This article originally appeared on Elite Franchise Magazine:
Love it or loathe it, technology continues to advance. And in terms of consumer behaviour, it would seem the general public love the convenience of technology. In 2020, it’s estimated that 20 billion apps will be downloaded in the UK alone*.
Brands that fall ahead of the curve by facilitating the customer experience through the simplicity of an app are revolutionising the franchising industry. In today’s era, offering customers a service as convenient as simply logging in to purchase and item or book an appointment is a fundamental component of successful business. Franchisors are well aware of this essential progression, especially in the consumer marketplace, and so are taking the necessary steps to develop the technology, for the ease of their franchisees.
It isn’t just app services or online portals that make a franchisee’s life easier. The appeal of a franchise business model is the support provided by the franchisor and the custom package of tools provided as part of the franchise fee. Before investing in a franchise, it’s imperative that you consider all factors and benefits of the package on offer. Ascertain whether or not you’re provided with all the right tools for the job, before signing on the dotted line.
Here’s a handy list of questions to ask the franchisor before making your decision.
- What tools am I equipped with as a franchisee?
This can account for all manner of management tools, to initial training and ongoing events and conferences. However, it’s the brands that go above and beyond for their franchisees that stand out from the crowd. Take note of any franchisors that have established innovative processes, such as digital management software, to ensure the seamless operation of their model.
Just Cuts, for instance, has integrated numerous digital systems for the benefit of their Franchise Owners. Their state-of-the-art POS system, JustOnline, houses all marketing and communication tools, and is accessible from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. Franchise Owners can see what is happening in real-time in their salon, with the ability to message their Stylists directly. It also alerts Franchise Owners to any news updates, Client queries and stores all consumer behaviour analytics. It’s the Swiss Army knife of franchise management tools!
- How do you ensure these tools are updated regularly?
A good franchisor will invest in digital tools for the benefit of its franchisees. A great one will continue to revisit and renew those tools, as often as deemed necessary. It’s the nature of the beast - technology progresses so quickly, it’s often outdated as soon as it’s released to market. However, a quality franchisor will factor this in when rolling out anything new, whether that be a customer app or a new training programme. Ask for evidence of updates to all elements of a franchise model – when were the company brand guidelines last updated? How long has it been since the pricing structure has been revisited? It goes without saying that any digital tools should be refreshed and updated as often as possible, but this rule stands across the board.
- What strategies have you established to ensure the longevity of the brand?
Brands that account for the constant advances in technology and demand from consumers are worth the investment, simply because that’s going to make your life a lot easier in years to come.
At Just Cuts, they say their franchise could be delivering hamburgers just as easily as haircuts because of the processes they’ve put in place. Of course, in their case these processes also include those to ensure the salon experience flows as smoothly as possible, rather than ensuring the consistency of a milkshake. Their client-facing app allows for our customers to register for the next available appointment online, meaning there’s no need to pop in to the salon to ‘check-in’ in the traditional sense. A text service then alerts them when it’s almost their time in the Stylist’s chair, meaning they can get on with running errands and living life until their appointment. This simple-to-use app also hosts a bonus scheme, whereby clients can collect points for money-off vouchers - encouraging repeat custom and loyalty.
David Mathie is UK General manager at Just Cuts. He has 19 years’ experience working in the hair and beauty industry and heads up Just Cuts in the United Kingdom. A Just Cuts Franchise Owner himself, David has spent the past five years running national operations for Just Cuts in Australia and New Zealand. He has an intimate understanding of the Just Cuts system and brand.
“If you’re considering more than one franchise, then ensuring you’ve asked these questions - and have been offered satisfactory responses - will make for a simple decision once the time comes,” adds David.
For more information about franchise opportunities with Just Cuts, visit www.justcuts.co.uk
*Statista, 2019, Number of apps downloaded in the United Kingdom (UK)