F+W Taps Thought Industries to Transform Learning Experience & Engage Customers
Before August 2014, F+W had a number of successful online learning and video subscription sites that offered learning experiences to passionate communities in crafting, writing, and web design. However, some of these businesses were built on technology platforms established years before. F+W recognized the opportunity to consolidate on one platform—one that could not only match what they were doing, but help bring their online learning to the next level.
Thought Industries’ platform offered a highly scalable technology designed to build profitable learning businesses. Additionally, it offered a unique capability to easily package and upsell physical and digital product sales not only within the learning environment but at point of purchase for online courses and videos—a feature no other learning platform offers. This provides learners the ability to purchase everything they need to take a class: the learning content, the book and all the product required. In the first few weeks following a migration, F+W saw immediate benefits that helped further the companies’ mission to educate, connect, engage, and inspire like-minded groups of people.
In business for nearly 100 years, F+W has evolved from print publisher to diversified multi-media and eCommerce provider with more than 30 online stores, each serving niche communities with specialized content and products. As part of the Company’s evolution, it integrated online learning as a means to connect with and engage both consumer and professional audiences.
However, the platforms used for F+W’s school and video sites did not offer an engaging experience nor did it offer the potential for product integration—an important business initiative for the company. Additionally, working from two disparate technologies didn’t make it easy to manage. Their previous platform, being more academic focused, was not conducive for consumer learning. Nor did it offer a customized experience, engagement tools, or data analytics tools. Most importantly the sites didn’t offer a direct-to-consumer purchasing option for goods and services within the video platform.
F+W needed a new solution. One consolidated platform that could offer a seamless transition for current users and subscribers, and one that could be tailored more specifically to F+W’s needs (e.g. the creation of course sessions, so instructors could dedicate one-on-one attention to students).
Thought Industries introduced an all-in-one platform that could host both online schools and video on-demand sites. The platform allowed for not only fully-branded sites, but also a more robust user experience.
F+W needed to move large repositories of content, including thousands of videos, hundreds of thousands of user records, and securely transfer payment data for recurring subscriptions quickly. This would also have to happen with no down time and no loss in revenue capture. Thought industries worked closely to ensure all data and user accounts across 19 sites were accurately migrated from multiple platforms and sources so that the end users could enjoy a transition to the Thought Industries platform without interruption. The transition did not require significant back-end management, and F+W deemed the experience “the quietest migration ever.”
The current sites simplify the process of authoring content while the platform enables F+W to easily create tailored microsites, landing pages, and sophisticated offers and bundles for the product and marketing team to leverage. Additionally, some sites offer built-in eCommerce functionality that make the overall consumer experience that much richer.
With the help of Thought Industries, F+W increased customer value and strengthened its customer relationships. Looking specifically at the numbers, as of October 2015:
- 11 school sites and 8 video sites live on the Thought Industries platform
- Instructor-led courses and seminars in 11 different market categories
- Over 7,800 items in its video library across six distinct categories
- Online education has become a significant eight-figure business for F+W