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Sellers Choice 2018 Marketplace Ratings: Ruby Lane

Ruby Lane

4th Place Finisher - EcommerceBytes 2018 Sellers ChoiceRuby Lane came in 4th in the 2018 Sellers Choice Awards. It earned top spot for “Customer Service” a distinction it has achieved in six of the previous nine years, contributing to its success at being the “Most Recommended” marketplace by its sellers in 2018.

In January 2018, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 10,000 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the Sellers Choice survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, along with links to results for each of the 10 online marketplaces included in the survey.

Ruby Lane - EcommerceBytes 2018 Sellers Choice for Best Customer Service and Most Recommended

 

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Rubylane
Year Established: 1998
Description: Fixed price, shops; antiques, collectibles, fine art, arts and crafts
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Summary:

Ruby Lane was the very first Sellers Choice Awards winner in 2010 and has managed to stay in the top five since then, finishing 4th in this year’s voting. Ruby Lane also came in first for “Customer Service” a distinction it has achieved in six of the previous nine years, contributing to its success at being the “Most Recommended” marketplace by its sellers in 2018.

Ruby Lane gets praise in an area where many other marketplaces get panned: the ability to keep “junk” off the site. “I like that they have “rules” about what can be listed to keep out the junk and reproductions,” wrote one seller. Ruby Lane is able to do that in part because of the nature of its site – it limits sales to antiques, vintage, and in certain categories, “high quality” items (such as artisan or “upcycled” jewelry).

Established in 1998, Ruby Lane has, over the past two decades, earned a reputation for responsive customer service and good communication with its merchants. Their close level of control over listings is a double-edged sword, maintaining the atmosphere of a high-end  antiques store or boutique, yet can often cause a merchant some angst if one of their items gets tagged for listing an item that doesn’t comply with site regulations.

Ruby Lane offers an “exclusive agreement” in which sellers can agree to sell exclusively on its venue in exchange for preferred treatment. Several sellers indicated this class of seller is resented, with one seller saying the program puts “regular” sellers at a disadvantage. One seller also complained about being forced to pay to advertise Ruby Lane’s “Ruby Lux” site.

Among other complaints registered in the survey were: required photo processing not always seen as an improvement and takes too long, as well as the perception that Ruby Lane does not do enough marketing to boost traffic to listings.

But many sellers have been on the site for years and find it to be the best site for the types of items they sell. “I have been selling on Ruby Lane since 1999, and they are still a wonderful venue,” said one seller. “I have wonderful high end repeat customers, selling on here is a joy,” said another.

Ruby Lane received a 6.06 in Profitability; a 6.32 in Customer Service; a 6.11 in Communication; and a 6.14 in Ease of Use. It received a 6.59 from sellers when asked, “How likely are you to recommend Ruby Lane as a selling venue to a friend or colleague?”

Reader Comments:The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Great site with best seller support. I like that they have “rules” about what can be listed to keep out the junk and reproductions. Very classy, easy to use for customers and sellers.

I have sold on several different online sites over the years. Ruby Lane’s site is the best as far as I’m concerned. It’s a beautifully designed site with great customer service to its sellers. Great promotions too. Love it!

They aren’t perfect but Ruby Lane doesn’t try to get between me and my customers (thanks no doubt to the no commissions set up), they don’t try to corral me into only a few acceptable forms of payment (I could trade a couch for a cow if I wanted to), and I’ve gotten strong customer support from real, U.S. based staff the few times I have had a problem in the decade I’ve been with them (since leaving eBay for good, basically). Strong, keyword driven search, I could go on and on. Plus my listings look gorgeous. Love the background removal on first pics. But the real kicker is having cost to sales ratios ranging consistently over the years between 2.9 and 9.5. My bottom line is THE bottom line. It always amazes me when I start talking about Ruby Lane to someone and the person I’m talking to has never heard of them. I could say if I had one thing to wish they’d do it would be advertise more, to get the word out there about the site. But then my past experiences with eBay and Etsy in that department reminds me of what seems to always happen when sites go for quantity over quality. So, now that I think about it a little more, I’m fine with Ruby Lane remaining the best kept seller secret on the internet.

Overall a truly superb venue where I now sell exclusively. Some buyers have mentioned they find the site more difficult to navigate then some others but still keep coming back because they find the customer service excellent and the quality of goods and sellers to be very high.

Great and approachable seller support, commitment to providing sellers with good marketing tools and promotions, Ruby lane always seems to be working behind the scenes to promote different lines and increase awareness – very well presented and protection of buyers comes across to instill confidence that end. A most professional site and a joy to work with.

Specialist high-quality venue with no commission and excellent customer service.

