One of our Year End Wrap-up Blogs. Others include 2022 Year in Review, 2022 Availability Report, Company Strategy, TicketSignup 2022 Product Recap, RunSignup 2022 Product Recap, and TicketSignup Product Roadmap. Also, here is our 2023 Roadmap Webinar.
We are very excited about the coming year of advancements we have planned for our endurance customers using RunSignup and our RaceDay products. Customers can expect better websites, email, image support, store/add-on, clubs, renewals, financial options, RaceDay products and a bunch of behind the scenes improvements to infrastructure and our devops processes. More features, easier to use, giving better marketing capabilities, and saving our customers time and money.
Next Gen Website
One of the strategies we embarked on when building the TicketSignup product was to introduce next gen sets of technology components that we could migrate into the RunSignup product. The Next Gen Website capability we have in Tickets will come to RunSignup events in 2023. We already have some of it running under the covers, and will introduce it much like we did the Next Gen Email in 2022 – as an option with limited capability early on, then add more capability. Once we have enough capability, like displaying all the system pages like Results, Fundraisers, Find a Participant, etc., then we will offer a way to have a “New” website and an “Old” website. We will provide a capability to “switch” all of your existing URL’s to the new and back. This will allow customers to migrate at their own pace.
We have plenty of other features coming to the new websites, including analytics and additional components and improved SEO options.
Next Gen Websites has begun offering an Image Gallery of images we supply to events. These can be used wherever you want to put an image on your website, and we will add more during the year. We will also move this gallery to the Next Gen EMail system to use as well.
We also plan to save images that events upload, much like a WordPress website does. We will be offering a way to share those images across all the events an organization owns. In addition, we will be advancing all of our image editing capabilities.
Next Gen Email
In 2023 we will retire Email V1 and switch to the Next Gen Email system as the sole mechanism to send emails. You will still have access to emails sent from the old system, but will not be able to send from there so we can retire that code and high maintenance costs.
We have some fun plans for the email system in addition to adding the Image Gallery. One of the primary features we will be adding early in the year are “Pre-Built” emails. These will provide a full template of text and images that customers can use to do common tasks like pre-race emails, registration opening emails, etc. These will make it easier for our customers to communicate with their participants with less overhead.
We also hope to build out more powerful, multi-step “Customer Journeys” that allow for multi-step sets of emails to be sent depending on outcomes. For example, you might send an email to everyone in your contact database to tell them to sign up for a race when it opens, and then wait for a week and send an email to everyone who did signup to remind them to refer friends for rewards, and remind those who did not signup yet they still have time.
The big, strategic feature we will be adding this year is enhanced Contact List Filtering. We have built a contact deduplication capability into our system that is very advanced (for example, matching all the Bob Bickel, Bobby Bickel and Bob Bickle’s into a common contact via a dozen different algorithms using hashes for privacy). On top of that we will build a new set of filtering capabilities to build email lists using all the data you have access to. For example, create a list of all people who have run at least 3 of your events and donated over $100. Or all people who have volunteered at least twice, but are not members in your club. These capabilities will give customers the type of power expected in high end CRM systems, only for free and without the overhead of customization.
Race Renewals Renewed
We will be bringing a new renewal process to race renewals. In addition to a more modern interface, it will include better options for inventory carryover, copying of all parameters of features, as well as options to turn on some of the easiest and best marketing capabilities like Referral Rewards and Incomplete Registration Automated Emails and Price Increase Automated Emails.
New Questions Dashboard
We will be releasing a new Questions dashboard page. Any event who has a lot of questions will really appreciate this one.
We are working with Sidekick Solutions to build an open Zapier integration that will allow for simpler integration for some customers. Sidekick will also be offering custom integrations that customers can contract for with them. We are currently in a beta program with them and a handful of early customers to test this capability out.
Next Gen Clubs / Memberships
Yes, it is FINALLY coming in 2023. Much of the underlying database has already been upgraded, and the new wizard is more than half done. We still have the new dashboard to do, and then plug in the various next gen components we have built like Websites, Email and Store. We are shooting for at least a Beta release by the RRCA meeting at the end of March. Of course the next gen features will bring some immediate improvements for clubs, but there will be a lot more things we want to do like improved renewal emails and automation with saved credit cards. We will also have improved membership imports and an API.
The new membership system will have the familiar features that allow races to give discounts to members, and encourage signing up for a membership while they are signing up for an event. We will bring that over to the TicketSignup product as well.
