Waitlisting Users

Two shots of the Receipt Hog app

Native Mobile


Receipt Hog is an app that rewards users for uploading qualified shopping receipts and completing surveys. It has several in-app currencies. Coins are the most valuable currency. Coins are traded for cash rewards ranging from $5 to $40. This app has the broadest appeal and largest user base.

A curated set of users comprised the B2B side's purchase panel. The purchase panel's shopping and survey data was foundational to the B2B product.

The Users

Regardless of demographics, app users should make trips to physical stores, have paper receipts, and like free money.

Users applicable to waitlisting were either:

1. Of over-represented demographics (over indexed in the panel)
- OR -
2. Of under-represented demographics (under indexed in the panel)

User needs:

  • Getting into the app
  • Earn free money
In this case business needs were prioritized over user needs.

Problem + Goals

The cost of rewarding users was reaching an unsustainable level and the number of users with over-indexed demographics was growing. Waitlisting certain users was the chosen solution.

Waitlisting goals were:

  • Reducing long term costs.
  • Filling demographic gaps in the purchase panel.
  • Minimize negative reviews.

The Feature

I started by looking at other apps who waitlist (e.g. dating apps) and thinking of how to explain why there's a waitlist. A fairly mature onboarding flow is below.

Gating Flow

I believed it was important to be upfront about the waitlist. The user should have an idea of what to expect and believe it's worth the wait.

Onboarding messaging focused on:

  1. Receipt Hog is an exclusive community.
  2. Millions (this is true) of dollars have been awarded over the years.
  3. You will be added to a waitlist.

Based on the user's information, we determined their probability of being an under-indexed demographic. Users with a high probably skipped the queue.

Flow showing gating experiences

Signing up can be as quick as 2 steps:

  1. Tap on Sign Up.
  2. Join using Facebook.

I made custom graphics to make sign up look friendly and encourage users to start the flow.

Screen where the user picks sign up or log in
Users are given heads up about a waitlist and learn millions have been given away over the years.
Screen where the user can sign up using FaceBook
We directed users to sign up using FB to capture all essential demographic info.
Screen where the user can learn more about the waitlist
Users can learn why there's a line by tapping "Why a line?".

After signing up with FB or manually signing up, the user is either placed in the waitlist or skips the line.

Screen telling the user they are waitlisted
Waitlisted users end at this screen. They are told they are waitlisted and given a general next step.
View the user sees if they skip the line
Users who skip the line see a congratulations message and proceed into the app.


No Takeaways?

Waitlisting achieved both business and product goals. As expected, most waitlisted users would abandon, while some would contact support about getting in. App ratings remained high. Waitlisting worked so well we could afford to deprecate other apps.



I was the only designer on the team so I led all things design-related. I created the flow and drafted the messaging.


I could have fought harder to give access to eager users on the waitlist. Unfortunately the reality was that such users would continue to bloat costs and not help the B2B side.

This was a case where I felt people expect me to be a champion for the user, but I didn’t want to because of business reasons.

Regardless, this experience pushed me towards focusing on B2B marketing work to help increase sales.