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Sellers Choice 2020 Marketplace Ratings: Ruby Lane

Ruby Lane

Ruby Lane came in 3rd in the 2020 Sellers Choice Awards, dropping one spot from the previous year. Sellers’ intense loyalty to this niche site for antiques and collectibles was tested this year as the marketplace adapted to compliance issues. Ruby Lane has finished in the top five since Sellers Choice began.

In January 2020, EcommerceBytes readers rated 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.

Profitability:

Customer Service:

Communication:

Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

Rubylane
Year Established: 1998
Description: Fixed price, shops; antiques, collectibles, fine art, arts and crafts
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Summary:
Ruby Lane came in 3rd in the 2020 Sellers Choice Awards, despite facing some unprecedented challenges relating to sales tax laws.

Numerous sellers mentioned Ruby Lane’s success in fighting to keep fakes and reproductions off of its marketplace. “They provide “rules” which keep the site legitimate with authentic antiques and collectibles, and it is also user friendly,” said one seller.

Part of Ruby Lane’s appeal is the type of buyers it attracts and those buyers’ willingness to pay for quality goods. A common complaint made about some other marketplaces is that they attract “low ballers,” but numerous sellers on Ruby Lane praise the type of buyers it attracts – “Shoppers expect to pay a price that reflects the real value of an item,” wrote one seller.

One seller mentioned a shop-critique feature that we don’t recall being described in past years’ Seller Choice surveys. “CSRs (customer service reps) also provide “Shop Check-up” which is helpful feedback on a shop’s appearance and listing verbiage. I have found this feature very helpful since the CSR checks not only for any “violation of rules”, but also how one’s shop appears to buyers and how to create a better, more inviting shopping experience.”

One major concern this year from many sellers is the institution of a new Seller Service Fee. Respondents’ reactions ranged from, “fees still not as high as eBay” and “they stay on top of issues such as collection of sales tax,” to “the addition of a new seller’s fee has prompted me to consider other selling venues.”

One seller wrote, “I am sure Ruby Lane will take a hit in this survey because they tried several approaches right at the end of 2019 to be certain they were meeting the letter of the law” when it came to complying with state sales tax, but said they were happy to have Ruby Lane deal with the compliance: “Goodness knows that as a tiny internet seller I would never be able to claim sales tax for every state that I have sold to!!!”

One said Ruby Lane listened to sellers’ feedback and made adjustments. The seller said they greatly appreciated Ruby Lane’s personalized email responses to questions and comments concerning those changes – “it made me feel like my opinion mattered, even though I disagreed with the change.”

But another wrote, “the new seller fees are substantial and it remains to be seen how these will affect profitability.”

The new sales tax collection and sellers fee complicates bookkeeping, said one seller: “One can no longer clearly identify what is unfettered income as there are always pending charges. Moreover shop owners will now be faced with complex reporting issues when clarifying exactly what is income and what are fees and taxes, as PayPal reports ALL money taken through their system directly to the IRS.”

Another pointed to the implementation of a buyer’s fee that was subsequently reversed. “Ruby Lane drove away customers in droves with their unadvised buyer’s fee. When Ruby Lane reversed their decision, too late. Buyers all gone; a wasteland. Now fees too high, low visibility,…” Numerous sellers said the timing of the implementation of a buyer’s fee was troublesome and hurt their holiday-shopping sales.

Some sellers said Ruby Lane needs to advertise more aggressively, with some reporting that traffic was down. That includes paid search – “I can’t help but wonder where my advertising money is going,” a seller wrote. “I see fewer and fewer “Ruby Lane” results near the top on general Google searches, when eBay and Etsy sales pop right up.”

Some sellers mentioned technical issues and a checkout process that was confusing to buyers.

Others said they wanted more flexibility on payments. And while some praised customer support, others panned it. “In the last year you can no longer live chat with customer service,” wrote one seller. “That was such a plus for easy and fast answers to problems. Now you have to email them.”

“Ruby Lane revamped their categories in 2019 and it is even harder to find a category to list many items in than it was before,” wrote one seller. Another said the introduction of a contemporary fine jewelry category “simply wrecks its identity as a vintage web site.”

Typically sellers mention Ruby Lane’s promotional sales to buyers as being too aggressive, but they were not mentioned as much this year. One seller wrote that “Red Tag” sales, as they are called, should not be offered at 50%, at least for fine jewelry – “20 to 30 % makes much more sense,” the seller said. “I lose money each time I participate.”

“In the previous surveys, I have noted negative feedback left by others regarding the Ruby Red Tag sales,” one seller wrote this year. “I want to go on the record. I love them. It’s all about planning. But no more than 4 per year and I would like them to consider changing the 50% RRTS to 40% to off-set the higher fees (still reasonable) and also, I suggest having only one 40-50% sale a year.”

One feature on a seller’s wish list: “the ability to make an offer targeted to all those who have “wish listed” specific items.”

