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Sellers Choice 2021 Marketplace Ratings: Ruby Lane

Ruby Lane


Ruby Lane came in 3rd in the 2021 Sellers Choice Awards, for the second consecutive year. A niche site for antiques and collectibles, Ruby Lane has finished in the top five since Sellers Choice began. Although many respondents thought Ruby Lane’s fees were high, they lauded the customer service and communication from management.

In January 2021, 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.


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Year Established: 1998
Description: Fixed price, shops; antiques, collectibles, fine art, arts and crafts
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Ruby Lane came in 3rd in the 2021 Sellers Choice Awards for Online Marketplaces.

Fans say it’s professional with excellent support for new and existing sellers. “Buyers are vetted more than other sites, so we shops do not get scammed,” wrote one seller. “I feel comfortable selling higher end jewelry,” wrote another.

Sellers like that there is quality control and rules to prevent junk or reproductions from being listed, though one seller suggested Ruby Lane allow the sale of newer collectible jewelry.

“The venue has strict rules as to what can be sold (all items need to be over 20 years old unless artisan made) so you do not have to compete with the foreign low cost, new items which have taken over both eBay and Etsy,” a seller wrote.

One seller said the site promotes only high end items “I’d like to see a new ‘lane’ for lower priced items, call it the Attic,” wrote one seller.

Ruby Lane announced new fees in late 2019, which came up in seller comments. One seller wrote, “I make considerably less money since they have changed their selling fees. I understand this to a point, but it is enough of a difference that I am considering not selling on this site any longer.”

Not everyone agreed. “Fees are in line with other platform,” wrote another seller.

Views on fees may depend on what the sellers are listing, with one seller stating it was more expensive for lower cost items – but, “things tend to sell for a bit more money, so that helps with costs.”

One complaint that had surfaced in previous years was Ruby Lane’s Red Tag sales, and some sellers complained again this year. “Ruby Lane keeps promoting their 50% off Red Tag Sales and even if you got your merchandise for free, I can’t see how anyone could make a profit,” wrote one.

But another seller wrote, “I am glad they listened to the sellers and have made several of the Red Tag sale weekends 30% not 50% which had become standard. That is just not possible given the new overhead we pay as sellers.”

The same seller said they had taken time in 2020 to learn about the tools Ruby Lane has available to sellers. “I had not used them or given them much thought, I think it has helped put my shop in a better light with buyers.”

Several sellers mentioned that in response to the pandemic, Ruby Lane partnered with several large collector shows that had moved online; sellers viewed them cautiously because of the expense if they chose to participate.

One seller said Ruby Lane has the potential to be a lot more profitable than it is now, adding, “If it had more traffic and some more updates it would come out in top place.”

It still needs to get an app to join other sites in the same century, one seller suggested.

Ruby Lane received a 5.63 in Profitability; a 6.48 in Customer Service; a 6.5 in Communication; and a 6.58 in Ease of Use. It received a 6 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 have been on Ruby Lane for 9 years and through these years have had the type of support that is needed to run a successful business. Ruby Lane affords sellers the opportunity to run their business as they see fit without interfering with their form of payment choices.

Loved Ruby Lane ever since I have used it, because of the great customer base. If you can list on a constant basis, the profit margin is good, and they advertise new arrivals and monthly finds through a lot of emails. But based on other years of doing the same sales, my profits are at least 5% lower. But I love the classiness of my site. Also need to offer a category for newer collectible jewelry, it’s profitable for both sides, and very on trend these days.

Excellent communication. They always let us know about upcoming changes to the site when they are necessary, and the quality of presentation is beyond compare. Ruby Lane has been a home to us for a very long time.

I have sold on Ruby Lane since 2005 and in my experience they have always been a partner to their sellers. If one has a problem all you need do is ask for help and they are there with knowledgeable, friendly and helpful CSR’s. They helped us with the Pandemic by giving us several months of discounted fees that helped immensely. They helped us with our State Tax questions when this was changed by seeking out expert tax information and a platform that was integrated into the site to do the calculations for us. Yes, I tell everyone that Ruby Lane is by far the best that is around to sell online with for Antiques and Collectibles.

Very professional, top to bottom, start to finish. Mostly quality presentation. Well managed, consistent, attractive marketing.

It is run very well and supports us as vendors. It adjusts its policies with the times, like when we had to adhere to the new tax structure and it took away the fees on some practices.

