engage customers

Activate Your Dormant Customers

No matter what eCommerce brands do, a significant amount of customers end-up going cold. Recently, our Client Success team provided a strategy on improving deliverability and inboxing by implementing a Sunset Policy. It received positive feedback from our clients, but raised questions on remaining users that did not fall into the engaged segments, i.e., dormant users. 

Using an engaged list doesn’t necessarily mean we are going to ignore the remaining customers on your mailing list. Reaching dormant users, in a hard earned marketing list that you’ve spent time and money on, is definitely worth the effort. Marketers should be emailing dormant users to try to win them back. It also helps brands grow their engaged list, especially those who already have a smaller engaged list to begin with.

However, re-engaging dormant users requires a careful and strategic approach that we will show you in this post. Using this will help you re-engage customers that have been inactive with your brand, bringing them back into your customer journey.


Start by determining your Dormant Customers

Before thinking about your dormant customers, we must first build an engaged segment with a few key user actions in mind. This includes actions such as email opens, on-site visits, sign-ups, or recent purchases. If you’ve decided that a 180-day engagement policy is the right Sunset Policy for your brand, any users that are not a part of your Sunset Policy will be considered dormant users. On average, we see a dormant list be 50-60% of a brand’s full mailing list.


Then create a Dormant Segment

Finding your dormant customers will be straightforward if there’s already an engaged segment created. Once we have the engaged segment created, we will need to create a new inverse segment to find all of our dormant customers.

  • Create a segment with 2 filters
  • First will be “Subscribed to Email”
  • Second will be “User in segment”, and we will choose the engaged segment as the value, and it to “False”
    • This will ensure that your dormant segment is consistently updated whenever your engaged segment changes.


Once you have your dormant segment, you should now have 2 segments which contain 100% of your mailable customers.


Begin to activate your Dormant Customers

What we want is to slowly re-engage your dormant customers rather than emailing too many or all at once, which could potentially cause poor deliverability and sender reputation. To prevent this from happening, we will need to break out dormant customers into equal groups. Breaking out your dormant group into smaller segments is very easy by using our A/B testing groups filter.


We always recommend breaking the dormant group into 5-equal segments. Once we have all 5 dormant segments created, it should look like this:


Once this is completed we can start sending these dormant users emails. Here’s our recommendation for emailing these dormant groups:

  • Promotional emails – Whenever you are planning to send out a promotional email, clone it and attach a dormant segment to it.
    • Example: You have a promotional email scheduled for tomorrow. Clone that exact email, add in “Dormant Group 1” as the segment, and schedule the email to go out at the same time as the main send.
  • After you complete the first send, do the same for your next promotional email, but using “Dormant Group 2” as the segment instead.
  • Continue this until you go through all of your dormant segments, and start again back at the first dormant group.


The key benefits of re-engaging dormant users:

  • Win back previously dormant customers
  • Any dormant users that engage with your email will automatically fall into the Engaged Segment, and no longer be considered dormant, which would increase your Engaged Segment list
  • You’ll be able to cycle through your whole mailing list while not hurting domain reputation or deliverability



Dormant users make up a large portion of many eCommerce brands lists, so don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong. With marketers spending so much time and money acquiring customers, it’s worth the extra effort to get them to re-engage with your brand. Without initial planning and segmentation, sending emails to dormant customers can actually have long-term negative effects for your brand. However, if we follow best practices, we get a potential paying customer back into the fold.


Brought to you by Wei Kuo, Lead Client Success Manager

Wei works with some of the best commerce brands at ReSci. He helps brands become more successful by providing highly effective email marketing strategies for both SMB and enterprise clients. Wei worked at companies like Edmunds and Magento.


Feel confused or lost? Want more strategies? Contact the helpdesk, or reach out to your Client Success Manager and they’ll be happy to help!


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