We’ve learned an immeasurable amount since launching the first version of Ryze in September 2019. To all those of you who have downloaded, signed up, used, and then gave us feedback since then, thank you so much. We could not be doing this without you. I joke about this (and most things) but we are literally doing this for you so any and all feedback is extremely helpful.
If Ryze doesn’t meet your expectations, tell us. If Ryze isn’t compelling or useful, let us know. If you have an idea for how we could make Ryze better, I’d certainly like to hear it. You have a direct line of communication to me in the app with our chat feature, so let me hear it!
Since September, we’ve been diligently collecting feedback and designing the future of Ryze. We’ve spoken with over 150 users directly, conducted a survey that gave us some great aggregate feedback, and have been reviewing app store and usage data almost daily.
Here’s What We’ve Learned:
- We need to give a stronger first impression. The signup, set-up, and overall on-boarding experience on Ryze needs improved quite a bit. We need to make it faster and easier to understand so all users are confident in their decision to download and use Ryze.
- Ryze needs to have more rewards. This is the most common thing we hear by a wide margin and I totally get it. The more rewards we have on Ryze, the more useful and compelling our app will be for everyone.
- We need to make browsing and searching for rewards delightful. We need to make the entire experience around finding rewards, claiming rewards, and earning those rewards seamless and enjoyable for its own sake. Ryze should be a joy to use.
Now of course I could write pages and pages more about all the intricacies of our product and our insights gained at each stage, but these three big things capture the essence of what we need to achieve with Ryze to build an effective and successful product.
Here’s What We’re Doing About It:
Firstly, We’re working on switching the data provider we use to link bank accounts to Ryze. In our first version, we partnered with Yodlee for this. Frankly, this experience has fallen short of expectations and has been slow and confusing for some. To rectify this we’ll be switching to Plaid and spending a lot of time refining the essential parts of connecting an account to Ryze and getting personalized recommendations for rewards that are relevant to you the moment you complete on-boarding.
Secondly, the most consequential thing we’re doing to enable more rewards on Ryze is building and launching a Ryze for Merchants self-serve website in the first half of 2020. This website will allow any merchant of any size to join Ryze and start a reward campaign within a matter of minutes. This means your local coffee shop, favorite place to get pizza in town, and guilty pleasure street meat vendor could all be offering seamless rewards on Ryze.
To help us grow our local merchant base and reach those sorts of restaurants and businesses, we’ll also be launching our ambassador program to reach restaurants and retailers in dozens of cities and build the best side hustle in America. You can start applying for that today and be among the first to spread Ryze and get paid for it.
Additionally on this point, we have about 100 rewards live in Ryze at any one time, but we also have 58 other brands who have already committed to offering rewards on Ryze as well as dozens more in our pipeline waiting to commit. With the additions to our team, I’ll be able to get more of these rewards live faster and catch up on the backlog. I will also be spending a lot of time chasing down the long list of requested brands I’ve gathered from users.
Finally to this point, we’ll also be adding redemptions to Great Lakes, Navient, and FedLoan Servicing in the first half of the year.
Third, To make browsing and searching for rewards better, we’re working on a complete overhaul of how we present merchants and campaigns in Ryze. We’ll be unifying search on the merchant level with greater filtering for active or non-active rewards, category of the merchant (home goods, clothing, etc), online vs nearby availability, and the amount of the reward. We’re also beefing up the main rewards slider on the homepage of the app to give you more reward options right at the top of the app. A shoddy mock-up of one of our designs for this slider is below. We call it the 3Fs.
Just Getting Started
These top three main lessons and the changes described here just scratch the surface of what we’re planning to build with Ryze. Currently in our product road map for the first half of 2020 alone, we have 23 additional large projects or features to build and launch, each with its own underlying complexities and kinks to iron out. On top of that, we have huge goals for growing the number of merchants who choose to work with us to offer their loyal customers rewards that matter. We also need to get Ryze on the phones of thousands more people so they too can earn rewards to beat debt and build wealth.
Needless to say, Caleb, Tom, John and myself will be having ourselves quite a busy year.
If you’re interested in earning seamless rewards to beat student loans faster (and eventually much more), download our app on iOS or Android and be a part of this journey with us and help us spread the word on Ryze.
If you want to explore joining our team to will a better future into existence for yourself and millions of others, you can always shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to introduce yourself and how you could help us.
Thank you, everyone. Let’s Ryze.