Ruby Lane is curated and upscale, providing access to many active buyers. Easy to list and maintain, and the site rarely has any tech issues.

Customer Service is excellent and site is extremely easy to navigate. I been on Ruby Lane for 6 years and have increased sales each and every year.

Quality is a standard and sales are mostly good year round. As long as I work my shop, I do very well. Site is well run and management is responsive. I have been selling here for 10-1/2 years.

Very polite live interaction with their agents. Appropriate inquiries from customers. Real Purchase Orders. Almost instant response to my questions or for troubleshooting. Attractive web appearance. Limits of what can be sold keeps trash sellers away. Only critisism is that if I wish to sell on a Layaway Plan I must offer the same deal to everyone. I would prefer to be able to be flexible as to which items I can offer which individually designed plan for.

I love Ruby Lane, but I would like to be able to view customer survey feedback (even just in aggregate). I would also love to be able to batch upload inventory via CSV.

Fees are high, so I have to work hard to be profitable, but Ruby Lane has really increased its visibility over social network platforms, which has meant increased sales. And customer service is fabulous!

I have been selling on Ruby Lane since 1999, and they are still a wonderful venue. They continue to keep on top of the latest online issues and updates and are responsive to sellers concerns. Glad they are doing some 30% red tag sales – 50% istoo much! The months finds promotions are helpful. The AIP is sometimes problematic.

I have wonderful high end repeat customers, selling on here is a joy. Ruby Lane sales now account for over 80% of my years gross sales. I have a large amount of high dollar sales on here and virtually no returns-not even one a year. Ruby Lane staff seem to be listening to seller feedback concerning the Red Tag sale discount parameters. Nothing is ever perfect but Ruby Lane comes pretty darn close. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend anyone with quality antiques to sell here.

Easy to use, quick replies to questions from staff. If you are willing to work 3-4 hours a day, EVERY day it can be profitable. This is a seller focused venue. You do the work and you can get the rewards.

Ruby Lane is really easy to use as a seller. We love the simplicity! Sometimes the programme is a little slow uploading images which can be time consuming, but this is the same across all sales channels.

Great venue for high end collectibles. You need a lot of merchandise to do well I think. Not for selling cheap stuff so unless you have great collectibles stay away.

If you sell higher end vintage and antiques then this is the platform for you. Listing fees are high but if you have a quality stock of items that people want to buy then you can make much more per transaction than on equivalent vintage platforms like Etsy and Ebay. The best thing about RL is that, providing you obey the rules and list only quality genuine antiques and vintage, the management intervenes little between buyer and seller. Sellers are free to use what payment methods they wish, including bank wire (popular in EU) and old fashioned checks and money orders. The main negative is the existence of a hated class of “exclusive” sellers (those who agree to list only on RL) who are given special perks as a reward. This is an old fashioned and arcane idea in these uncertain times when no wise dealer keeps all their eggs in one basket.

I’ve had good luck with Ruby Lane. It’s not inexpensive, but you get a better base of buyers, more serious. Better prices on items sold. I just wish they’d improve their seller page showing whether or not payment has been received on an item.

I love Ruby Lane and have been a seller for over 12 years. It is affordable and they don’t take crap from buyers. I wish there was more traffic – eBay seems to always reign supreme in this area. I am a doll seller, and what they to do preserve and nourish the doll collecting hobby is helping save the hobby which is helping my business. They are forward thinkers – and have fantastic customer service. LOVE LOVE LOVE Ruby Lane for not charging a commission on sales. I can actually make deals and give discounts to buyers because of this.

I feel Ruby Lane offers an overall good venue for selling but I feel they are falling behind in their marketing. Comparable merchandise from many other sites comes up far more often than those on Ruby Lane when doing Google and other Internet searches and I feel that as sellers we are losing clientele.

Too much control about what your listing description should say – they want you to write a story – whereas I like my descriptions to be very short with only the necessary info – not a novel about why the buyer should buy my item! LOL

RL is still far and away the best venue I have found on the internet. They are readily accessible from the president on down and they DO listen to seller ideas and suggestions. Help has always been immediately available if I have had any problems especially technical ones. However – My cost to sell jumped significantly this past year from 10% to over 11%. Shopper traffic is noticeably down – from less effective search engine usage? RL has given up all of their free shop owner helps except “Monthly Finds.” I sell in a niche category and feel no “general interest” paid featuring etc. is worth the charges.

Restrictive policy of only allowing the term antique to be used for items if it starts at $100 needs to be made more flexible. Many antique items are not valued at $100 or more but are genuinely 100 years or more old (e.g., primitives, buttons, silverplate pieces, etc.) Same goes for the term Art Deco being applied only to items from the 1920s. Deco started in Europe much earlier and extend in the U.S. through the 1940s, into the early 1950s.

