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Mon June 24 2013 17:14:31

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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This is probably going to be controversial, but let's do it anyway. Do you prefer men or women as buyers? Is one vs. the other more high-maintenance, or picky? Do you make more sales with one vs. the other? Or, maybe you don't notice much of a difference either way?

The reason I ask is I've given the matter some thought. The answer actually isn't simple, as my answers rarely are. With some types of things I sell on eBay, I find men to be "lower maintenance." On the other hand, with those same types of things (that would be items of clothing), women are my bread and butter.

However, if I were selling something like vintage car parts, I might find more men who are exacting collectors and pickier about items, or more inclined to return them.

I went through a phase of selling a lot of (men's) golf shirts, and the men who bought them rarely had a problem or complaint. In fact, I don't think they asked a lot of questions, if any. These golf shirts were both pre-owned and new, but none of them were big-ticket items. It reminded me of a man who likes to go into a store with a no-fuss attitude - wait, scratch that - not necessarily *likes* to go into a store. But the conventional wisdom is a man just wants to get in and out of a store, buying his item quickly. To paraphrase the movie "Stripes," "We zip in, we pick up the hostages, and we zip right out again...it's like going into Wisconsin."

The women's clothing I sell is generally higher-end, so it is understandable that I'd get more questions from women about those garments and accessories. "Is that color really navy?" "What are the shoulder-to-shoulder measurements?" "What season is that from?" "What is the strap drop?"

I get more returns from women. This is also understandable, again, as I sell more women's clothing than men's. Sometimes, though, something weird happens. I sold a pair of shoes to one lady. I never heard anything back from her. Months later they were returned to me, with the address marked as not valid. I am not sure why that happened or why the woman didn't make sure she got her shoes; I was never able to track her down.

I've also had a woman swear she did not receive a necklace I shipped, even though the USPS tracking showed it as delivered.

On the other hand, one of my pickiest buyers is an Amazon-er who collects books; a man. He may be picky, but he's a good customer. But, if we are going to compare Amazon and eBay customers, that would be a whole separate discussion!

How about you? Do you find one gender more easygoing than the other when it comes to online sales? Or different in some other way? Or does it depend on your product? Post a comment or share your stories here!




Comments (46) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Jun 24 19:12:25 2013

Approximately 80% of my orders come from women and 20% from men.

The following pertains to about 15% of my sales (a much higher percentage than it used to be pre Ho).

Virtually all complaints come from women, and most of them are without factual foundation.

In more than 13 years selling on ebay, I find that nearly all problem customers are women.

Men typically explain clearly and unemotionally and usually courteously why they're returning an item.

About 50% of my problem female customers engage in personal attacks, make false accusations, want to return things they broke because they failed to read and follow instructions, and leave unfair feedback/low DSRs.

High maintenance customers of either sex make my BBL quite quickly. In 13+ years, only two man have made this list post sale and that because of a death threat ebay refused to do anything about and the other came from competitor's son (ebay also refused to do anything about that, either).

Conversely, if user IDs are any indication of the user's gender, then it's I think it's easier to spot potential male customers by the nature and tone of their questions.

There are many, many lonely people,  some mentally ill, and substance abusers out there using the internet and specifically ebay to punish strangers for their problems.

Discerning in one thing. Pathologically picky, personal insults, extreme rudeness, etc. to the point of complete unreasonableness is quite another.

Fire away, ladies. This is just been my experience.

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

by: walrus2646 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 24 19:26:32 2013

My 16 years with eBay coincide with Ming's synopsis.  Fire away females - truth hurts.

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Mon Jun 24 19:28:04 2013

Interesting question and Ming offers some insights not commonly discussed.  

Are eBay customers more ''high maintenance'' than buyers from other venues?  

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jun 24 20:44:13 2013

We prefer selling to men. Sorry, but as Walrus said, truth hurts.

Most of the problems that we have had are with women. Women can get highly emotional and are often downright mean.  I'll take a male buyer over a female buyer any day.

Most issues with men are resolved quickly and without emotion.

Sorry, but you asked, and this is our experience. With clothing, fit is more of an issue with women than men and even though you may have described the item perfectly and given the measurements down to the exact inch, if the woman does not like the fit, it will be your fault.

