Buying and Selling Antiques| Antique Dealer with 25 years experience reveals insider secrets of buying and selling antiques and collectibles

The Best Place to Sell Antiques Online


 
 
If you asked ten different antique dealers to name the best place to sell antiques online, you might get ten different answers. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is one right answer for this one. A major factor is deciding what your main objective is in wanting to sell your antiques online.

Sell Antiques Online Quickly

If you need to sell antiques online quickly, you probably should consider selling them on an online antiques auction. Of course the one that comes to mind for most is EBay. In an auction format, unless you set a reserve, you are almost guaranteed a sale, as long as at least one person is willing to meet the starting price. If you are totally unfamiliar with auctions, a reserve price is a price set before the auction, that must be met for the sale to take place. If you set a reserve on the antique oak table of $100 and it only brings $75, it will not sell. But you still will be charged a fee whether the item sells or not. The same holds true if you, or the auction, set a starting bid and no one is willing to pay that much, then again it will not sell.

But EBay is by no means the only online auction. There are many local auction houses that sell online as well as at their auction location. But, unless you have something that is really unusual and in high demand, auctions typically will only bring wholesale prices. But if you need to move the items quickly, this is definitely one way to do it.

My Favorite Place to Sell Antiques Online

As I mentioned before, many antiques dealers have their favorite place to sell antiques online. But since I am writing this article, I will tell you my favorite and why it is my favorite. I will also give you some hints on selling antique online successfully.Sell Antiques Online

My very favorite place to sell antiques online is Ruby Lane. I have sold things online at Ruby Lane for many years. They have great customer service and attract a large amount of traffic. Traffic is the key to selling anything online. So the more sought after your items are, the more likely you are to sell those items. Ruby Lane has hundreds of dealers and many thousands of items. And Ruby Lane, although one of the biggest online antiques sites, is just one of many. So it is a very competitive market. I want to make sure you understand this before I go too much farther in the discussion.

Too many people think they can list ten or fifteen items and sell three or four of them the first month. It would be like setting up a booth in an antique mall and thinking you were going to sell a fourth of your inventory the first month. The more items you have on a site, the better chance you have of selling those items. So if you need to sell your items quickly, reread the first part of this article.

I like Ruby Lane because they set guidelines and stick with them. Before you are even allowed to open your online store, you are required to send them your first ten items all set up correctly and ready to sell. They want to make sure know how to:

Take good photos

Write good, accurate descriptions

List the item in proper category

Point out any faults an item might have

List the shipping correctly

All of the above things help keep the quality and integrity of the site at a high level. This gives the customers who shop on Ruby Lane, confidence to know they will be getting what is listed and described. They don’t want to get a piece of pottery that has a hairline crack that wasn’t shown in the photos and not mentioned in the description.

Everyone usually want to know how much does it cost to sell on Ruby Lane. At the time of this writing, there is a $20 per month advertising fee for every dealer, no matter if you have ten items are two thousand items. And there are dealers with that many items on Ruby Lane. There is a one time setup charge of $75 which will be refunded if you are not approved. Then there is a thirty cent listing fee per item. After an item is listed, starting with the next month on, there is a thirty cent maintenance fee for each item for the first 150 items, then it drops to twenty cents per item for items 151-1000. So if you have 100 items listed in your store, your monthly fee would be $30 for maintenance and $20 for advertising for a total of $50. Ruby Lane does not charge a commission for sales. You must keep a positive balance in your account to list new items. You can check their web site for more details.

I love all of the data that you get from your site. You get the number of visitors to your site, what items were looked at the most, how long the average visitor stayed on your site and how many pages did they see. Even where they lived is shown. I pay the most attention to the number of item views. This helps me to see the kind of items are being seen the most and to try to list more of those kind of items. If a particular item is getting lots of views, but is not selling, I need to make sure the photos and descriptions are clear and the item is priced competitively. Remember a picture is worth a thousand words, so great photos with proper lighting will help you sell more. The same for good descriptions. Look at the dealers that are the most visited. See how they do it and see if you can do it too. Look under “Relax” at the top of the page and then the “Top 50” and it will show the top visited shops in each category. Also look at the last pages of their shops and see what kinds of items they are selling. Be sure to focus on what is selling and what it sold for, rather than just seeing how much something was listed for. Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay. Ruby Lane or no other site can sell something that no one wants or is priced higher than anyone is willing to pay.

One more selling hint. It is better to list 3-5 items a day than to list 15-20 items once a week. Many people tend to look at what is listed new today. If you only list new things once a week, those people will only see your new things once a week rather than possibly seeing them every day. I found this out through trial and error. Once they see your new things, if they see something they like, most likely they will look at more things on your site. I found that you need at least 50 items listed to increase you chances for making sales. And again, the more the better. Like I said there are dealers with over 2,000 items on Ruby Lane. It must be working or they wouldn’t be doing all that work and paying those fees.

I hope I have given you enough information to help you determine the best place to sell antiques online.

14 Responses to “The Best Place to Sell Antiques Online”

  1. Probably not enough information to reach a final determination, but this is certainly useful and pointing me in the right direction. Your overview of Ruby Lane is more informative than the hours I’ve spent staring and stumbling around their web site.

    Now if I could just find a similar synopsis of Tia’s, GoAntiques and Etsy. And are there others I should be watching for? And then there’s CraigsList, right? A whole different kind of animal.