Ruby Lane received a 5.60 in Profitability; a 6.35 in Customer Service; a 6.22 in Communication; and a 6.64 in Ease of Use. It received a 5.91 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
I love Ruby Lane’s high standards and policies. Simply the best venue for a seller – a class act.

Ruby Lane has handled all my concerns, questions in a very professional and prompt manner. Easy to use, and I especially like that they vet items to minimize fake and reproduction from appearing on their website.

I love Ruby Lane and sell my best stuff on it. Fees recently went up but still not as high as eBay.

Great for vintage items, more reliable buyers. The more you list, the better the exposure.

Really amazing and clear service, followed with updated explanations, which are well structured and written. Definitely more educated customers. Stress on courtesy is also very laudable, not so single-sided view that buyer must be always right is also very fine feature of Ruby Lane.

After trying many other sites, this is the best site possible for selling authentic vintage and antique jewelry. There is nothing else out there that comes close to comparing with Ruby Lane.

Ruby Lane is a great platform for getting real money for the vintage antique items I sell. Shoppers expect to pay a price that reflects the real value of an item

VERY reasonable fees. Excellent support for sellers and their customers.

Customer service is outstanding on this site. Ruby Lane management listens to its sellers, unlike so many other sites. It is now my only selling venue.

I have been with Ruby Lane for several years. Their communication is excellent, and they make me feel equally as important as those who sell much more than I do. They listen to their sellers, and do their best to work with us.

I have sold on this site since 2005, and like any business, it has its ups and downs through the years. Overall they have consistently shown concern for the sellers and try to provide us with the tools we need to make a go of our shops. I trust the brand Ruby Lane, I have sold on other venues before them and quite honestly I am glad I don’t have the problems here that I did then. Reading Industry News tells me those old venues are not getting better, but getting worse. So I will stay where I am and continue to always have help when I need it from them.

Ruby Lane is a great site. It may not be the most profitable nor the largest out there but it is more specific in that it only caters to vintage, antique and some artisan products, it has a consistently high quality range and a good professional image. Ruby Lane have done a lot of work on bringing the site up to date and this is great. It is moving forward, in the right direction. The customer service for sellers is always of a very high standard. Ruby Lane were recently required to make changes to collect sales tax as most large marketplaces have been doing, there was a lot of noise about this amongst sellers, mostly directed at the site. I found this very harsh, perhaps those sellers were not used to selling on sites that already collect taxes, this is normal, it is legal and correct. I think they handled it well and very professionally and I am grateful for the effort they put in to explain the process and adjust it accordingly. The only improvements I think could be made with Ruby Lane is for them to increase the traffic to the site, invest more in marketing Ruby Lane as a whole and continue to update the site itself along with the payments system. I hear a lot from customers about the payments system not being the greatest. Overall a great site to sell on, with great support. Is Ruby Lane dwindling away? No, on the contrary I believe that it will really see good growth going forward with a little more invested in the right marketing tools and keeping the site up to date. It has the potential to be a bigger player and I’m very keen to stay on board.

Love Ruby Lane because they are so professional and reputable. They constantly make improvements to the site and stay on top of issues such as collection of sales tax. Their customer service is the best.

Ruby Lane has great communication and service to both buyers and sellers. They provide “rules” which keep the site legitimate with authentic antiques and collectibles, and it is also user friendly.

While I am only 6 months in on Ruby Lane, I am extremely pleased with the platform. There were some struggles with the implementation of sales tax collection, but I feel like they have come through that well and things are moving forward. More than anything, I love the professional presentation of the shops on Ruby Lane.

I have been a seller on Ruby Lane now for 17 years. The road has had its ups and downs, but I have always felt like this site has been a shining star with respect to quality items that are vetted to meet buyer expectations. I have loved selling there and have national and international customers from the site. With the new laws requiring sales tax collection, I am sure Ruby Lane will take a hit in this survey because they tried several approaches right at the end of 2019 to be certain they were meeting the letter of the law and received some push back from sellers. I, personally, was happy to know that they were taking steps to make both the site and me legal going forward and this is where the world is now. Goodness knows that as a tiny internet seller I would never be able to claim sales tax for every state that I have sold to!!! Ultimately the solution they chose is the best one overall for the site and the individual shops and they sought the input of the sellers via survey before selecting the final solution. They also gave us the results of the survey as well as the percentage of shop participation in the survey. Their transparency was greatly appreciated. For these reasons I enjoy selling here and hope to continue selling on Ruby Lane for years to come!!

Their communication is excellent with sellers and they are helpful – only real complaint is new requirement to ask a sellers fee based on need to cover management of new sales tax issues. I do not think this should be based on the value of a sale (including shipping costs) but should be a one off charge per sale. I also am disappointed that the only online payment opportunity they fully support are PayPal – who are not easy to deal with and charge very high fees to non US sellers.

I have been selling on Ruby Lane since 2012. In general, it’s been a pleasant and profitable experience. However, the addition of a new seller’s fee has prompted me to consider other selling venues.