Ruby is expensive when you consider their fees against the volume of sales. They simply do not get the eyeballs. It is truly a platform with minimum interference in how I run my business but at the end charging ~30 cents each month for items in your store is just too much when you add the store fees given the low sales on the website.

Useful for high end items – no quick way to get help, good thing I’m familiar with and use site. Could be a stand-out star with some attention by RL to problem areas – sometimes wonder if anyone really manages the site.

You can actually get to know the customer service folks at Ruby Lane, very helpful and friendly and they remember you, or have the software that reminds them who you are. We had our ups and downs over the years (I have been selling there 15 years now) but they always fix anything that is broken. They have attention to detail, and provide the best experience a seller could want. My only complaint is that when a large seller gets tagged by a shop for having something that doesn’t comply with the site regulations, they don’t always act on the problem. Customers need to know we only sell real vintage and antiques. I am a member of a “Pearl Jewelry” information site, and you should see the ripoff items people are selling. Usually from Canada and usually foreign to that country too. I do get that they need the revenue to keep up the good work in other parts of the Lane, but when you tell them straight out that the clasp is new, it can’t be antique…and nothing is done, it worries me a bit.

We have been selling on Ruby Lane for quite some time now. Some years have been better than others, but for some reason 2017 was the worst year yet. The site promotes jewelry and dolls above all else, presumably because they find those categories are more popular with buyers than others. Traffic to our shop always seems to go up alot whenever a Red Tag sale is about to start, so maybe they spend more on advertising then. The site is easy to use, and listing is simple to do. It usually takes a day for the primary image to go through AIP (advanced image processing) and the listing won’t show up in search until then. Despite the slow sales, this site still appears to be the best one for us, compared with others.

Ruby Lane is my favorite platform. however it is clunky. Listings are the fastest to find there but the processes for managing items can’t be done with check boxes like other sites and it wastes a lot of my time. Especially not being able to change pricing in a grid. And not being able to look up items from the home page, not being able to see items when i search under an item number. Ruby Lane customer service has been great, and Ruby Lane is generally supporting of sales. i feel the fees are reasonable. The communication to sellers could use significant improvement- I frequently miss hearing about upcoming events that I can participate in and the shopowner sections about clicks and click logs, etc is a nightmare. I don’t understand it at all.

As I am in Australia and Ruby Lane is set up for sellers in the USA there are some aspects of the process that I find a little difficult (payment is often a problem), and many US customers tell me the Purchase Order process is confusing. My sales of Postcards has reduced drastically since Ruby Lane removed ‘Postcards’ as a single topic and included them in Vintage collectibles. The main reason I chose Ruby Lane as my International outlet was because of their customer service and credibility in the market place

To generate any sales at all, RL requires exclusive loyalty to them; you must commit to not selling elsewhere, while at the same time, they do not guarantee you any business. You can list on their site without this commitment, however this is expensive and they then hide you from search results and omit your items from sale feeds. In the current economy, the exclusivity requirement restricts the seller unduly, making this site far too risky given that RL has limited exposure, cannot guarantee sellers any sales, and there are other alternatives.

I have been selling on Ruby Lane since the beginning but did quit once for a year. I am back again but unfortunately have not been selling that well there. I have to really keep my prices very low on the jewelry or else things don’t move at all. Disappointed and thinking of giving up the shop. I like the ease of listing things but don’t particularly like the fact they charge for removing backgrounds from your listed items and you cannot reject that feature. Sometimes it really will detract from your item, especially if it’s on the original display card. They will cut out the card and only display the jewelry item. It’s laid out beautifully but I am not sure I will continue.

I have been selling on Ruby Lane for 5 years and the site only gets worse every year! Their Advanced Imaging Process that is required is horrific! It takes 24 to 48 hours to get your approved and altered pictures back. Ruby lane nickles and dimes their sellers to death. I am closing my shop with ruby lane in April because of all of the problems and nonsense. I have to pay them for advertising yet no one knows what ruby lane is and everyone knows etsy! Done with ruby lane!

The best thing about Ruby Lane is the fact that they are a true venue and do not interfere with the way you run your business. However, Ruby Lane’s fees are too high while it does not provide enough traffic for my merchandise. Thus the profitability is too low. I like the fact that it is very stable and does not make too many useless changes. I also like the fact that their requirements are reasonable and not frivolous. As for their communications with me, I get too many emails from them that do not add value and clutter my mail box.

