The Financial Sense website is focused on the financial education of the investing public, and provides each investor, no matter their income, net worth, or level of financial expertise, a greater understanding of the markets. Financial Sense's parent company, PFS Group, was interested in evolving the Financial Sense subscriber offering, known as FS Insider. They wished to streamline the platform, create a more straightforward user experience, and provide subscribers with enhanced features such as iTunes access for Insider-only content. PFS Group engaged with the Shimshock Group to make these changes become reality.
After studying the existing environment and gaining a better understanding of the key points of integration, our Shimshock Group team developed a plan for migration. The plan would shift Financial Sense's subscription capabilities from a standalone solution into a model which connects seamlessly with the existing FinancialSense.com website. The approach included the transfer of a large number of existing subscribers and podcast content into data structures which would best fit the site's future needs. Our team also implemented a new purchasing and payment platform, leveraging technology from Drupal, Ubercart, and PayPal, and revised the subscription flow so visitors can more quickly move through the purchasing process. As well, a new membership renewal system was implemented, allowing users to automatically renew and review their FS Insider subscription from their site user account.
Another key component of our work was building an enhanced podcast distribution approach, through the implementation and integration of custom feeds for subscribers. Those who use iTunes and RSS readers are now able to subscribe to paid content feeds at the click of a button, and will immediately receive new Financial Sense Newshour podcasts as soon as they become available. We also further enhanced the Newshour podcasts by providing subscribers with access to their feeds directly on the main Newshour page. This feature allows subscribers to quickly view their personal feed information, while also highlighting the new capability to those who may be unaware of the iTunes and RSS functionality.
Prior to the implementation of the revised membership solution, the Shimshock Group also enhanced the Financial Sense site's user experience and stability through the implementation of various caching, performance tuning, and high availability strategies. Since these changes have been in place, the site's responsiveness has been excellent, and there have been no outages or downtime. The Shimshock Group also developed a long-term strategy checklist for performance enhancements. The concepts identified in this list can be pursued in the future as the site's traffic, interest, and podcast listeners increase.
The changes we have made to the Financial Sense subscription services platform has led to a significant reduction in customer service issues, strong subscriber retention, and a more streamlined experience for both site visitors and Financial Sense staff. Our work also provides a solid foundation for allowing PFS Group to continue to enhance and extend subscriber features in the future.
The Shimshock Group's vision, planning, and technical delivery skills were essential to the success of our subscription system upgrade. The new platform is much more stable, streamlines the purchasing process, and has reduced our customer service issues. We've also really enhanced the subscriber experience by having Financial Sense Insider content directly available on the site and through iTunes. We would not have been able to accomplish this project without the talents of Ron and his team.
-- James Puplava, President & CEO, PFS Group