2019 was my best year on Ruby Lane since 2009. Profits are good to excellent, customer service is excellent. However, the new seller fees are substantial and it remains to be seen how these will affect profitability.

Ruby Lane customers are a delight. My biggest concern over Ruby Lane is the stability of the platform, there are MANY issues and problems and the site goes down more than it should. Fees are very high.

Ruby Lane provides a friendly selling platform at a reasonable price. Although there have been several unexpected changes this year, one that I wasn’t pleased with, they did listen to feedback from shop owners and made adjustments. And, I very much appreciated their personalized email responses to my questions and comments concerning those changes. It made me feel like my opinion mattered, even though I disagreed with the change. That rarely happens on larger websites. They do a great job marketing our shops on various social media platforms. I also like the remarketing ads that pop-up here and there. In the previous surveys, I have noted negative feedback left by others regarding the Ruby Red Tag sales, so I want to go on the record. I love them. It’s all about planning. But no more than 4 per year and I would like them to consider changing the 50% RRTS to 40% to off-set the higher fees (still reasonable) and also, I suggest having only one 40-50% sale a year. Ruby Lane also changed the category structure, which took some getting used to and the timing was less than ideal. But ultimately it was a good change, and I am reaping the benefits.

Ruby Lane attracts good reliable and serious buyers. Professional website and excellent place to sell and find antiques and collectables. No junk on Ruby Lane.

Ruby Lane is my best experience – great and clear seller instructions. The site also provides a curated experience and more focused clientele. I also appreciate that their sellers are instructed to comply with certain standards so there is a continuity and confidence for the customers. Also appreciate recent efforts to deal with state sales taxes – a complex set of laws and obligations that they seek to fulfill for their sellers.

Ruby Lane is my favorite place to sell! It is very personalized, and I always feel that customer service reps truly care about my best interest as a seller. Highly recommend as a place to buy and sell.

I love Ruby Lane. They are just so proactive in everyway. They communicate, take an interest in your shop with recommendations for improved sales, their customer service is brilliant , fair and always available. They also have a customer base which is unparalleled. They are also have a reasonable fee structure which they included their shop owners in the decision making about where to set it. I can’t sing their praises highly enough

My favorite site for a lot of reasons. They LISTEN to their sellers, make changes and updates constantly. Easy to use for buyer/seller. Here for 10 years and plan on staying!

The most professional and well organized site for selling. They set a high standard for caring about their sellers and their success.

I’ve just started a shop on Ruby Lane, but so far I’m selling very well there. I’ve had several questions about things and I’ve received a response within a few hours on most things.

Great place to sell items – nice clean marketplace where it is easy to find the things you want. Unlike Etsy, Ruby Lane’s site is clearly marked into categories, and the look is very uncluttered. I’ve been selling here for 14 years and I wouldn’t have stayed if I didn’t like it! I have made good, loyal customers, and most are very respectful. Customer service is excellent – wait times are short and the help is usually spot on. The only down side is that hundreds of new shops have joined Ruby lane, which has made it difficult for me to make a living. My sales have plummeted in recent years. Red Tag sales, at least for fine jewelry, should not be offered at 50% off–20 to 30 % makes much more sense. I lose money each time I participate. I don’t like the fact that sellers now have to pay 6.75% service fee on every sale in addition to higher Paypal fees. But considering all the other online places to sale, Ruby Lane still comes out on top for me.

Very high quality site, both for sellers and buyers. I wish they would seek and listen more to seller input. The site needs more marketing to the general public, or at least to targeted markets. And, a few changes in how the site operates would increase sales (strategies used by other sites such as: continuous streaming of search results versus discrete pages; ability to make an offer targeted to all those who have “wish listed” specific items – both used at Poshmark).

Ruby Lane is the platform that I sell the most handmade jewelry and vintage and make my living. It is the best platform to sell “niche” items, particularly antiques, vintage, and handmade jewelry. The biggest draw-back is the cost – it is very expensive to sell on the site. I have had to raise my prices to accommodate fees. However, Ruby Lane maintains a larger percentage of “quality buyers” that are vetted by Ruby Lane making the higher fees workable. I have been selling on Ruby Lane since 2009, and in those ten years only had “issues” with “bad buyers” twice. “Bad buyers” are very rare. Ruby Lane will defend the sellers when warranted and intervene to resolve issues when requested. Ruby Lane also very aggressively engages in advertising in many non-sales venues that drives traffic. Banner & sidebar ads have appeared in print and digital daily editions of Wash Post and NY Times, & monthly magazines such as Coastal Living, Architectural Digest, and Marie Claire to name a few. In addition to “quality buyers”, the sellers are top-notch with quality merchandise. that fit into narrowly defined category groups. Ruby Lane does not allow reproductions of vintage or antique items, and is very strict about descriptions and identification of merchandise. There are “roaming” CSRs that search out any listings throughout the site on a daily basis that may be breaking rules, and require problematic listings to be removed. This is protection for both buyers and sellers and maintains a higher standard, which customers and sellers rely on. Seller assistance is usually just a “chat” away. CSRs also provide “Shop Check-up” which is helpful feedback on a shop’s appearance and listing verbiage. I have found this feature very helpful since the CSR checks not only for any “violation of rules”, but also how one’s shop appears to buyers and how to create a better, more inviting shopping experience. I highly recommend this platform, if a seller’s products fit the categories.

