Over a year ago, we launched the first version of Ryze Rewards. It was slapped together with the software version of duct tape and bubble gum and was our first step toward our mission of helping millions beat debt and build wealth by earning cashback on the things they already buy.
In the 14 months since that first version of Ryze got its first download, we’ve collected feedback from hundreds of early users, hit the drawing board, and now we’re ready to launch the first update of many to come. These updates will enhance Ryze to be better looking, easier to use, more rewarding, and more impactful for the brands and people who choose to work with us.
Let me show you!
The first version of Ryze was built with a dark theme. Some thought this was cool at first, but the majority of folks we talked with simply preferred a light theme. That’s the most obvious change as we update from 1.0 to 2.0 and we agree, this gives us a much cleaner color palette to work with going forward.
Another design element that is evolving and will continue to evolve is our human focused design. Instead of cartoony mascots or abstract sketches of people, we’ve opted to include the smiling faces of real people throughout our designs. Most evident in our new login page, on-boarding flow, and category tiles, this is a trend we’ll seek to continue as our brand language evolves. We are after all focused on building for real people, so we think it makes sense to highlight that. Eventually, we hope to replace all stock images with images of our real users.
In the very first version of Ryze, we didn’t initially have the resources to build a very great on-boarding flow. We thought it was too simplistic, but in actuality, it turned out to be pretty well-liked. It was quick and hit on the important parts.
In this iteration of our on-boarding, we’ve touched up the design, streamlined the process even more, and made the experience as friendly and welcoming as we could. It’s still streamlined and simple, but a step in the right direction to refine and improve the user experience to help deliver that “I get it” moment as quickly as possible.
New Exploration and Discovery of Rewards
This is the most important area we focused on during design and development. Many, many iterations of solutions were sketched, designed, and deliberated on. We had to balance where we are today with rewards, about 160 brands, with where we want to eventually be, well over 1,000 in the next year. We had to focus on designing an experience that was intuitive enough to enjoyably browse through while waiting for an oil change, but with enough depth for those who knew exactly what they were looking for to find it quickly.
With the introduction of new categories and our new filtering and text based search, we’re confident this iteration of Ryze delivers on the experience we need to provide to be an app that’s used by millions each month. Of course, we’re not there yet, but the architecture that delivers this new search and exploration for rewards in Ryze will enable us to scale to new heights.
New Pending and Earned Rewards Logic
To clarify and be more transparent about when rewards are pending, earned, and the cash is ready to be redeemed from Ryze into any external account, we’ve enhanced our system logic for how we attribute rewards to your account.
When you first claim a reward and make a reward earning transaction, this reward will be in a pending state for up to thirty days and clearly shown as such. This allows our team to verify the transaction and starts the clock on us getting paid from the merchant. Remember, as a still bootstrapped startup, we have our own cash flow issues to worry about!
Sometimes, getting paid by merchants can take up to 90 days. Obviously no one wants to wait 90 days for their reward, so we’ve defaulted to 30 days for all rewards. After 30 days, the verified reward will be released as “earned” and that cash will be ready for withdrawal. Over time, we hope to drive this pending delay down to just days.
New Redemption Methods (In Development & Coming Soon)
And speaking of rewards, we want to make it as easy as possible to use the rewards you earn in Ryze for the things that matter most to you; beating debt and building wealth.
First, this will take the form of direct redemptions to over 80 different student loan servicers. Unfortunately, this feature isn’t quite ready for release, but we’re planning to launch this update before the end of the year. In the meantime, you have plenty of time to earn a ton of cash back so when we do launch this, you’re ready to redeem a boatload to your loans when the temporary Covid-19 moratorium expires.
New Local Rewards (In Design & Coming Soon)
You may notice on the Explore page that there are two main header sections. One for Online Rewards and one for Nearby Rewards. In 2021, we’re planning to launch support for merchants of any size in the US to offer rewards on Ryze. For them, Ryze will be the lowest cost, easiest to use, and most technologically seamless way to launch and manage a loyalty program. What Instagram did to democratize photo sharing, we aim to do for Rewards. In the process, this is truly how we can deliver on our pledge to build a stronger economy from the bottom up. This is especially true for hundreds of thousands of small, independent restaurants and retailers facing unprecedented challenges due to Covid.
If you’re interested to help us grow local rewards on Ryze, help your favorite local spots bounce back stronger, and make some cash yourself in the process, please check out the details for the Merchant Ambassador program we’re cooking up.
This time of year, it’s important to reflect on all that we’re thankful for. For our team at Ryze, 2020 didn’t exactly go as planned. Like so many, it’s been hard to say the least… But also like so many, we’re still here. We’re still building. We’re still grinding. We’re still finding a way.
Launching Ryze 2.0 is something we’re very proud of and excited to continue to work on and improve for all our users, current and future. I’m very thankful for this special opportunity to build a company that drives impact, a product that helps its users in ways big and small, and to bring together a team of coworkers and partners that make it all fun. What we’re doing may not be glamorous, but it’s awesome and I love it.
And it’s just the beginning.
Happy Holidays from myself, Tom, and John, and we hope to see you earning tons of cashback with Ryze this holiday season and the many more to come!