By Taylor McKnight
Franchises help business owners maximize profits by providing the benefits of volume and efficiency. However, efficiency is hard to achieve without the right technology. Understanding the importance of technology in franchises is a key starting point for making the most of every dollar spent, every hour worked, and every plan that’s put into action. Keep reading to learn about the six crucial pieces of tech every franchise needs.
The Unique Role of Technology in Franchises
A franchise has different technology needs compared to an independent business because franchise tech needs to be adaptable and scalable. Under a franchising agreement, a parent brand grants a person or group permission to sell branded products or services under a franchise’s name. While licensing specifics can vary by franchise, the general idea is that a franchisee pays a fee in exchange for the rights to the name, branding materials, products, and trade secrets needed to open up a branch or location. Franchisees then pay a percentage of the profits back to the parent company.
How Technology Enhances Franchises
The right technology can add value to every task performed at a franchise. Ideally, a good piece of technology is actually going to be performing multiple functions at once. For example, communication technology that a franchise uses to push promotions out to customers won’t just “send the message.” This technology will also track engagement to help a franchise determine when messaging is successful. Franchises can also use communication technology to learn about customer habits and behaviors.
Technology’s ability to increase efficiency and productivity can truly have a make-or-break effect. Technology can help franchises to keep locations properly staffed using historic and real-time data to anticipate busier times of the day. This concept also applies to keeping items in stock and planning deliveries around high-demand periods. Let’s not forget that the right technology can also simply help franchises to streamline daily operations to create better experiences for both customers and staff members. Using large pools of data, technology can help parent brands and franchisees pinpoint the most efficient methods for completing tasks without cutting corners, hurting quality, or compromising on safety.
Six Pieces of Technology Every Franchise Needs
Integrating technology into operations can seem daunting. Which pieces of tech are essential for franchises on the rise? Here’s a look at the systems driving the biggest franchises today:
- Digital Payment Systems: Customers are looking for reasons to say “yes” to a purchase. When a franchise offers limited payment options, customers face obstacles that can force them to say “no” instead. Digital payment options that allow for contactless payment, digital wallets, and installment options keep franchises competitive.
- Good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software: This isn’t just about sending out automated emails! CRM software for franchises needs to connect to other tech tools related to marketing, ordering, and promotions for dynamic communications.
- Internal Project Management: Franchise-wide project-management software allows a manager or employee at one location to tap into brand-wide rules and practices for operation. A dynamic “live” online manual can include quick answers on procedures, best practices, compliance, and more.
- A Quality Point of Sale (POS) System: POS software should do more than just process customer transactions. Tech-minded POS systems actually use each transaction to collect and analyze data points that help franchises make better business decisions using real-time information and predictive analytics. In addition to being important for inventory management, an efficient POS system also helps franchises to create customer profiles that nurture relationship management.
- Surveys: In order to constantly improve customer experiences, some franchises are turning to AI-powered survey tools that generate customer feedback. These surveys can even be integrated into POS systems to create real-time insights during each in-person visit.
- Cloud Communications: Cloud-based training programs ensure that franchisees, managers, and employees at every franchise location are receiving uniform training. Additionally, cloud-based asset management provides a way for parent companies to conduct ongoing meetings and training across multiple locations without the need for stakeholders to constantly travel to meet in person. Virtual training sessions and onboarding for new employees also ensure that franchisees and location managers don’t have to take time out to conduct orientation every time there’s a new hire.
- Automated Temperature Monitoring (BONUS): This piece of tech is specifically for franchises that sell food and beverages. Busy employees can’t always detect outages or malfunctions in freezers, refrigerators, and warming apparatuses. Automated temperature sensors work around the clock to ensure food safety. They can also save a single franchise thousands of dollars in lost products using early detection.
While the human touch can never be replaced in the customer experience, the right technology can free up resources to help employees provide personal attention. These six pieces of tech for franchises potentially represent millions of dollars in savings and growth for the average franchise. The exciting thing is that today’s tech is often designed to be 100% scalable to the needs of a brand!
Written by Taylor McKnight, Author for Franchise Direct UK