Purging Disengaged Subscribers

Most of your subscribers will follow the same path: subscribe to your product, receive shipments for a while, and eventually cancel their subscription for any number of reasons. Sometimes a subscriber’s payment will fail, and with several failed payments in a row, that particular subscription gets classified as disengaged.

It’s important to handle these disengaged subscriptions so you can keep an eye on the overall health of your business.

What is a disengaged subscriber?

There isn’t one industry-wide definition for what a disengaged subscriber is, but it always boils down to: a disengaged subscriber is a customer who lost interest in your business. This usually takes the form of failed payments.

At Ordergroove we have separate definitions for disengaged subscriptions and disengaged subscribers, as a customer might have multiple subscriptions. We define a disengaged subscription as a subscription that has 3+ consecutive failed orders, and a disengaged subscriber as a customer where all of their subscriptions have 3+ consecutive failed orders.

We recommend sticking to consecutive failed orders, and not a set timeframe - for example any subscription that has not shipped in three months. Subscriptions might have a longer frequency, three, six, or even twelve months, so the time between orders is usually not a successful way to qualify for active subscription status.

Disengaged subscriptions are not automatically removed from our database, which is why regularly removing them is critical to your overall program health.

Why is it important to regularly purge disengaged subscribers?

Disengaged subscribers throw off your analytics, and make it harder to get an accurate read on the health of your business. Keeping inactive subscribers around can cause key metrics such as Order Processing Rate to decrease significantly, increases in failed orders, and an inaccurate reflection of the program's total subscribers and subscriptions.

What does purging disengaged customers mean?

When we refer to purging disengaged customers, what we actually mean is Ordergroove will provide you with a list of subscriptions that have 3+ failed consecutive orders. From there, it’s up to you how you want to handle them.

We can quietly cancel the subscriptions with no email notifications sent out, or we can loudly cancel the subscriptions so your subscribers do get notifications. Many merchants decide to quietly cancel subscriptions and run a win-back campaign at the same time offering a discount if the subscriber updates their payment method.

Purging disengaged customers does not delete any subscriber or subscription data.

Note: This article discusses purging individual subscriptions, a customer might have multiple subscriptions and some might be still active, take a look at the example below.


Let’s say a customer Barbara Smith has 3 subscriptions - subscription A, subscription B, and subscription C. Subscriptions A and B are both tied to an active, current credit card. Subscription C is tied to an expired credit card.

After 3 consecutive failed orders, subscription C would appear in your dormant cleanup file, tied to Barbara’s Merchant User ID, or Customer ID. The cleanup export looks for three consecutive orders failing on the subscription level, so it's still including customers who may have other active subscriptions tied to their profile.

This is why the export pulled Barbara's information associated with subscription C, even though Barbara has 2 other active subscriptions at this time. Subscription C is tied to an expired payment method, so Barbara’s subscription C still qualified for the disengaged clean-up.

Purging disengaged subscriptions

Purging disengaged subscriptions is easy, Ordergroove will send you a spreadsheet and once you confirm the contents, we’ll get to work.

  1. Submit a support ticket with your CSM cc’d requesting a dormant subscriptions file.
  2. Ordergroove will pull the report and email it to you. Open up and double-check the file. Remember that the dormant file list disengaged subscriptions, so a customer with multiple subscriptions might appear on this list. When you spot-check the file, take a look at the individual subscriptions not the subscribers.
  3. Send Ordergroove an email confirming you want to cancel these subscriptions. Let us know if you want to silently or loudly cancel the subscriptions.
  4. Optional - These cancellations can be part of a larger win-back strategy. A number of our merchants have sent out emails offering additional incentives if customers update their payment method. This is ultimately controlled and sent out by you, but we can offer help composing the email with best practices.

What analytics are affected by a purge?

You will see a decrease in your total number of subscribers and subscriptions, but these will not affect the overall GMV of the program. Over time we expect to see improvements in Order Processing Rates and in the count of successful orders placed per month.

Overall, the removal of disengaged subscribers contributes to the overall health of your program and accuracy in reporting results.



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