Ruby Lane truly cares about its sellers and tries to make everything as easy and painless as possible, especially with the new tax laws. I love Ruby Lane.

Staff no longer responding to questions. Added questionable “service fees” when internet sales tax went into effect-becoming an even more expensive site to sell on. Site needs some updating.

Simply not good, anymore. The listing process is agonising and photo uploader is awful. Sales are way down. Not what it used to be. I would not recommend anyone to this site, buyers or sellers.

Ruby Lane surprised sellers and buyers with new taxes and fees with very little communication.

Ruby Lane has consistently given me the most bang for my buck for over a decade now. From time to time I’ve tried branching out to other sites, but being a seller of antiques and collectibles only, I have never found the same level of satisfaction and sales as I have found here. And have graded the sites accordingly. I imagine shop owners whose angry posts I’ve read elsewhere will gleefully be using this survey to ‘punish’ Ruby Lane for their recent move to collect sales tax and charge a fee through which Avalara will be paid for managing that obligation for everyone’s benefit, so I’m going to say this – if back in 2018 after the Supreme Court ruling only an idiot would not realize would affect them eventually, you didn’t immediately begin calling and/or writing your congressional representatives to demand they come up with a plan that wouldn’t impact you, a small time seller, or the platforms through which you sell, then you have no right to complain about it now.

Slow and low volume of sales vs high fees make the site very unprofitable. The website is a relative unknown unlike eBay which is known world wide. They need to advertise more aggressively. Customer service that is not available 24-7 makes addressing issues that arise in a 24-7 business (the online selling business) very difficult. Also the unavailability of telephone support makes it very difficult to deal with emergencies. Finally, a business that has the attitude “if you do not like our answers you can go somewhere else” will never succeed.

I like Ruby Lane better than other sites I have tried, but recently they have initiated some terrible policies. However, I’m hanging in there.

Many customers have been asking for discounts, even when items are listed below comparable competitors prices. New charges have taken a bite out of profits and scared some customers away.

Profitability is non-existent now. Traffic has been more than halved to the site. The misguided implementation of a buyer’s fee scared off what traffic we had left.

I am mortified at what Ruby Lane has become. All shopowners received a degrading, threatening accusatory email from the CEO in January. Why? Because the “leadership” I use that term loosely, decided to impose a buyers service fee and it has destroyed their business. The Senior Vice President (are there any juniors? Beware big titles in a small company) goes out and responds to all questions by likening the fee to a buyers premium on an auction site. Either he doesn’t really know what that is or he is incredibly dishonest. Buyers premiums are charged because the auctioneer procures the items, pay for the venue, provides actual customers service (not just resetting passwords), answer questions about the items, issue condition reports, etc. Ruby Lane does not do any of this. We (the shopowners) pay for the venue, we procure the items, oh yes and curation? The shopowners do that too. We tattle on each other under Ruby Lanes flagging system. What does Ruby Lane do? They provide the marketing platform, that’s it. We pay for that with our maintenance fees. The buyers fee will go down in history as one of the most irresponsible business decisions ever made. It will be documented as a case study in college business classes under “how to ruin your business in 60 days”.

Ruby Lane has dropped the ball for sellers. They are now charging very high sellers fees in addition to their monthly maintenance fees. The way sales tax is processed makes no sense because the seller must return the money to Ruby Lane once they have paid a fee on the taxes to PayPal. Also, the processing of a sale is much more difficult for the seller than other venues. Etsy and eBay both offer much easier checkout processes. The Ruby Lane checkout process is long, involved and complicated for both the seller and the buyer. Why? The listing process is longer and more complicated than other venues as well and it does not allow for instant listing of an item but processing of 12-36 hours and occasionally longer for key photos.

It is an expensive site to maintain. Have been on site about 15 years and each year sales have decreased. Have months now where I lose $. Want it to succeed and for me to do better on site.

Still a few bugs while listing. Error message that an antique item must be listed under a category starting with antique. HELLO RUBY LANE, you do not have categories for or starting with antiques! Started selling here because there was only a monthly shop fee, not a % commission. That is no longer the case with the beginning if seller fees this month. Tried to charge the customer a fee for the govt mandated collection of sales tax. Really?? No business, on-line or brick & mortar, charges a buyer or seller to cover their costs associated with sales tax. Shameful!! Now as a seller I’m paying it. Ridiculous! Not a happy camper.

