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In a world that’s constantly adapting to new technology, procedures, and consumer behaviors, franchisors need to stay abreast of developments that can improve their operation. In 2018 the top franchising trends are focused on consumer purchasing behaviors and franchising recruitment.
With the internet’s rise to power, we have also experienced a rise of purchasing power for consumers. As the internet allows free access to an entire portfolio of suppliers for any item from anywhere in the world that has internet access, consumers are now realizing that they don’t have to settle for local products/services. This directly increases the number of competitors in your market, thus increasing the need to stand out.
The two biggest trends that are enabling franchises to stand above the rest of the competition are personalization and information. You can personalize your website to show specific content to a particular type of customer or persona, which increases the chance they see and buy something they like. You can also personalize your products/services to fulfill exactly what the customer wants. To give you a great example of a franchise doing this, just think about how you can choose every aspect of your 6-inch sub at subway.
The rise of information is driven by the shift to online purchases. With brick and mortar stores you can speak to sales colleagues and often view the product before purchasing. Excluding online live chat and AR technology which enables you to see the product in 3D, online stores cannot provide the same customer pre-sales services. To combat this, franchises now understand that they must provide the information upfront. This has given rise to online blogs, forums, product specifications, FAQ’s, reviews and testimonials to enable customers having the answers to all their questions, without needing to ask them.
They’re more avenues for marketing than there ever has been, and this looks to only be increasing. The days of tv, newspaper and billboard advertising covering 90% or more of a franchises marketing budget has ended. With new technology, comes new ways of marketing to your target market.
The top trend in the franchising market is utilizing the power of social media to your advantage. One method of social marketing could be a beauty vlogger leveraging their 100k twitter followers to demonstrate a new product for a health & beauty franchise. Another is creating a social group on Facebook to discuss your products, show customizations and generally just offer a platform for any topic that involves your products.
An often-overlooked trend of using social media is utilizing customer feedback to increase sales. Social media is a great platform to outlet your objections, disappointments and feedback to franchises about their products and services. Even though this may appear negative, if you have a strong social media team they can transform this negative appearance into a positive buying opportunity. By replying to customer problems, you show you care about their opinion and are trying to resolve them for the future. You will also find that if you have a good product, you will receive positive feedback as well. By answering negative comments and demonstrating many positive comments, consumers will feel more comfortable buying from your franchise.
This may seem that social is the only answer to an effective marketing strategy, but this isn’t true, especially for franchising. With location sharing enabled on most devices, the ability to advertise to your target market in specific locations has never been easier. As you can target specific territories, you can engage a local community with relevant content that is targeted towards them to increase their likelihood to purchase.
This is particularly interesting for franchisees as they will only operate in their territories. This will likely lead to a franchisor focusing on improving a franchises online presence whilst franchisees can conduct effective local marketing to attract the others that are out of the scope for online marketing.
With each generation, you will find a shift in what’s important for them in terms of their employment. This impacts franchising on two levels, firstly this generation may become aspiring franchisees, the other is that they might become an employee of a franchise unit.
If you have a potential franchisee that is from generation z, you will find they can seem more demanding in terms of the flexibility of the opportunity. For generation z, a big focus is to achieve a healthy work/life balance. With the countless studies on the subject and the fact remote working is easier thanks to technological advancements, flexible working is a trend that will only continue to grow. Franchisors need to understand how to facilitate this with their opportunities to receive the best new applicants from generation z.
If you own a franchise unit and want to recruit members from generation z, you need to appeal to what they want from their employment. With the continuous advancements in every field, becoming a true expert before your 30 is incredibly hard, purely due to the amount of information available on every subject. Generation z are aware of this and understand that to achieve a higher salary later in life, they need to focus on training and development now. This trend now means your employment opportunities need to have enough aspects of training, development, and support to successfully recruit a member of generation z.
These are the top trends impacting franchising in 2018, but all of these will likely be around for some time, meaning you should adapt your approach as soon as possible to receive the maximum benefit. If you are slow to adapt to these trends, you will risk missing out on a lot of opportunities and chances are the next trend will be a development of these, meaning it will be harder for you to adapt to subsequent trends.
If you would like to know more about franchising, then we suggest you read one of our many informative articles on our news section - Franchise News