One more thing, if a woman has a user name with any variations of words like sexy, diva, princess, hottie, etc. there is a 99% chance that there will be an after sale issue.  

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Jun 24 20:50:31 2013

Ebay buyers are indeed high maintenance compared to other venues.

Ebay has made them so, but it's always been the case because of the cozy culture ebay created early on to foster trust.

It's just a whole lot worse now than it's ever been because ebay created, promotes, and encourages rudeness, unreasonablness, e theft, extortion, and many other forms of buyer abuse of sellers.

Algorithms shouldn't determine who the bad buyers are.

But ebay is too damn cheap and dirty to do anything really substantive about bad buyers including hiring employees to make common sense decisions.

It's all lip service.

Do you think Amazon allows the kind of buyer verbal abuse, theft, and extortion directed to ebay sellers on the Amazon venue?

More and more ebay buyers seem to have been born and raised in sewers.

Ebay makes it too easy to abuse the faceless person on the other end of nasty emails and unreasonable, often falsified complaints.

Thank you, Brian Burke. You can leave with The Ho.

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

by: Casey2u This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 24 20:56:45 2013

Look, sellers,

If your descriptions are incomplete or non-existent, your tone threatening or defensive, your photos too few in number and/or of poor quality, then you deserve all the "mental health problems" that come your way.

Sellers who discriminate between men and women are not spending their time fruitfully. This question is gossipy and lazy.

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jun 24 21:10:36 2013

Casey2u, before you go off all half cocked, the article asks what our preference is.  Our experience is our ACTUAL experience, and this has formed our preference.  

Moreover, it is not discrimination.  Discrimination would be a notice on one of our listings that states that we do not want to sell to one or the other sex.

Our listings have complete descriptions, plenty of clear sizable photos of excellent quality and we have no unpleasant tones in our listings.  Don't know why you assumed all that just because folks here are being honest.  

I have found that on eBay you can do everything by the book and with great perfection, but the "mental health problems" will still come your way. We don't have this problem at all on Amazon.  Would love to add your eBay ID to our BBL.

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Jun 24 21:19:24 2013

Look, Casey2u:

My descriptions are quite complete with large photos, thank you, and my tone with customers is neither threatening nor defensive until pushed to the wall post sale.

Even then, I make no threats that I'm not prepared to carry out of any or made at all which is usually the case.

No one is discriminating against either sex. But I'm going to block anyone - male or female - who I believe would be a problem because these potential problems could cost me my business because of ebay's seller killing open case and DSR policies.

Those I block pre sale is based on more years of selling and customer experience than you've probably spent on this earth.

Before The Ho and Brian Burke began their reign of terror against sellers, I didn't use preemptive blocks. I was seldom wrong in my pre sale evaluations based on the type and tone of questions.

Most experienced sellers know exactly what I'm talking about.

It's often a matter of survival.

Although still a minority on ebay, far too many female customers feel incredibly entitled and consider themselves to be so incredibly special they need not follow any policies at all and treat sellers with disrespect and condescension.

I discriminate against jerks whether they be male or female.

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Mon Jun 24 21:22:19 2013

Shoot - I'll take any buyer that is civilized: men, women & everything in between.

Once had a guy buying a dress - had Mr. Basset try it on to see how the shoulders fit so I could report to the buyer. We've been married over 30 years - Nice Mr. B is SO supportive of my business!


The two worst most memorable buyers I've had were men. One took to stalking on AOL IM - Way back when we used our emails for user ID's.

He has the distinction of being the first person I ever added to my BB list.


The other guy was totally mental, in an off the meds giddy deranged diatribe sort of way. Kept hinting he knew where I lived - that sort.  

And Geez - he had already left positive FB! THEN he turns mental on me, go figure!


My biggest issue with a woman really occurred several years ago. Like Ming said, some folks are so isolated and have no one to talk to. I became the recipient of long emails from someone who really had some serious problems going - not the least of which was being potentially suicidal - having apparently attempted it a couple times. Not going to go into all the issues but she eventually found Facebook, which took my place as an outlet. Best thing FB has ever done for me!

Otherwise a sale is a sale. No preferences.