RubyLane does an admirable job of providing the sales templates (invoices) and provides complete record keeping for the seller. Also providing the mechanism for complying with national sales tax requirements is excellent. They communicate well with sellers and respond to seller’s concerns. I feel they really listen to sellers and try to provide benefits and keep monthly fees at a minimum. As a seller, I also appreciate that they have standards of excellence so buyers can trust the quality and authenticity of the products offered on the site.

They hold your hand while you are setting up your shop so I was selling right away. It appears that they pay for advertising on other sites more than other sites do. They have real sellers and buyers, and I believe the buyers are vetted more than other sites, so we shops do not get scammed.

I have been selling on Ruby Lane for over 10 years and have experienced many changes over the years … All very positive with platform changes first and foremost designed to offer their sellers the best site enhancements and tools to attract discerning shoppers who insist on high quality goods, curated platform, authenticity guaranteed, direct communication and ability to call dealers directly …. all offering a seller the very best opportunity in a family setting to be a successful and build a return customer base. Fees are in line with other platform.

Excellent, quality site. Have rules as to what items can be listed to prevent junk or reproductions from being listed. Great communication with sellers. Easy to list and to buy.

One of my main selling sites. It attracts the customer base I want, where I feel comfortable selling higher end jewelry. Easy to list, lots of options.

The site maintains integrity and monitors for fake or misleading items. Buyers tend to spend more and the sitewide return policy adds a comfort level. Ruby Lane treats its shop owners as if they are valued and appreciated.

Been selling there for about 10 years. Love the helpful customer service, the good communication and the restrained rate raises over the years. Just a great experience!

Ruby Lane is a pleasure to sell on. The customer service folk are just lovely, very helpful, quick to respond and resolve any queries. Very easy to use site as a seller, possibly still needs some aspects updating for the buyer. Low fees, everyone always pins Ruby Lane as the one with the highest fees but that is simply not the case. Very communicative with sellers on changes etc. Overall I enjoy Ruby Lane a lot, I think it has the potential to be a lot more profitable than it is now, it needs to work on the footfall it receives, open up its market, there are a lot of buyers that complain about the payment system, it works fine as a seller but customers get irked. Displayed very nicely and clearly with a user friendly website. If it had more traffic and some more updates it would come out in top place.

We enjoy selling on Ruby Lane. They have always been very helpful, and they attract quality buyers.

One of the reasons I like Ruby Lane and do not like others is the self policing for sellers. The expectation of complete descriptions, good photos and seller alerts of scammers makes it a reputable site. I have had to ask questions about issues and they respond in a timely manner. I don’t sell a lot, but that is my lack of maintenance and not their site.

This past year was chaos in so many ways in our lives. It started off trying to deal with all the new tax stuff and how all of this affected my business. I shut my store for 2 months to really clean it up and out. Grateful I took that time. Ruby Lane made that very easy. My sales since going back “live” have been getting better as time goes along. I learned a few things when I was closed about how to use several of the dealer tools Ruby Lane has available to all sellers. I had not used them or given them much thought, I think it has helped put my shop in a better light with buyers. I am glad they listened to the sellers and have made several of the Red Tag sale weekends 30% not 50% which had become standard. That is just not possible given the new overhead we pay as sellers. All in all Ruby Lane has been by far and away the best site for my business.

I have had a shop on Ruby Lane for over a decade now. Though sales fluctuated over time, I think the fact that 2020 turned out to be one of my best years ever, despite the pandemic, proves it has intelligent direction at the top and a steady hand at the helm.

Sold on Ruby Lane through last year, few sales. Every customer on Ruby Lane waits for their 50% off Red Tag sales so everything is overpriced until such time. Have to pay for exposure just like everywhere else, although I did see their ads when browsing the web. Higher priced items do well.

Ruby Lane‘s customer service has gone downhill over the last year or two. I also make considerably less money since they have changed their selling fees. I understand this to a point, but it is enough of a difference that I am considering not selling on this site any longer. They also have an inconsistent method of evaluating items on their site. An item is only flagged if another user/seller flags it, which causes MUCH in the way of inconsistencies and other issues such as one shop owner flagging another shop owner’s items for various reasons. RubyLane is unprofessional in this regard.

