There is no doubt that franchises do an incredible amount to help their franchisees, whether that’s providing business support and sharing key information to offering training and access to their trademarks and branding. Unfortunately, what many franchises often lack in providing is a unified payments system.
The pandemic saw many quick service restaurants (QSRs), which are very often franchises, adopt a hybrid model of payments acceptance. This has seen them partly taking in-person orders and payment in the restaurant, and partly doing so via delivery apps or websites.
There has been a level of standardisation for payment processes, with this mainly being seen in large franchise brands now being able to mandate things like eWallet acceptance – even before the pandemic we saw an increase in cashier-less terminals used by QSRs. However, such standardised processes are outnumbered by outlets using a patchwork of payment systems which, instead of being put in place by the brand, are often down to the individual franchisees to decide.
This means that many franchisees are therefore tasked with integrating and installing Plug & Play solutions, delivering a reliable omnichannel approach, and making sure that all customer journeys mirror their parent brand, as well as providing a value-added service to their customers. Here I explore some of the main issues this could bring, and how they can be addressed:
Embrace Economies of Scale
Franchises do not process all of their franchisees transactions together, instead, each franchisee will process all of their payments internally as an individual company. Of course, this will cut into their profits, particularly if their online and offline payments are processed separately. To solve this issue and to reduce the fees charged per transaction, transaction flows should be combined. Therefore, by processing every payment from a country’s franchises at the same time, both franchise and franchisees will benefit from economies of scale.
Standardize Payments Technologies
Often, franchisees are not provided with their own point of sale (POS) systems and other vital pieces of technology so they end up having to pay full retail prices for these essential items. However, without any form of quality control from the brand, franchisees are not able to guarantee the same checkout experience as their counterparts at other locations. With 79 percent of customers stating they would not shop with a business again if they had a negative experience, there is little room for error.
By allowing a number of different systems, the franchise will be unable to form any technological support and so staff will need to rely on third party advice. Calling out specialists can add a significant amount on top of any initial purchase costs, but, regardless of price, this process is inefficient and time consuming.
Instead, it makes sense for technology to be set at franchise level and standardised throughout the business. This will again enable the franchisee to benefit from economies of scale when implementing new systems, as well as benefitting from accessible technical support, and customers can enjoy a better overall experience with the brand.
Unify Online and Offline Experiences
The majority of transactions made are digital – 5.2 billion people all around the world were using digital payments in 2020, a jump of 25% from 2017. It is clearly important that franchises make sure that the customer journey is cohesive and that regardless of how or where customers pay, whether that’s online, offline or between different franchise outlets, they should have an experience that it is fast and in fitting with the franchise’s brand. Therefore, instead of having systems split, a good solution would be to implement a brand-down omnichannel approach. This would mean that any time a customer interacts with a brand they will be provided with the same experience, removing confusion and unfamiliarity for customers.
A Single Onboarding Experience
Franchisees are often left to onboard themselves and their employees, but this can cause inconsistencies between outlets when it comes to payment processes. For example, if an employee was to move to another franchise location, they may find that they need to be retrained as there is no standardised training given from the brand. Advanced partners such as Worldline can offer an online portal to ensure that all stores get the training they need for their franchise and their staff. Using a partner who can provide dedicated content, onboarding and reporting tools, and support teams will ensure the entire process is as smooth and streamlined as possible.
Taking Franchises to the Next Level, Together
Franchises provide a very appealing business opportunity for thousands of small business owners as they are rewarded with the freedom that comes with running their own business but using a structure that has been proven to work. At a time when small franchisee businesses have been economically impacted due to the pandemic, there is opportunity for franchises to step in an offer standardised and centralised technology, whether it is the hardware in their stores or the cloud-based software backing it up. Although of course this could be a costly and difficult process, the right payments partner can make it a seamless and effortless transition.