I have had success selling on Ruby Lane for the past six months and I am satisfied. They need to become more user friendly to buyers. I often have buyers who cannot figure out how to navigate buying and paying. Also, it has recently become more expensive for sellers, which makes it difficult to sell small ticket items. They do, however, succeed in keeping the junk off of the site and maintain a higher level of merchandise, which I like.

The only downside to Ruby Lane is that it is expensive to maintain a shop, especially since a shop’s inventory is limited because antiques and vintage items are scarcer to source. Otherwise, it is terrific. The software is easy to use and glitch-free. The Help department is fantastic, providing fast, consistent, easy-to-understand information. The Help documentation is well-organized and easy to understand. The site holds its shop owners to high standards, so the public has confidence when making purchases from Ruby Lane shops. Sellers understand that money alone cannot buy a Ruby Lane shop – that we must also provide reliable information on our products and good customer service in order to continue selling on the site.

Horrible communication to sellers – changes made (blocking buyers threshold) with no communication. Launching programs without adequate testing. Inconsistent messaging. Ignored emails to customer service – and when you do get a response – stock answer. Addressing seller’s complaints by diverting the issues (Tax collection has NOTHING to do with the huge seller’s fees that were implemented!) eBay is close to being a much better selling channel.

Ruby Lane used to be wonderful . Now for a variety of reasons. i.e., new fees added underhandedly until shop owners protested en masse. Patronizing staff that doesn’t answer questions directly .

I have been a seller on Ruby Lane for 15 years. Up until about a year ago I could not have given anything less than 10 or excellent on any of the questions. In the last year you can no longer live chat with customer service. That was such a plus for easy and fast answers to problems. Now you have to email them. Sometimes they get back in a few hours, if you’re lucky. Most of the time it’s a day to days! How helpful is that, not very. Usually I and any number of dealers go to the sellers facebook page. There we can put our heads together and most of the time come up with a working answer to the problem. I find this a real negative please note from 10 last year to 4 this year. My profits have been consistently been going down for several years. I work just as hard, trust me, but the numbers are on the down hill slide. I believe there are a number of reasons for this. Ruby Lane do not advertise the way, eBay, Poshmark and Etsy do. We do not have the presence on Google search the other sites have. When you run a search on an item you know you have listed on Ruby Lane it will not show up until you hit “maybe” page 2. How many people go that far with a search? I suspect knowing and speaking with a number of RL dealers I am not alone concerning advertising our site. The recent need to collect sales tax collection was nothing less than a complete fiasco and made me VERY angry. The site did not communicate with us about the date. They announced a Red Tag sale a week before they let us know that the DAY the sales tax collection was one in the same day! They also chose to institute a 5% BUYERS fee on every sale. Well that went over well. Customers were complaining, cancelling sales and sending dealers “to the point,” shall I say, notes. A lead balloon would go over a cliff with more grace. In addition to all of that they did not have a way set up to allow clients with sales tax numbers to use their numbers! REALLY!! When I add up all the costs of selling, I am barely – and I do mean barely – making anything. I am putting my focus on selling what I own and getting out of this business. It is no longer ANY fun at all. I personally think anyone who thinks they can make their fortune buying something for a dime and selling it for a grand profit online now is nuts!

Cost to seller is exorbitantly high. They hit you everywhere…from picture charge, listing fee, maintenance fee, now seller’s fee, tax.

Ruby Lane has some kinks it still needs to work out. They need to start being a part of the site and stop trying to just sit back and watch their buyers and sellers work things out. While we still sell on Ruby Lane, it’s become more and more difficult to use their listing page and to understand how their search engine works. It’s a good site to find nice antiques and vintage items, but as for trying to sell on it, it can be a bit of a pain.

Ruby Lane has instituted seller’s fees of 6.7% on top of increasing their monthly fees. It is impossible to contact anyone by phone, and there are a number of issues with using their online system for communication.

The collection of sales tax for the states that require it is, of course, necessary. First, Ruby Lane tried to pass on some of the additional expense in the form of a buyer service fee based on the cost of the item. In short order, they changed course and made the sellers responsible with a 3.75 % seller service fee. On February 1st it will increase to 6.7%. On inexpensive items, it doesn’t seem like much. When you are selling something that costs thousands, it certainly is a sizable chunk out of your profit. Shop maintenance fees have increased, too. We have always loved selling on Ruby Lane. Now, we question whether it is worth the expense to continue.

Ruby Lane revamped their categories in 2019 and it is even harder to find a category to list many items in than it was before. Then, there was the un-announced imposition of a buyer’s fee in mid-November when the sales tax was enacted to the utter dismay of both buyers and sellers. It ruined sales at one of the busiest times of the year. It was a very disappointing year for me.

