Nov 30, 2023 3 min read

FAQ: Outpost Failed Payment Retention Flow for Ghost

FAQ: Outpost Failed Payment Retention Flow for Ghost

Q: What is the Outpost Failed Payment Retention Flow?

A: The Outpost Failed Payment Retention Flow is a system designed to retain paying subscribers who may not know their subscription lapsed due to a failed payment. When a subscriber's payment fails, Outpost steps in to help them update their payment method, significantly reducing churn on your paid memberships.

Q: Why is reducing churn important?

A: Reducing churn is crucial for a subscription business.

Customer Retention is Cost-Effective: Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. By reducing churn, you're effectively saving money that would otherwise be spent on customer acquisition.

Increased Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): When customers stay subscribed for longer periods, they provide more revenue over their lifetime. This increased CLV is a direct boost to your business's profitability.

Sustainable Growth: High churn rates can negate your growth efforts. Even if you're acquiring new customers, if the same number (or more) are leaving, your net growth will be zero or negative. Reducing churn ensures that your customer base grows steadily over time.

Customer Loyalty and Advocacy: Customers who stay with your business for longer periods are more likely to become loyal advocates for your brand. They can provide valuable word-of-mouth marketing, which is often more effective and credible than traditional advertising.

Opportunity for Upselling and Cross-Selling: Existing customers are more likely to purchase additional products or services from your business. By reducing churn, you maintain these opportunities for upselling and cross-selling, which can significantly increase your revenue.

Q: How does the Failed Payment Retention Flow work?

A: The system extends the subscription period slightly for paying subscribers whose payment method couldn’t be charged at renewal time. It then sends them a series of emails asking them to update their card/payment method. If they update their card, the flow stops. If not, the subscriber’s subscription is ended.

Q: How can I set up the Retention Flow?

A: You can set up the Retention Flow in the Outpost Control Center (OCC). Go to Autoresponder -> Failed Payment Flow.
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Here, you can set the duration of the flow, customize the emails,control how many emails are in the flow, and turn on the flow. Remember, the big On/Off button at the top must be turned ON for the flow to work.
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Q: What kind of reporting and data can I expect from the Retention Flow?

A: Outpost’s daily reports will provide information on when a subscriber with a failed renewal payment gets a retention flow email, when they update their payment, as well as open rates/click rates on each email. Cumulative stats on how well each email is working are available in the OCC.

Q: What happens if a subscriber goes through the flow without updating their payment?

A: If a subscriber doesn't update their payment, they revert to being a free subscriber and are given two labels: FormerPaidSubscriber and failed_payment_ended_subscription_DATE. You can use these labels to send an email to former subscribers if you want to offer them a deal to return.

Q: Are there any specific settings I need to be aware of in Stripe?

A: Yes, there is a crucial setting in Stripe you need to ensure is set correctly for this system to work.

  1. Go to to Settings in Stripe
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  2. Under Subscriptions and Emails:

3. Go to "Manage failed payments for subscriptions" and scroll down to Subscription Status. Under "If all retries for a payment fail," choose "mark the subscription as unpaid."
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If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out to us at

Ryan Singel
Ryan Singel
Ryan Singel is the co-founder of Outpost. He's a former journalist for Wired, the co-founder of online recommendation company Contextly, and a Fellow at Stanford's Center for Internet and Society.
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