I love selling on Ruby Lane, however, it is definitely more expensive than most venues, especially if you are selling lower cost items. Things tend to sell for a bit more money, so that helps with costs. The venue has strict rules as to what can be sold (all items need to be over 20 years old unless artisan made) so you do not have to compete with the foreign low cost, new items which have taken over both Ebay and Etsy.

Profitability as a seller depends on whether you have things their buyers want. Excellent customer service department.

Overall I’m very happy with my choice of Ruby Lane as a selling venue. While I’m still not happy with their massive fee hike in November 2019, I’m VERY happy that they have not attempted to overreach into controlling the business of their sellers regarding customer payments. Ruby Lane took the time to implement their commission collection and the collection of sales tax in such a way that when an order is paid for via PayPal – who I love, and have never had any problems with – so that the payment is split with the commission and collected sales tax going directly to Ruby Lane and the balance of the payment remaining with me. I am paid immediately, as I should be, unlike sellers on Etsy and eBay. I do not recall any mathematical errors in the calculation of my portion of the payment, and I’ve never had any complaints from customers about being charged an incorrect amount of sales tax. I also like that are not attempting to impose their ideas of what a seller should be doing on their sellers when it comes to shipping and handling. I think long and hard about when I do and don’t charge for shipping, and as a one-person business I appreciate Ruby Lane not trying to dictate when and how I ship packages by using coercive tactics. I also am very, very pleased to the responsiveness of the Ruby Lane team whenever I’ve had technical problems with my shop or listing. During the year there was an obscure bug in their programming that caused the descriptions on almost all of my hundreds of listings to go blank. They fixed it in less than a day, saying they couldn’t find a bug. Through a bizarre action of my own it happened again the same day, and I was persistent in saying I didn’t think it was user error. They again fixed it very quickly, and this time said they found a bad piece of code from a recent update and had corrected it. I so appreciated their taking a closer look and finding what had caused the error, and the speed with which they restored my descriptions. I do find the listing process very cumbersome and time consuming, more so than in the past. I wish they would streamline this. There are many attributes that must be completed for jewelry, and they switched to a pop-up box with a list of things from which to choose, and if what you’d like to put is not on the list there is no way to type in something different. The old system was much faster… when you started typing in a word, a selection of choices would come up to auto-complete – much easier than scrolling through a long list, or having to move your cursor to another part of the screen to click on the correct choice. In the scheme of things, these are minor annoyances that are far outweighed by their excellent customer service. I hope to be selling on Ruby Lane for many, many years to come.

The fees for selling have risen so dramatically during 2020. Ruby Lane keeps promoting their 50% off Red Tag Sales and even if you got your merchandise for free, I can’t see how anyone could make a profit. Considering the monthly maintenance fees on Ruby Lane, costs for shipping materials, cost of merchandise, costs involved in acquiring merchandise and sales fees that amount to almost 30% (including PayPal) now, brick and mortar stores are starting to look very attractive again.

I don’t think there has ever been any changes made for each individual shop to have the ability to stand out (other than adding a few more background colors), and the shops look old and out of date. Newsletters highlight only expensive items which has caused the public to think RL is an expensive place to shop. This has hurt the sites traffic as well as caused many nice, low priced shops to go elsewhere. They keep holding on to two things that should be done away with: what they call being Exclusive, and their policing system of letting each shop turn on others. The latter seems to be a tactic used to prevent shops from selling elsewhere or they are penalized by not getting the same placement as those that are.

Ruby Lane maintenance fees are high with little return for the seller. They cater to high end jewelry, pushing their promos in that direction when those sellers should be on their high, high end site, Ruby Lux. There is little promo for lower priced products and they make it difficult for sellers to highlight older listings to try to get them sold. Then we are scolded when we have old stock. I’d like to see a new ‘lane’ for lower priced items, call it the Attic. See what happens.