Ruby Lane drove away customers in droves with their unadvised buyer’s fee. When Ruby Lane reversed their decision, too late. Buyers all gone; a wasteland. Now fees too high, low visibility, problems with AIP, problems with home images (finally got 5 image option back but no longer can center images). Has been a problem with sign-in for years. Have lost $ for 2 years straight, ready to give up. Keep hoping for improvement, but RL is steadily declining. I foresee the website a wasteland not too far in the future. Really too bad; RL is no longer a promising site for frustrated sellers looking for a great venue. RL is digging its own grave.

Seller fees as a percentage of sales have almost doubled in the last few months. Emphasis seems to be on pushing enhanced showings at additional fees. For monthly average sales of less than $3000, costs are more than several other sites. Ruby Lane skews comparisons they show to sellers in this regard.

Despite some pretensions to grandeur, Ruby Lane has always had a small site homey charm (rather like a well run family antiques mall). This year the site was confronted with real world retail issues and collapsed into amateur chaos. The first debacle was the photo processing “upgrade” where images now have to be double handled, first into a gallery, then onto the listing. The whole process is cumbersome, inflexible and time consuming. Worse was the late and messy implementation of collecting sales tax. The Ruby Lane process requires the tax to be paid to the seller who then “owes” Ruby Lane the money. To compound these difficulties Ruby Lane also implemented a buyers fee !?! just before peak season which had a MASSIVELY depressing effect on sales. All of the new payments (taxes, buyers fees) were paid into the seller’s PayPal and added to a running total in the sellers account. The result is CHAOS. One can no longer clearly identify what is unfettered income as there are always pending charges. Moreover shop owners will now be faced with complex reporting issues when clarifying exactly what is income and what are fees and taxes, as PayPal reports ALL money taken through their system directly to the IRS. After protests from multiple sellers the site retracted the buyers fee and added a whopping additional 6.7% in fees for each completed transaction to sellers, this is on top of the existing store fees which run @ approx $224 a month for 1k items, plus additional charges if you want to gain improved exposure (practically a necessity). All these charges have made RL exceptionally expensive for such a small retail platform. Currently RL has less than 600k items in total, and on some days new listings are running as low as the mid hundreds. While comparative sites have exploded in size RL has strangled its own growth through fussy miss management, they are also hyper sensitive to criticism and can be punitive if they identify seller “disloyalty”…I am moving much of my inventory elsewhere and feel both sad and very disappointed after working for years to create a viable store to support my family.

I miss the old Ruby Lane. The one that helped me pay my bills, kept me hopping with orders, excited me every single day to work with. But that’s gone. The costs have sky rocketed and the sales are gone. I have to pay rent endlessly on items to insure that they have been received and are not being returned so that I don’t loose MORE money on fees. I know that there are changes on the WWW that have forced change upon the owners but, it’s still a business for me. I desperately want to be loyal.

My profitability is more about my lack of maintaining my site than Ruby Lane. I find that question as very subjective because would anyone ever not want to admit that the error is the site rather than be the reality of truth that it is because of the seller. Ruby Lane has had some struggles this year but I unlike many others feel the difficulties are more about issues that have had to force change per government mandate and changes in how the site needs to meet the new styles of selling on the net. Communication has always been something I believe Ruby Lane has done well. I believe it has dropped a little but also see that as part and parcel of the drastic changes that had to be made under normal circumstances of that. I also feel that many of the newer sellers on Ruby Lane seem to have a different view of how they want it to compare to eBay or Amazon. They want expediency from the site and the buyers beyond the norms of reality. The site has shown me that it believes in good customer service for its sellers as well as believing that the buyers should be kept happy by the procedures instituted to let them know what is happening with their purchase. I believe these newer sellers want nothing that slows down the way things are done and any problem becomes a crisis of their pocket rather than understanding the differences of alternate views or varied styles of buyers.

When I first started selling on Ruby Lane about 10 years ago, they were a wonderful venue, and it was very profitable, but my sales started to slow with the “Red Tag” sales push. The new costs implemented by Ruby Lane as well as having to absorb the Buyers’ Premium, AND taxes on shipping, have really hurt sales. Postal costs rising every year doesn’t help, either. I have lost some customers who say that that their costs rose about 30% when the buyers’ Premium was initiated in November. I simply can’t afford to sell online anymore. Have seen that several other dealers have already left the site. It really is too bad because I love antiques and I love my customers.

Last year, Ruby Lane sales were strong and the profit margin high but this year they have not only added State taxes for those States demanding it (which I know is the law and not because of RL) but they have also added a seller’s fee on top of their maintenance/ advertising fee. The seller’s fee is to pay the company that will calculate the sales tax on each purchase including the shipping and insurance (which is not a profit for the seller) for those States opting into the program. This fee right now is around 3.75% of sales but will increase in February to nearly 7% of each sale made. I foresee RL losing shops in the near future and shops losing sales. My monthly fees have gone from $121.00 per month in 2019 to $182.15 in 2020. Some pretty upset sellers on RL right now.

