Ecommerce Confidential: What Shoppers Want, And In What Channels

Ecommerce brands have a s time-honored tool for engaging consumers: email, judging by Ecommerce Consumer Behavior Report, a study from nine Shopify sponsors with contributions from ShopifyPlus. The question is: Are they using it based on zero-party data based on behavior? 

Email is actually “liked” by 53% of consumers. Another 29% are neutral, and 18% dislike it. 

In contrast, SMS/text is liked by only 12%, with 28% saying they are neutral. And 60% dislike it. Accordingly, the study urges brands to reserve SMS for loyal customers. 

“As a more intimate channel, keep your SMS focused on your most-engaged customer base — not everyday visitors. And, every message must be personalized and relevant to keep those customers interested long-term.” 

Facebook also does poorly versus email: 24% like it, 34% are neutral and 43% dislike it.

And phone calls? Forget it: Only 2% like them, while 93% dislike them. And 5$ are neutral. 



And shoppers do want personalized communications: an impressive 71% will share personal information about their likes, preferences, needs, etc. to get recommendations that meet their needs, and 26% are very likely to do so.  

Indeed, ecommerce brands should learn who their customers are by collecting “zero-party data on their demographics, behaviors, likes, dislikes, pain points and preferences,” it says.

This is critical as the pandemic eases: 52% feel their shopping behaviors will change once COVID-19 is no longer a factor, whereas the remainder say they won’t. 

That could swing either way: Such a behavioral shift could be a swing back toward brick-and-mortar retail.  

What do consumers want from brands (and presumably from email messages)? On a scale of one to 10, on a weighted average:

  • Free shipping — 9.31 
  • Product reviews — 8.49 
  • High-quality images showing products — 8.20
  • Free returns/money-back guaranteed — 7.06
  • Live chat with customer support — 6.85 
  • Personalized recommendations — 5.99
  • Being able to join a loyalty program — 5.43
  • Education on how to use products — 5.25 
  • Virtual consultations — 4.05
  • The ability to purchase products in bundles — 3.41 
  • Subscribing to get automatic refills — 1.95

Consumers are open to buying from brands they have never used before. They include:

  • 78% of beauty consumers
  • 84% of apparel consumers 
  • 75% of food and beverage consumers 
  • 80% of home goods consumers
  • 64% of electronics consumers

At the same time, 45% of apparel and accessories buyers do more than half their purchasing online, while 27% do from 50% to 75% of purchasing online and 18%, from 75% to 100%.

All the talk about food delivery services notwithstanding, that category shares the bottom rung with home goods: 14% of shoppers in each vertical purchase from 50% to 75% online, and 9% do from 75% to 100%. 

What keeps people from finalizing online purchases?  

  • Want to try or test the product — 24%
  • Need it immediately — 23%
  • Too expensive — 14% 
  • Can’t find the right product for them — 13%
  • Don’t trust the brand selling it — 13%
  • Don’t trust the reviews — 10%
  • Other reason — 3%

The group surveyed over 1011 consumers and asked them 12 straightforward questions. The sponsoring Shopify Plus partners include Octane.AI, Klaviyo,, Refersion, LoyaltyLion, Spently, Okendo, Daasity and Rewind. 

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