2020 Fran Dev Trend: Embrace Technology Wholeheartedly
When many of our favorite established franchises got their start, they couldn’t have imagined the impact technology would have on their businesses and brands. Technology has allowed franchisors to efficiently scale their businesses, streamline business operations, and provide support to their franchisees – all with significantly limited manpower.
Long gone are the days of manually operated cash registers and desks stacked with accounting documents. Today, franchisors are turning to technology not only to improve business but to make their franchisees’ lives a little bit easier. And who couldn’t use a little help, right?
To keep up with the demands of their customers, franchisees are looking for more advanced technological offerings from franchisors. As we continue to explore the hottest franchising trends of 2020, let’s dive into how you can implement technology to attract franchisees and effectively manage businesses across your market.
DIY Software and Platforms
Many companies are creating proprietary management systems and software to provide value to their franchisees. These tools can be used to help franchisees manage day-to-day operations, from accounting to inventory, keeping them organized and on point with brand standards. Whether your ideal candidates are experienced multi-unit investors or new entrepreneurs, they will be excited by the ability to automate processes and streamline operations.
Online platforms can also provide franchisees with a space to connect with other franchisees and create relationships that help them improve their own businesses. Enable collaboration by building chatrooms, posting questions, and allowing franchisees to create professional profiles.
Continuous Learning for Franchisees and Employees
We’re willing to bet your support team tends to receive the same kind of questions time and time again. Well, why not create learning materials that answer these questions for franchisees? Your team spends less time on the phone and franchisees get instantaneous answers; it’s a win-win.
Design training materials that help usher franchisees through different stages in their businesses, from the initial opening to increasing sales two years in. You can even create online courses that enable franchisees to test their aptitude on various subjects.
This type of system can also work for franchisees’ employees to continuously update them on new procedures, products, and processes. This year, we’re seeing some companies gamify training to keep employees engaged while inserting a little fun into onboarding.
There’s an App for That
There’s an app for almost anything. Want Pad Thai delivered to your door? There’s an app for that. Interested in tracking your sleeping habits? There’s an app for that. Need a new recipe? You guessed it. So, why not have an app for your business?
Depending on your category of business, your app can provide conveniences to customers that also work to better their engagement with your brand. Retail stores may allow online purchases, QSR businesses can offer in-store pick up orders, and service-based franchises can enable members to book online. Not only can this improve the overall customer experience, it can also automate processes and free up time for employees.
Like Something Out of a Sci-Fi Movie
We’re used to seeing artificial intelligence in movies like iRobot (big Will Smith fans here), but in 2020 AI is no longer a thing of the future. And, today’s AI is not nearly as nefarious. In franchising, AI is already being used for tasks like tracking inventory and forecasting customer behavior.
Voice assistants also continue to grow as a popular mode of search for consumers. In fact, a reported 70% of people use some kind of voice assistant, like Siri and Alexa. This technology can be implemented into franchisee-facing software or consumer-facing apps to enhance the usability of these programs. And we’re almost certain that your phone or computer isn’t going to take over your mind… almost.
Tech in the Not So Distant Future
Forward-thinking and future-minded franchises will be the most poised for growth as technology continues to advance. In our humble opinion, it’s important to explore the ways in which you can integrate useful tech to attract franchisees and maintain customer loyalty. But please don’t blame us if your tech goes all Transcendence on you.