Ruby Lane has had a tough year and myself included. They still insist on the 50% sale, which is not profitable. The new fees for hosting sale tax collection are having negative results on sales. They need to rethink this! I like Ruby Lane, but it must learn to be less defensive and realize that sellers have sincere issues.

I used to LOVE Ruby Lane, but my respect has taken a real battering in the last two months. Firstly, they introduced sales tax at the height of the selling season, which effectively ruined things for many sellers. Then they brought in a sneaky “buyer charge” which appeared to be rolled in with the sales tax, so many buyers did not question it. The effect was such a furious backlash that they have had to reverse their decision and have now rolled these charges into a seller commission. They say that this has arisen through unforeseen expenses of having to use a high priced specialist agency to handle the sales tax issue in so many jurisdictions. Now many sellers also sell on other platforms as well as social media, so are easily reached outside Ruby Lane. So not unnaturally buyers were contacting sellers off site to avoid sales tax and the buyer’s fee.

Fees have gone up – only venue to charge SELLERS in order to process sales tax collected from Buyers! Lousy customer service – I once wrote during midday to the Live Support link, got a “not available” response and called their support phone number. I actually pressed buttons for 5 different departments and never got one live person! Googled their phone numbers after that and they did not match the numbers listed on the site. They really don’t support and their fees just to be a seller coupled with listing and tax-charge fees are higher than Etsy or eBay.

I am not a fan of the new photo download process. I am not a fan of the primary photo charge. I am not a fan of the confusing tax and buyer premium being implemented and the seller now responsible for added fees. Over the years due to the confusing checkout process many customers cannot figure out how to pay and sales lost. I love the quality of the presentation. Customer Service is prompt to reply. Overall Ruby Lane is a quality site with quality customer experiences in my shop.

Customer service has always been incredibly condescending and arrogant, and recent issues with their fees/tax collection have made the problem even worse. I do not feel they are very upfront with either their buyers or their sellers (they have always been evasive/secretive). They used to be very profitable for me despite the problems with the site on both seller and customer ends, but sales are down this year, even though my inventory is up and I have lowered many of my prices. I’m thinking about moving to Etsy. Ruby Lane will not update their shipping methods to include Parcel Select. They claim most of their sellers do not ship online so Retail Ground is good enough. I have my own website and know how easy it is to add USPS shipping options. It’s insulting to expect anyone to believe that the majority of Ruby Lane sellers stand in line at the post office to ship. Having Retail Ground as the only non-Priority option on my oversize/heavy items has caused me to lose lots of money on shipping. My final issue is my biggest. They refuse to offer a secure credit card processing option. Ruby Lane informs my buyers who choose the credit card payment option that the “seller will call you for your card info”. New buyers find this fishy and end up cancelling their orders. A supposedly upscale site like Ruby Lane not offering any means of secure cc processing is absurd.

Their recent restructuring has devastated the site. It is now very difficult for the buyer to sort antiques from collectibles. Their emphasis on doll collectibles has been at the expense of everything else which now seems to be of secondary importance. Ruby Lane has upped their fees significantly so that dealers now pay a percentage for everything that is sold. That would be acceptable if they had let the lanes alone and not tried to “reorganize” everything. All in all, my future on Ruby Lane will need to be carefully reevaluated as they have taken some major negative steps. It is no longer “the best game in town.”

Large fee increases for sellers make it no longer a competitive marketplace to sell on. Sales have tanked which I believe is in part due to a bad decision to charge buyers a fee on purchases which has since been rolled back and will be passed onto the seller instead, in addition to the back end commission on sales that Ruby Lane started charging on sales Jan 1st. From 0% commission to 6.75% in the space of a month is disastrous for sellers working on a short profit in order to keep their prices competitive.

I think Ruby Lane tries to offer the best resources, marketing and prices that they possibly can. Their customer service is very responsive. My only criticism is that my items seem to be lost in the site and I wonder if they are being given visibility sometimes. I depend on the visibility of Newly Added Today category, but if that does not work, it seems my items are lost. They claim that the more you list, the more your items will be seen. I must admit that I need to follow up on that requirement and list more frequently to see if that does have results, and I am planning to do that, and I do think that is a fair request from them.

Poorly run, not as seller friendly as they used to be. Charged high fees to buyers and sellers with little/ no warning even though buyers are not their customers. Lost all of my holiday business because of this. It will take a long time to regain my buyers’ trust. Ruby Lane now seems to put profits over seller success. Just isn’t as good as it used to be.

Ruby Lane has lower traffic than my other selling sites, making it less profitable. The owner’s communicate well with their sellers, but lately seem to have missed the mark both in changes and the tone in communicating those changes. Ruby Lane is not an easy website to use for selling – it’s clunky and dated.

Ruby Lane’s poor judgment in instituting a Buyer’s fee this fall drove away customers. Then they retracted the Buyer’s fee after surveying sellers, and will now be charging 3.7% Seller’s Fee in January, increasing to 6.7% in February, on top of their pre-existing shop maintenance fees. That 6.7% is going to make it extremely difficult to continue to sell profitably on Ruby Lane. Their lack of prior communication with sellers about these changes has also generated ill will.