When coupled with the Zapier integration and the new membership import capabilities, there is a potential for large customers who have their own membership system to import those members into our system to allow for discounts to registration and ticket based events. This could be useful for gardens and zoos for example over time. So we expect the use case for our membership system to grow considerably over the coming years from the current use in running clubs.
Next Gen Store in RunSignup Registration
We currently have two ways to sell items in RunSignup Registration – the stand alone store, and as registration Add-ons. When we created the ticket platform, we learned from some of the lessons in races, and built a next gen store that does both things in one system. In addition, we have built a warehouse capability that allows common items (like a hat) to be sold across multiple events. That will require quite a bit of work, but hopefully we can fit that in this year. We will also need to improve the shipping capabilities in the new store, but that might not happen in 2023.
We have made some nice improvements recently across our various checkout pages that improve usability and are optimized for mobile. We have more in store for 2023:
- ApplePay Payments
- GooglePay Payments
- Simplified Credit Card saving (although this is easy on races, it will mostly improve the ticket experience. But that will be useful for our customers who have both races and ticket events)
Low Cost Participant Insurance
We will be introducing lower cost participant insurance in April. This will enable lower cost races to offer more affordable insurance options to their participants. We have worked to make sure that races will also be able to receive 20% of the revenue from the insurance that runners purchase – creating a new revenue stream for our customers.
Invoicing and ACH
One of the nice features we have in RunSignup is the ability to create an invoice. However, it is difficult to find, and works differently for Sponsorships than other places. We will be doing an overhaul of the Invoicing system, and then adding an ACH payment option for transactions over $1,000.
Infrastructure and DevOps
You can review our Availability blog for all the details (and watch us brag about only being down 4 minutes in the past 7 years in spite of 2,000 releases per year where our customers get upgraded between clicks). We have been doing a bunch of upgrades to make sure we stay fast, secure and reliable for our customers. In addition, we are super excited about the amount of testing and increasingly automated testing we have built into our system. This will allow us to continue to scale the release of features our customers depend on.
The products below are a strategic investment for our company. We want to make the race experience great, because that is the core of having a successful event. Our ambition from day one is to allow a 50 person 5K to have access to similar capabilities that the NYC Marathon uses – and we have largely succeeded. This is due to writing great software, and having a large network of timing partners who know how to make race day special.
RaceDay Scoring and The Race Director
In 2015 Roger Bradshaw joined RunSignup and brought his wonderful software and engaged community of timers who use it for their core business of timing and scoring races. Roger is still with us, and insists he is no where near retiring – he loves timers and the team he gets to work with daily at RunSignup. When we first introduced RaceDay Scoring several years ago, we had a long road ahead of us to catch up with all the functionality Roger had put in his software over the previous 30 years. In 2022, we fully caught up, and surpassed the functionality of The Race Director. The software is stable, easier to use, has more capabilities and is fully ready to have timers move over from The Race Director (and other older software if you want!)
We have set the end of 2023 as the end date for full support of The Race Director. What this means is that we will no longer guarantee that we can support things like new releases of operating systems or new features and integrations. Essentially, we would like for timers to move to the newer software. However, it is very likely that Roger will continue to hang around and do some maintenance on the software if it is really needed – but we can not guarantee that. Anyway, you will see RaceDay Scoring continue to advance while The Race Director stays pretty static at best.
And we have some big plans for RaceDay Scoring. One of the things we have been working on is optimizing the code and data structure that will allow us to support the largest and most complex races. We will also be making more minor improvements thruout – reporting, scoring double dual XC meets, additional lap race updates, BQ reports, improvements in participant-event mapping, and more.
The app is in pretty good shape now, though we plan to add some new features. For example, we will add a results mode, as well as a mode that allows for checkin and checkout to be used in a medical tent, UX improvements and Membership integration.
We expect to make some significant improvements to the UX of RaceJoy to modernize the app and make it easier to use. We also will be doing some upgrade work on the back end – the part of the system that resides in the cloud that does all the communication. We also want to bring additional integration between RaceJoy and RunSignup Results and RaceDay Scoring Results.
Mobile Timing App
We want to continue to monitor user feedback, but we have things like better landscape mode support, especially for tablets. We also will take a look at seeing how we can improve this as a replacement for Time Machines and filling in gaps of functionality over time. It will also get some UX love to improve usability with more common UX components with the other apps in our suite.
As you can see, we have many ambitious projects to complete this year. And of course there are a hundred more that our customers will bring to us to help improve the product. As always, we will keep you updated on our progress to bring our customers the best platform for endurance events.