Ruby Lane to Close RubyPlaza.com at the End of the Year
By Ina Steiner
Online antiques mall Ruby Lane will close its Ruby Plaza ecommerce site at the end of the year. Ruby Lane focuses on antiques, art, vintage collectibles and jewelry and prohibits sellers from listing new items, reproductions, and handcrafted items. Two years ago it launched Ruby Plaza to give merchants the ability to offer such items, including home decor, jewelry, fashion and fashion accessories.
The announcement highlights the difficulty new sites have in attracting shoppers. Director of Communications and Product Development Palmer Pekarek said Ruby Plaza had the shops and inventory, but wasn't able to reach enough people. He said Ruby Lane did not do cross-over marketing, feeling that consumers on Ruby Lane were there to look for antiques and collectibles, while consumers on Ruby Plaza shopped for newer items.
The company informed sellers of its decision to close Ruby Plaza today, explaining that sales and traffic had not reached an acceptable level. "This is the reason why in 2011, we decided to make the site free to sell on through December 31, 2012. We had hoped that within that time, activity would increase. Despite our marketing efforts and site improvements, the traffic and sales activity on Ruby Plaza have not improved significantly. Therefore, we have made the tough decision to shut down the site permanently on December 31, 2012."
Ruby Plaza has over 1,000 shops and over 111,000 items for sale; of those 1,000 Ruby Plaza shops, 450 of them also have shops on Ruby Lane.
Pekarek said Ruby Plaza shop owners will be able to easily port their listings over to Ruby Lane (for items that qualify) or to a new site. "We honor and respect people's time and will help them find another venue. We don't want to cut them off at the knees," he said.
Being able to stay through the end of the year means Ruby Plaza sellers won't be scrambling to find a new home before the holiday shopping season.
The company thanked sellers for their efforts and investment in the site, and wrote that, "while we are disappointed that Ruby Plaza was not as successful as we had planned, we want to be clear that Ruby Lane is stronger than ever. Traffic and sales on Ruby Lane remain high, and we're devoting more resources than ever to marketing as we continue to reach out to new buyers and sellers."
Pekarek said Ruby Lane has 2500 stores with over 465,000 items for sale. "We're going back to our core and will focus on Ruby Lane," and said the company wants to go back to the double-digit growth it had experienced before the recession.
Ruby Plaza will remain open until midnight on December 31, 2012, and the company said it would continue to provide customer support to buyers and sellers on Ruby Plaza through the end of the year.
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About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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