I have been selling on Ruby Lane for the past 18 years. It is not as profitable as it was when I first started to sell there, but I love selling on this site. There have been rough patches over the years and things have gotten bumpy here and there, but I don’t think that they have quite had the challenges that 2020 dealt to all of us, shop owners and management alike!! They have been very aggressive with actions to assist shop owners with their selling experience, and it is most appreciated. They have worked long and hard this year to pivot to experiences that enhance shop and site exposure and have been great about sales tax collection. They partnered with several large collector shows who had to move their national/international shows online to preserve them and encouraged dealers to participate. I was hesitant at first, but took the plunge and participated in the Washington DC Modernism show and was pleasantly surprised. In the run up to the show, I had great support from both Ruby Lane and the show organizers and as this was my first foray into virtual shows, I had a lot of questions that they patiently answered. The show organizers did a great job of providing both digital and physical advertising for the show and spotlighting Ruby Lane participating dealers. When the show went live, I had buyers from all over the East Coast visit my shop virtually and buy things from my site located in the Midwest. I had exposure to buyers who would never have heard of me before this. More pleasantly, though, I also had repeat buyers from this show who returned to purchase items in December and still in January so the investment was good for me. I expect that these virtual markets and shows will still be happening in 2021 and if available to me, I will certainly consider participating again after the good experience I had with the Washington, DC Modernism show. Ruby Lane also supported the shop owners during the lock down early in 2020 with accommodations for the hit that the economy took and I certainly appreciated the way that they were proactive on our behalf. This is why I have been selling here for the past 18 years and anticipate continued presence on this site.

They don’t attract the volume of buyers that other sites do. They are better for selling expensive, perfect items but bad for selling more common items. The costs are becoming too high for the volume of sales. I’m typically selling items on Etsy or eBay for the same price before Ruby Lane. Their purchase order system is too complicated for some buyers. Their seller review system requires signing up with trust pilot, which many do not want to do, so they email me instead of posting one for others to see.

Ruby Lane is great for selling high-return items, and their reputation is stellar. My experience was good, but the mandatory advertising and maintenance fees (even for listings that aren’t ‘live’) turned out to be a problem for me, since my price range is $100 or less.

I lost money 5 months in 2020. The attraction was no end fees, now there’s not only no traffic but the fees eat any/all profit. Worked hard all year, averaged $50/mo before overhead/taxes, never mind the time invested. A very nice site that isn’t working for this seller.

I like Ruby Lane as a selling venue. Overall, it has been very good. It is expensive, however – but still profitable. They do need to expand and grow their audience to the greater antiques market (beyond jewelry and dolls).

Very disappointed with Ruby Lane management decisions over the last year. The huge fee addition/increase coupled with high shop fees now make it one of the most expensive places to sell for me. My sales have dropped 50% and the cost of doing business on there has gone up 300%. Ruby Lane advertising seems to be pretty much non existent outside of sponsored Facebook posts, and they seem to spend their time just promoting collaborations with antique show owners for virtual shows. The inclusion into which costs you even MORE in commission fees. 10% to sell at a virtual show PLUS your PayPal fees PLUS your shop fees. For me that’s a PASS. They don’t seem to be expanding their customer base. It’s become a very niche site and with the fee structure these red tag sales are even less appealing than they were when Ruby lane was actually profitable. I’ve been there 12 years and every month now I seriously debate leaving the site. Its a shame.

Sales have been down this past year likely due to Covid. Since I have made very little money this year as a result, I cannot recommend highly having an online store so I only gave it 8/10. Ruby Lane has done everything possible with frequent ads to try and increase sales for the stores. Covid has slowed sales down by no fault of Ruby Lane. It is a classy site and I think it is the best. The company does the best that they can to help with sales. It is an attractive and well run site.

Ruby Lane is still my site of choice but they have limitations. Not enough depth in their “lanes”. They favor certain selling venues over others and do not seem to want to expand others. They are still using dollar value rather than age of items to list in various antique/vintage sections. I’m sure they want to keep the site free from pure new junk but a little expansion would really help to boost sales of antiques and collectibles. Their customer service is very prompt as always but rates and commissions have really increased, mostly caused by this sales tax money processing I believe.

It’s become very expensive, with an almost 7% commission on the sold price, plus shipping, and customer service has deteriorated. Instead of using their extra cash for improvement, it seems they are just treading water. That being said, its an established site, with established customers. It still needs to get an app, though, to join other sites in the same century.

Their new initiative working with the management of what traditionally have been in-person shows, to allow vendors to sell using RubyLane as a venue during the “Show” (which is now online instead of in-person) is extremely creative and a real silver lining to the Covid shut-downs. It is a big plus that show managers are welcoming this brand new opportunity and are pitching in from their end to make it work. It is a way for those who did not get into internet selling, to actually do that.

Sellers Choice Awards:
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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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.