Creative freelancers can wait up to 90 days to get paid by their clients. Lumanu has a feature to pay creators early, aptly dubbed EarlyPay, but they weren’t returning after their first experience with the feature.
How can we optimize EarlyPay to increase
Lumanu is a finance and invoicing app moving money in the creator economy. This project took 3 weeks.
Product manager and tech lead for mobile pod
Customer experience specialist
Creative professionals often have to send invoices to clients that will get paid out in 30, 60, or even 90 days. When a creator invoices through Lumanu, they can take advantage of a feature called EarlyPay where Lumanu pays them within days of sending the invoice, rather than having them wait the full invoice term.
Users raved about EarlyPay, but there was one problem-- according to usage data, only 32% of creators who got EarlyPay once in the last 3 months received it again on a subsequent invoice.
EarlyPay usage funnel
The team had already identified certain improvements to the existing EarlyPay process that would increase usability– namely, allowing creators to request EarlyPay straight from the app. However, we didn’t know whether the existing EarlyPay process was indeed the root cause of poor repeat usage.
Current EarlyPay process
I partnered with one of our customer success specialists, Haley, to investigate why 67.6% of EarlyPay users weren’t receiving EarlyPay a second time. We created a 2-part research plan to uncover different facets of the problem.
We want to understand why users have accepted or declined EarlyPay after already having accepted it once.
Implementation: We sent a 9-question survey to the cohort of users who only accepted EarlyPay once.
We want to understand the context behind a user’s decision to accept or decline EarlyPay, and how their first impression of the feature shapes their experience.
Implementation: We spoke to 8 creators who took our survey to dive deeper into their survey responses.
Findings (and a plot twist 🤔)
After two weeks of research, I set about analyzing our data using visualizations and qualitative coding. This resulted in 3 primary findings that would influence our brainstorming work.
The primary factor stopping users from requesting EarlyPay a second time is the 2.9% fee.
Creators mentioned that for invoices with smaller amounts or shorter due dates, the fee wasn’t actually worth it.
Users want insight into the EarlyPay process before and after requesting EarlyPay.
7/8 of our interviewees were surprised when EarlyPay took as long as it did, and 6/8 indicated that they wanted more communication about the status of their EarlyPay request during the process.
The secondary reason users aren’t accepting EarlyPay a second time is because they aren’t getting EarlyPay offers from the Lumanu team.
Wait... what?! – was my reaction when we saw this in the data. I segmented our original funnel data further and noticed something new– the biggest drop-off happened between receiving EarlyPay on a one invoice, and then sending a second invoice. If a creator doesn’t send an invoice, they can’t get an EarlyPay offer.
Our findings suggested a few approaches we could take to solve our repeat usage problem, in and out of the app. After some brainstorming with Haley, I presented the proposed interventions to our product manager and Payments team. We discussed the time and effort required for each one and ultimately decided to incorporate 6 of them – highlighted in green in the chart below – into our new EarlyPay designs.
Make the EarlyPay fee seem “worth it” on invoices that had smaller amounts or shorter due dates.
Increase education about EarlyPay before, during, and after creators go through the process.
Make the internal EarlyPay process less manual and more efficient for our Payments team.
Bringing ideas to life
I started my design process by building on the sketches I created during our brainstorming session. Over the period of a week and a half, I iterated on the screens and flow with critique from the design team and frequent check-ins with my PM and engineering lead.
V1, V2, + V3 - Timeline UI explorations which got cut due to scope
This collaborative working period resulted in a new, self-service flow where creators can request EarlyPay and view their request status in app. Although originally out of scope due to timeline, I was able to advocate for a light feature onboarding flow so that creators would know what to expect when using EarlyPay for the first time. I also worked with our PayOps team to streamline text and email comms related to EarlyPay and establish a 3-day maximum EarlyPay processing limit.
Creators can request EarlyPay on any invoice sent from Lumanu, and check on the status of their EarlyPay request in-app. Because the primary goal for this screen was to draw attention to the CTA, I used brand colors and placement on the screen to make the "Request EarlyPay" banner stand out.
EARLYPAY STATUSES IN-APP
Before the re-design, creators felt that they were left in the dark about the status of their EarlyPay request until PayOps reached out to them manually. Now, creators are notifed as soon as their request status changes.
I also worked with our PayOps team to create a 3-day processing time limit as creators mentioned waiting on EarlyPay approval for weeks or sometimes even a month.
FEATURE ONBOARDING and FEE REDUCTION
The majority of creators we spoke to wanted a more accurate understanding of EarlyPay before using it for the first time. I created an onboarding flow which also included a tip on how to reduce fees. As discussed above, fees were the top reason creators weren’t coming back to EarlyPay. Although not originally included in scope, I was able to work with our PM and engineers to add the flow into our timeline.
6 weeks post-launch, we could see a marked improvement in EarlyPay retention and revenue. Within 6 weeks, we had an almost 41% retention rate compared to the 32% over 3 months that we started with.
revenue generated in 6 weeks of launch
↑ 150.46% increase
average amount of time from EP request to payout
↓ 67% decrease
EarlyPay requests paid out in 6 weeks of launch
↑ 126.23% increase
retention rate in 6 weeks
↑ 26.2% increase
But wait! What about the plot twist?
Earlier in our research, we found out that the second most common reason creators weren’t coming back to EarlyPay was because they weren’t sending more invoices. But Rishma, you didn’t include any of that work in this case study!
Worry not. Luckily, my team was concurrently working on building out major invoicing improvements based on prioritized user feedback from another study. Check them out by sending your next invoice on the Lumanu app!