Inactive email subscribers are still valuable customers, reports MailChimp in an analysis of 6.6 billion sends through its platform that included 60 million e-commerce purchases and 40 million email addresses from retailers using its list segmentation and automation e-commerce features. Inactive subscribers were found to outperform non-subscribers across key metrics such as order frequency, retention rate and order value.
MailChimp looked at purchases from the retailers it tracked and determined if those purchases had been made by active, inactive or non-subscribed customers. (The analysis appears to have been limited to e-commerce purchases as opposed to in-store also.) An email address was considered active if it had opened or clicked on an email in the prior 6 months, whereas an inactive address was one that had been sent a campaign but had not engaged with it.
Across the key retail metrics examined, subscribers (active and inactive) proved to outperform non-subscribers. For example, they ordered 25-27% more frequently, spending 6-8% more than non-subscribers. (In each case, the higher figure actually applies to inactive subscribers.)
The retention rate was considerably higher for active subscribers, who were 38% more likely than non-subscribers to make a follow-up purchase. Nevertheless, inactive subscribers were 26% more likely than non-subscribers to make another purchase, another indicator of their value.
Subscribers accounted for about 45% of all the retailers’ revenue in the analysis, with 37% coming from active subscribers and another 7% from inactive subscribers. In other words, active subscribers accounted for 84% of subscriber revenue despite comprising a smaller share (61%) of recent recipients.
Overall, in comparing revenues from active and inactive list segments across retailers, an inactive subscriber was worth almost one-third (32%) of an active subscriber. As such, re-engagement strategies are encouraged as opposed to pruning inactive subscribers from lists.