Ruby Lane has been my best venue until recently. Customers got upset about their new fee to buy on the site, and my sales in November and December were down 50% over last year. So now RL has taken away the buyer fee, but increased the seller fee a lot. I deleted over 50 items on December 31 so as not to be counted or charged for the next month. These were low priced items, which I would not have made any profit once all the fees were taken out. I would only recommend RL to others if they had higher priced items to sell.

Although my sales have pretty much steadily declined over the seven years I’ve been there, I’ve been a proponent of Ruby Lane for its generally warm corporate culture for both buyers and sellers. I am sad to say this has changed. The recently announced selling changes were handled ineptly and fundamentally threaten its character. Its “service fee” (really just a commission) on top of already high monthly maintenance fees, makes it a truly expensive place to do business. More overlooked is its introduction of a contemporary fine jewelry category, which simply wrecks its identity as a vintage web site; while enabling it to deny exclusive shop status to sellers who have heretofore used eBay and other sites for pieces newer than 20 years old. In the meantime, for me the quality of buyer on Ruby Lane continues to decline from the higher-end kind who appreciated quality at least as much as value. I want to be fair to a well-established player in a very valuable niche, but something disturbing is going on here; and management/ ownership hasn’t told us enough about what it is. Full communication would help right the ship.

Extremely poor communication with sellers and no communication with buyers about new fees associated with sales tax collection. Negative impact on sales when they implemented new fees in midst of Christmas selling season. Lost sales due to fees charged to buyers without warning. Venue has lost the confidence of sellers.

Ruby Lane is a mess. There is no vision for the site and there are constant site problems not to mention charging the BUYERS a fee just to shop there. Now the sellers are going to be hit with even more fees just to pay for Ruby Lane’s compliance to collect sales taxes which they should have been working on 2 years ago. I would not recommend this site to anyone.

Too many major decisions about fees made without consulting with sellers. Profitability is down. Don’t mind paying more for them to administer sales taxes, but other fee increases are unreasonable. They have lost sight of how the fees are perceived by buyers and sellers and like everything else, perception is reality. Always seem to be rationalizing or explaining and fixing their actions after the fact instead of truly partnering with their sellers. That said, Ruby Lane is still the best site for selling high end goods to quality buyers and for that reason alone, I will see how the changes cut into profitability for at least another six months and whether the buyers come back after paying unprecedented fees in late 2019.

In 2018 Ruby Lane had over 2000 shops. Today it has 1849. 151 shops are gone in less than two years. RL just upped all its charges because of “changes” in the U.S. tax system, and the pressure to collect taxes for every state. That is after the fees upon fees upon fees. No advertising. Shop owners with little to no social media knowledge: too little too late. Why on earth would I suggest to friends to throw away their money?

Expensive to sell on Ruby Lane and only worth it if you have higher end and higher priced items for sale.

Ruby Lane needs better communication with its sellers, because we are their customer, however, they tell us after things are done, and they haven’t kept up with technology, so the site has issues that they don’t manage, plus they still haven’t developed an app. Other than that, that’s where my customers are, so I stay.

I am disturbed by a noticeable increase in my sales ratio% on Ruby Lane over the last few years, now just over 12%, and I’m sure it will increase, very soon. The fees just implemented purportedly to help pay for enacting changes to collect/remit sales tax are going to impact many shops very negatively. They say they need new staff, but will this be permanent; I wonder if the enabling software and using Avalara will eliminate the need for actual paid staff, so maybe our fees can be decreased once everything is in place. I can’t help but wonder where my advertising money is going. I see fewer and fewer “Ruby Lane” results near the top on general Google searches, when eBay and Etsy sales pop right up. The absolutely main reason I joined Ruby Lane was that I cannot afford the search engine charges to get my items where they will be noticed; RL was giving me this, but it sure does not seem like they are doing anywhere near as much as they used to. RL is ALWAYS the best in communications, and I would recommend selling there to anyone. A primary feature is quality of items, along with the high quality of the website and stores. Their purchase order system helps with my bookkeeping doing services I would otherwise have to do myself. Thankfully they listen to shops and will change policy that turns out to be a bad move – but sadly, only after it is implemented and likely done damage. From the beginning, I have gotten impressions that RL does not have the most foresighted or imaginative staff, they are great people and they would be friends in real life, but from the shop standpoint there are things that would be so helpful, that they may not or do not seem to understand.

This site completely self-destructed in October 2019. I closed my shop after 15 years of steadily growing sales. I feel betrayed and completely blindsided by the poor decisions and lack of communication after so many years of loyalty as both a Seller and Buyer.

Great communication with sellers, but they are instituting new fees that will surely hurt all the sellers, and buyers. Thinking of looking somewhere else to sell my goods. Do not recommend them anymore.

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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.