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

by: MADandCracked This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 24 23:30:41 2013

I can't believe that ecommerce bytes is even asking this question!! Next you'll be saying "Do you prefer White, Black or Mexican buyers". Shame on you eb!!

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue Jun 25 00:14:35 2013

@MadandCracked

This topic has nothing whatsoever to do with gender, age, sexual orientation, race, national origin, or religion.

It has to do with our experience as sellers which gender presents the most problems.

It has nothing to do with discrimination.

It has to do with survival. I think that's been made perfectly clear so I will ignore your manufactured offense.

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 00:17:50 2013

Sadly, women have caused more problems for me-especially on Amazon. Seem they like to buy then want to return due to change of mind.
Not a problem on ebay due to the very very few sales.  

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

by: MADandCracked This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 00:32:26 2013

@ Ming ... Of course it has to do with gender! In what world do you live? I really don't usually even read your idiotic comments, but since you added @ my name, I did. Silly me ... I know better.

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

by: valuegroup This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 01:37:45 2013

I sell two groups of products, one sells almost exclusively to men and the other to woman. In my 47 years of selling I prefer selling to men. For the most part men make the purchase and move on about their business. Woman seem to not read descriptions as carefully resulting in more misunderstandings and problems after the sale. Woman are more concerned about shipping costs even when I am losing money on the shipping. I sell about the same amount to both genders but have far fewer problems with my male customers. To those who are offended by this question (I think mostly woman) to me it is purely a business question nothing more and shouldn't be taken personally. We are far too PC these days and should be more honest in the questions we ask and the answers we give.  

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Jun 25 04:05:59 2013

I have a good mixture of male and female customers, but I'm confident that the majority is probably women.

For me however, the toughest problems I have ran across have been from men.  


It has been my experience that the most verbally abusive buyers have been those that state how religious they are in one breath and then in the next one rip me to shreds in the next statement.

I mean no disrespect to any person or persons of any religious belief.  I have just seen this time and time again.  For some, they just seem to think that if they state how religious they are they feel it then gives them free license to state whatever they want.  Not sure why.

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue Jun 25 04:07:42 2013

It has nothing whatsoever to do with GENDER DISCRIMINATION.

It has to do with statistical fact, madam!

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

by: Just My Humble View This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 04:26:18 2013

About 80% of the items I sell are male-typical items ... B & I tools & tooling, automotive replacement parts (both new and used), but I also sell collectibles (vintage and antique) and media items. Until a couple of years ago, the balance of my customers was more 50/50 between male and female. I do not sell clothing, so maybe that affects the difference in our experiences.

I've found that men tend to be more difficult and volatile than women.

While female customers may ask more questions, or be more ''emotionally involved'' in a return, they are also generally gracious once they find there won't be a huge argument or hassle from me.

On the other hand, I've had two VERY frightening experiences with men who threatened to track me down and do me physical harm because I had the audacity to say ''I'm sorry you were disappointed with your purchase - please return the item for a full refund''. The other one discovered I'd blocked him after he sent abusive emails because he didn't like the shipping cost and method I planned to use for a heavy, expensive tool (UPS). He sent an email threatening that he would have friends and relatives purchase from me and ''cause me problems''. Men also tend to hold the seller responsible for the USPS time to deliver an item -- even with tracking proof I shipped the same or next day.

I have never had women do these things.

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 05:17:46 2013

Correct.  If you sell dress, you will have mostly women.  If you sell tools, you will have more men.

Agree.  Most cons are men.  They are not only thieves, they are coersive.
I watched them pillage sellers for months and months.  

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Nolle

Tue Jun 25 06:59:15 2013

i think it says more about the seller than the buyer.

i'll bet that if i showed you the same complaint email to 20 sellers, and told 10 it was a man and the other 10 it was a woman, the perception of the buyer would be different.

man or woman, a scammer is a scammer.  an honest person is an honest person.  

Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?   Do You Prefer Men or Women Buyers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jun 25 07:46:08 2013

When Ming used the word statistically he/she hit the nail on the head.  About 85% of the items we sell are for men, and we still have more issues with women.  It is just what is.  We have many, many wonderful female customers, but statistically, we have had more issues with women.  

I wish someone could tell me how this is discrimination.  And before anyone goes on a tirade go to the dictionary and look up the word discrimination.

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