EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 255 - January 24, 2010 - ISSN 1528-6703     16 of 17

Seller's Choice Marketplace Ratings: Rubylane

By Ina & David Steiner

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In January 2010, AuctionBytes surveyed over 1,400 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, with a link to the results of each of the 15 online marketplaces included in the survey.


Customer Service:


Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

Year Established: 1998
Description: Fixed Price. Antiques, collectibles, fine art, arts & crafts
More Info

Online antiques mall Ruby Lane came in first place across the board. Its highest rating was in Ease of Use, and its lowest rating in Profitability still handily beat second-place Amazon by more than a full point. Many responses included comments about Rubylane being well run and professional, attracting a customer that was looking for quality merchandise, and that the site was fast-loading and easy to navigate. Respondents also mentioned that Rubylane was not for every type of seller or product - that there was a tight vetting process and rules were rigid. While many commentors said fees were high, it was rated Most Profitable. Ruby Lane came in first as a recommended selling venue.

Reader Comments - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly:
I've had my shop on Ruby Lane for 4.5 years. I'm delighted with all aspects of my experience with them. It's an outstanding venue for online sales!
Ruby Lane is a great place to sell. They work hard to promote the site, it functions smoothly, listen to suggestions and make it better and better. Happy to say I've been a seller there for 10+ years.
Highly recommended; quality customer service; extremely reasonable rates, easy to use, professional format, more & better communication with quality buyers. Less incidents of non-paying buyers. I am a platinum rated exclusive seller on Ruby Lane as my full time employment.
Finally a professional site. Truly fabulous. Great self promo options and reporting tools. Ruby lane really screens botht their sellers and their buyers so everyone is on the up and up. You get your money and you don't have to low ball your prices. People are willing to pay for nice things. That means Ruby lane is doing something right. Have never had a bad experience and I've been with them for over 3 years. This is the model to copy. No other site comes close.
Ruby Lane is a sellers dream come true. It has its faults, but nothing like the other venues I have used or looked into. They (Ruby Lane) have class and a distinction as a top of the line site that you don't feel on other sites. Prompt to answer questions, prompt to help when needed and prompt to let you know you goofed up if you did on your listing. I love the place and will stay with them exclusively till they shut the doors or I go out feet first.
My expense/profit ratio is extremely good, Ruby Lane's functions are straightforward and extremely easy to navigate, terrific assistance when necessary (even unexpected phone calls from them). I keep getting new customers and constantly increasing traffic to my store. Management seems to be extremely concerned with seller integrity and service to customers. Lots of opportunity to show off items (I can get in as many as 18 photos) and a good category description structure.
Ruby Lane projects the kind of image I want to as a seller. I have only sold on Ruby Lane, but have purchased and/or visited other online selling sites and I like the complete package that Ruby Lane provides for the seller and presents to the buyer.
I have been selling on Ruby Lane for 7 years and have loved the experience. The site is vetted and there is a concerted effort to be sure that the items listed for sale meet the quality and criteria for the various venues on the site. The communication on the site is great and customer service is available on-line with a live person and on the off times, they are quick to reply to email items. There are daily reports available as to the activity in your own shop and this can be drilled down to a very detailed level if desired. The site promotes good customer service by all shops, and provides tools that shop owners can use to improve their shops and find things that need to be fixed. They have a good marketing program and each quarter the shop owners get a record of how our cooperative advertising dollars are spent. As a nice perk, periodically there are free or discounted listing days that save money for the sellers.
With the registration process that buyers have to do it cuts out the nuts and only leaves you with serious buyers. When ever I have a question they answer me within 24hrs and send out information on a weekly basis to keep you the seller informed.
Classy site, no junk, no banner messages. Very well run and organized. Great support for sellers. Easy for buyers to browse, search, and buy. Easy to list items, manage your shop, etc. Love it!!!
I have recommended Ruby Lane to several dealers. They are customer service oriented - on both sides of a transaction. They are responsive, actually answering questions instead of using form letters. They are helpful in offering suggestions and options to help sellers improve their business. I couldn't ask for a better selling partner!
Very EXPENSIVE! I also found their accounting system very confusing to a seller on a tight budget. Your just weren't sure what your listing charges were from month to month. You think it's one thing but it's usually another. They don't give you an expiration date (at least when I was selling there) like Etsy. So, my bill was usually a surprise.
The monthly fees at Ruby Lane are quite expensive for fixed price selling. If you have infinite inventory (catalog selling) the fixed overhead at Ruby Lane is too high to justify the cost of posting the inventory.
Too crowded with junk now. Used to be better quality items, now it's overwhelmed with dreck and is starting to look like Ebay (ie, no quality control). Customer Service is not great. They're very available but never seem able to answer my questions.
Fees are much too high. Person paying the most in various fees, gets highest placement in searches. Others have little chance of having their items seen, as they are buried so far back in the pages Search option brings up too many unrelated items. Poor attitude about their customer service.
I was on this site about a year and half. While I made a small profit, it was a tough sell. I know that it can be a profitable place to sell but IMO, you need aleast 150 items in the store to get any real exposure on the site. And that gets expensive if the items aren't moving out.
I've been with them 7 years and sales started plummeting about 2 years ago. I won't be there much longer. Also, they don't promote the shops that aren't exclusive.


Sellers Choice
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the survey results or the survey itself, please feel free to post them in the AuctionBytes Blog.


About the author:

Ina and David Steiner are publishers of and have been writing about ecommerce since 1999.

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