    Thanks for the tips and the benefit of your experience.

    • Chuck says:

      Hi Sherry,
      RThanks for the comments. I was also a member of GoAntiques for some time. Ieven was going to try both at the same time, but just too much work for me. Different people will like different sites. I will just say that if you are not willing to constantly update with new items, it will not work. I am not active right now because I am concentraing on Internet Marketing and was not adding new products. Tried to teach my wife, but she really didn’t enoy it. I think any of the sites will work if you are willing to study and put in the time. Study the people that are being successful abd try to learn why their sites are successful. As I mentioned in the article, Ruby Lane has a section on “Top 50″ in each category. You can learn a lot by studying the most successful sites.

  2. Julie says:

    I wonder if you still have the same opinion after the fee increase last year and the upcoming 30% listing fee increase? Thanks! (I’m looking around for someplace else.)

  3. elcoco says:

    Much too expensive,they charge for advertisemeni but do nothing for that. overcharged, otherwise nice design and reliable. Most help is as video and not in text, I think theey mean their customers are illiterate…

  4. Jennifer says:

    Hi there- Thank you for your website and great insight and information. I tried to sell on Ruby Lane but they declined me and gave me my money back and deleted my store. I was a pretty disappointed ): I was never told any specific reasons why they did not accept me… Which would have been nice to know. I have been selling Antq/Vtg items on eBay now for almost 3 years and over the years have paid probably thousands of dollars of eBay fees. I am thinking of creating my own website- and will continue to peruse your website here for more suggestions and info. God Bless you and your work~>

  5. Jeanine says:

    I am trying to sell antiques for a lady who has been doing this for years. She is elderly and has many storage building filled with antiques. She is getting to old to work in a shop and ask me to sell for her online. I have managed at buisness before but I do not know anything about selling online or antiques. Lucky me huh. I am giving it my all trying to learn for many sites. I thought about Ruby lane but read a lot of negative comments. She is supplying the antiques and I get half of what I sell. But I am thinking I have to pay for the fees myself. Ebay would be easier to fix prices into product but I don’t want to sell it too low as we neither would make money but with Ruby lane I have to come up with all the fees myself which if I didn’t sell anything I would be working for free. Ouch! So its 2 years later and Chuck I was wondering what you guys are doing now and what you have found to be the best way to sell in this economy. Thanks for your reply.

  6. Jeanine says:

    I am trying to sell antiques for a lady who has been doing this for years. She is elderly and has many storage building filled with antiques. She is getting to old to work in a shop and ask me to sell for her online. I have managed at buisness before but I do not know anything about selling online or antiques. Lucky me huh. I am giving it my all trying to learn for many sites. I thought about Ruby lane but read a lot of negative comments. She is supplying the antiques and I get half of what I sell. But I am thinking I have to pay for the fees myself. Ebay would be easier to fix prices into product but I don’t want to sell it too low as we neither would make money but with Ruby lane I have to come up with all the fees myself which if I didn’t sell anything I would be working for free. Ouch! So its 2 years later and Chuck I was wondering what you guys are doing now and what you have found to be the best way to sell in this economy? Thanks for your reply.

  7. I like doing it myself. Too many scammers on lots of the auction sites. See how I am doing it at http://www.piercetonpicker.com

  8. Ruby Lane is a beautifully designed and well maintained website, but I found sales to be very sluggish and costs per sale very expensive. A more accurate name for the Company should be Ruby Drain as money flows away from your accounts quite easily! While I would love to see serious competition to eBay, which has become the bully of the digital age, it is still the most active market.

    • Chuck says:

      Everyone has a different success rate. Much of it depends on inventory, pricing and many other things. It is time consuming and takes constantly adding new inventory and building up a following. We had several people who bought multiples things from us.

  9. MICHAEL says:

    I finally broke away from eBay,am trying to go on my own.How do I get started as to where people will find me and look at my stuff.I have had several people say I need to link up with different sites,but it seems like no one wants to do that with you unless you have a super big name.Any help you can give me would really, really be appreciated.

    • Chuck says:

      With your specialized inventory of records, tapes, movie items, and similar things, you will need a selected audience. Since I have never sold these type of items I am not much help. I would just try researching the internet and see if there are other places besides eBay to reach that audience. Why are you trying to break away from eBay? I would think that is still the best place to sell your items. Try promoting them with Pinterest.

      • MICHAEL says:

        Ebay used to be a class site, fair to all buyers and sellers. Now they just installed the requirement that if I sell you a record,say $10 plus $4 postage, and you get it and don’t want it I must refund you all your original money (which I don’t mind) PLUS I must pay for your return postage. Now I have a $4 loser. Where is that fair? You realize how many people are going to make a career out of that? I have been in the music memorabilia business since 1977, I know how goofy people can be. I also own a franchise restaurant and I see goofy people every day. Ebay is trying to control every seller they have. A lot of the big sellers have left them and went on their own, and I know others who are looking into what I am doing. Also eBay has decided to remove Pay Pal from it’s main holding company and make it a separate company AGAIN, and you know what that will mean, a bigger cut for them. Just tired of them and their disliking of the people who go out and dig all the stuff up and take hours to list it to be partners with them and they dump all over you.NO MORE EBAY! Wish someone else had the moxie to open up against them. Thank you for answering my question, I’ll keep working the internet and check the site you gave me. Best, Mike

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