As recently as ten years ago, many franchisees and franchisors were in a state of absolute survival mode.
As the post-2008 recession impact continued to ripple throughout the economy, there weren’t many business sectors that were thriving. The franchise industry was no exception to this rule.
In general, consumer spending had shrunk, causing countless franchisees to struggle. This, in turn, made it quite difficult for franchisors to pitch investments to prospects during those times of economic uncertainty.
Before the onset of COVID-19, the franchise industry had done more than just bounce back from the 2008 recession. In fact, it was thriving on an entirely new level. A lot of this had to do with key technological developments that work to provide a safeguard for franchisees and franchisors in the event of an economic downturn.
A lot of these are definitely paying off in the present day.
With that said, let’s take a look at the top five most important technological advancements that have changed franchising in 2020 and beyond.
1. Advanced point of sale technology
The advanced point of sale technology currently available provides benefits that go far beyond simple, quick, and easy payments. This is particularly true when the POS is coupled with additional technology options, such as integrated accounting and automated marketing.
For example, when you combine new POS technology with a powerful automated marketing system, you’ll be able to quickly determine how often each customer comes into the store. Knowing this information will allow a franchisee to back-market at the right intervals that will keep bringing regular customers in more often.
Another example is a POS system that comes equipped with a CRM that’s built right in and fully integrated into accounting software such as QuickBooks. This gives both ends of a brand’s ownership team critical insight into the individual store’s key financials.
The best software groupings assist franchisors and franchisees in getting a better sense of when, why, and how a store performs well or not so well. It will offer key data that can also be utilized by the franchisor for a highly detailed Financial Performance Representation.
2. KPI (Key Performance Indicator) tracking
The KPI is one of the most critical pieces of data sets that a franchisor must continually monitor. After all, a common fact in the industry is that the overall franchise is only as successful as each franchisee.
New key technology platforms for KPI tracking have made things more effective and simpler than they’ve ever been.
It’s absolutely critical that the franchisor has quick and detailed insights into the KPI’s of every franchisee. The software is now available that allows real-time visibility.
This technology not only allows a franchisor to monitor the overall health of their entire franchise system, but it allows them to provide fast support to any location that requires it.
For example, if the franchisor needs to send out a support representative, they’ll be able to easily follow-up by tracking marketing spends, initiatives, and recommended tasks.
This holds the franchisee more accountable by allowing exact observable details about how impactful each site visit is.
3. Social media
Social media was in its infancy back in 2010. Today, the huge rise of this powerful technology has had a celebrated and dramatic effect on all types of B2C marketing. Successful franchises have been using these tools in a number of ways.
Possibly the most powerful tool that social media provides is what’s known as geofencing. This allows a franchisee to promote offers to nearby customers at any given time.
This drives a franchise marketer into creating and capturing impulse buys like never before in history.
Social media marketing is all about engagement. And there are tons of tools in this technology, such as Snapchat filters, that can help you build an engaging brand by making people laugh and have a good time.
A brand that’s able to do that, while also providing top-level services and products, are going to come out ahead of the competition.
However, the benefits of social media are not just limited to marketing to consumers. The savviest franchisors have figured out ways to use social media platforms to open opportunities within their overall development strategy.
Ten years ago, social media platforms were just beginning to make a marketing impact in franchising. Today, using them in creative ways has become absolutely essential.
4. Online ordering and mobile applications
Mobile options have gone from a perk to an expectation for customers in 2020 and beyond.
Take-out restaurants, for example, that don’t have fast and easy online ordering options will quickly get overtaken by competitors that do. But this doesn’t just hold true in the restaurant or foodservice segment of business.
And the many values or mobile applications apply to operators as much as they do to consumers.
Online platforms and apps will save franchise owners money on staffing needs while simultaneously offering next-level flexibility to consumers to buy, schedule, and order.
The benefits for consumers and operators are very significant.
Look at Sport clips online booking systems as an example. A customer can quickly check in on their mobile device and not have to wait in any lines for their haircut.
Orangetheory offers consumer-facing applications that track their appointments while allowing their guests to track progress with every session.
5. Back end management
New inventory management technologies have closed the all-important unpredictability gap that so many industries have traditionally struggled with. This is particularly true in foodservice, where profit margins are very tight, and minor losses can destroy the bottom line.
Brand new software technologies now allow restaurant owners and other segment operators to achieve comprehensive control and granular insights over inventory, as well as so many other back end operations.
Franchisees don’t have enough time to do everything they need to do to manage every aspect of their business. When they spend less time manually calculating trends and tracking inventory, it opens them up to better interactions with customers and new growth ideas.
Take advantage of new technology in franchising
If you haven’t yet taken advantage of the new technology trends in franchising, there’s no better time than now to start looking deeper into your options.
The long-term success and growth of your franchise will depend on it.