about shipping, storage etc.
The site seemed perfect and now selling Jewellery, Clothing, Shoes, Watches, Handbags and all kinds of other stuff from only one website. What I didn’t realize was the fact that there was just too much to choose from and confusing for the average shopper. Consequently the site was not performing well and I felt the need to concentrate on having a much smaller inventory.
I decided on selling only wristwatches from UK companies at www.ringmania.co.uk
Shortly after re-opening the UK site, I discovered WordPress and played around with it for a while before opening a new Online Ring Store at ringmania.com
Now a project that is never ending
Working in affiliate marketing, I am now able to travel and work anywhere in the world so long as I have internet access. These days, I am no longer restricted to one area and can choose my own working hours to suit my everyday life. There is no need to spend hours on the telephone or pack orders to post everyday. I can choose which companies to work with and what products to sell.
I no longer need an office or pay rent and rates to store any products. Instead, thanks to the development in technology, I can run the whole business via a mobile phone.
The perfect online business?
If I need to take a few days off work for any reason, it’s no problem just to stop for a while. The business will still operate in my absence. Perhaps this might sound just perfect to most people. However it doesn’t mean that I no longer have to work. In fact I probably work more hours now, and so far, for less money than I have in the past. Affiliate marketing is not for everyone and it takes a lot of work in order to see any results.
I can save money by living in Thailand as the cost of living is still much less than the UK.
My working day now consists of writing articles for inclusion in this blog and other websites, sourcing new products and suppliers updating social media accounts and generally updating the main websites to gain more traffic and improve search engine rankings.
It’s really a never ending task and unlikely that I will one day just be able to stop. A website doesn’t just update itself and new technology can be a challenge.
Further information on affiliate marketing
Furthermore, if you are thinking of a change in career and/or want to learn more about affiliate marketing, please don’t hesitate to contact me. In over 20 years of building websites and working online, I have learned a lot and will always be happy to help out any way that I can.