Buyers can put every item in my shop into their cart and then not pay for it. This removes the item from my shop so that no one else can buy it and then I have to beg for payment. This is unacceptable. Too many sales lost to abandoned carts. As a seller, I don’t need to know about this. Either a person buys what they put in the cart or it is available for another buyer. Period. I lose at least a sale per month to cart abandonment. Someone puts my item in their cart and I remove it from all other venues. Another website with coding from 1991. And then there are the photos that they must doctor before an item is listed in my shop. This doctoring can take 36 hours. There is no way to time my listings. I do not want to list items on Saturday but if I post them on Thursday, there is a good chance that they will not be seen until Saturday. This site is fast failing. Sales are poor and have been for 4+ years. There is no way that the “brains” at Ruby Lane don’t know how much they have screwed up the site. I used to see ads for Ruby Lane but now I only see them for Ruby Lux. I could vomit thinking that my “rent” is paying for those ads. And speaking of “rent”! Ruby Lane charges every time we list an item and also charges “rent” for that item on the first of every month. So if I list an item on the 31st, I am charged a listing fee and within a few hours, I am charged “rent” for that individual item. Another indication of the 1991 time warp! I’m beginning to hate this site and I used to be the biggest fan…

What a disappointment Ruby Lane has become. This was a site I was so excited to be a part of. Until the end of 2013 that is. By the third quarter of 2013 Ruby Lane started to crash. And when I say crash I mean going from 90 sales month and $5 to $7k in sales to 6 sales a month and $400. That is dismal. Any changes to the site are not announced nor are they described to sellers. That is bad business. Here, a lack of forums and a place for sellers to seek info would be a plus. And no, I don’t want to “go to Facebook” for my information. Ruby Lane has sent me more messages about paying for promotion and joining their 50% off sales than info about site or future ideas for the site. Let’s talk about those 50% off sales. Why oh why do they hold them during December and January? Those are historically good months for antiques. Why pander to the JCPenneys audience? Plus, we know what happened with JCPenney. NO ONE BUYS THERE UNLESS THE STORE IS ON SALE!! After one of their 50% off sales, I get another worthless email from them stating that more than $1 million dollars in merch sold during the sale. One million? Don’t you mean $500,000 since it was a freaking half price sale? Fools at Ruby Lane have ruined a strong business.

I have been at Ruby Lane for 10 years and it was great back then but over the years they have made listing a huge pain due to their mandatory AIP (advanced imaging processing). Which they charge you for and it can take up to 2 days before your listing can go live. The fees have steadily gone up and sales are down which I attribute to their overzealous efforts to attract high end buyers and only focus on that market. This has resulted in Ruby Lane basically cutting their nose off to spite their face. Constantly receiving emails to purchase more advertising which we already pay for in the monthly fees. Things really went downhill when they started all of these Red Tag Sales which have resulted in buyers only shopping during those sales and a small Christmas rush. The rest of the year is dead. Was not like this in the beginning. I have started a shop on Etsy and sales have been great without all the micro controlling going on a Ruby Lane. I’m closing my shop in the next month due to all the cumbersome rules and logistics of selling on Ruby Lane.

Ruby Lane continues to be confused as to what business they are in. They do not understand that they are a marketplace and that job one is to provide that marketplace to the sellers that pay them. The photo processing is getting slower and slower. It is harder to get your items out timely. They continue to employ questionable characters. Like the one who implemented the failed credit card processing, the failed banner advertising, the failed Ruby Lux advertising, etc. etc. and the one who no longer signs his emails. (Like we shop owners don’t know who that is.) Lots of games and silliness. Most established shops stopped contacting customer service because it does not help. The staff is very unprofessional. Traffic is down and we are still paying for the advertising for Ruby Lux. The website continues to be glitchy. But don’t report it because it won’t get fixed. They have lost hundreds of shops in the last year. About 50 shops per month. It’s because new shops without established clientele cannot make a go of it. Still nothing has changed. They have no plan for improvement. Are they even aware that traffic is down? The best they can do is offer “banner advertising” on the same site that you are already paying to advertise on. We can all guess who the genius is behind that (soon to be failed) strategy! Are you listening Ruby Lane?

Sadly VERY little traffic for Ruby Lane. Site has been around since 1998. Real shame cause Ruby Lane lets a seller run their shop with very little interference. Slow to upload image processing. I can list an item on eBay the same day as listed on Ruby Lane and that item can already have sold on eBay before Ruby Lane has even processed and posted my item for sale on its site the following day! No immediate payment required = much time spent for a seller to try and close a sale /get paid. Time waster! If you sell pricy doll items then this is the site for you… otherwise, focus elsewhere.

Ruby Lane does not promote the site enough, and they have too many Ruby Red Tag Sales. I’ve been selling on Ruby Lane for six years and profitability has steadily declined.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.