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E-commerce & Franchises: A Closer Look

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Whether you’re looking for a Xmas gift, or a great Black Friday deal, you’re more likely to use your laptop or phone. The available technology is simply too tempting, and tailor-made to understand our shopping habbits. In a nutshell, Internet is transforming the shopping experience.

As a matter of fact, Electronic commerce or e-commerce is phenomenally growing all over the world, following  the lead of technology and the wide spread of the Internet. The urge is promting all parties involved within the “trade ecosystem” to adjust their business models accordingly.

Henceforth, not only buying goods and services but simply carrying out financial transactions online is one click away. Forget the wire transfer and endless paperwork; it’s a VISA & Paypal’s (or shall I say Crypto) world, and holds no spot for old-fashioned paper money. Powered by Internet and the availability of electronical payment options, shopping nowadays overcomes geographic limitations, mobility, and time. And Franchises are not immune to the distrubance in the shopping status quo, with its all-screen and all-mobile consumers. They are eager to seize these new digital tools and use them to fuel their development. Let’s dig deeper.

Woman on laptop

"You can't do well unless your franchisees do well." -Richard Cole

The rapid growth of online and multichannel commerce has naturally hammered the organized commerce and franchise networks. Knowing that such networks greatly rely on the concession of a limited territory to their affiliates, Internet is sort of pushing boundaries, as we know them.

In the era of the App-based shopping, the online payment processing, the "whenever I want, wherever I want" mobile consumer, the conventional store-with-a-sassy-clerk is fading away!

Testifying on behalf of Norauto (car repairs, accessories and parts), part of Mobivia group, Hervé Degardin, Business process and coordination manager shed some light on the way in which his franchise makes use of the Internet, first as a“façade”, then to showcase all the services provided, and finally as an e-commerce website. For him, "the question of being or not being on the web no longer arises, our Internet customers oblige us to be present, and we must provide the best response to their requests".

People using technology

Over the years, the Norauto website has integrated more and more features online. It is now possible to book, and pay for an item on any franchise website, then fetch it in a preferred repair center, or simply home. This requires the stocks to be well kept and the databases to be centralized, and especially perfectly up-to-date. This has led the brand to completely rethink its logistics, pushing the limits of innovation a step further. "It is now perfectly necessary to deliver unique parts, in a short time, in different places, from any franchise. This is the customer's choice."

Formulas to find in collaboration

The USA, the country that gave birth to franchises, is leading the path when it comes to connecting franchises to e-commerce. But assessing profitability can be a little tricky. As a matter of fact, franchisors must evaluate the costs, which may vary depending on the sales channel, and location. It is also necessary to train versatile teams around IT savvy, a deep understanding of the web (designer, integrators), and trade that is the core business of the franchise.

It’s fair to note that what has initially been perceived as a competitor to traditional franchises (i.e. e-commerce) is now an essential complement. It allows franchises to increase brand awareness, and to attract new customers, who, even when they do not buy online, might stop on the web before going to the store.

There are many ways out there to make the web an asset and not a disadvantage for franchises: from the simple store delivery with a percentage of profit to the franchisee to a software that directs the orders directly to the correct franchisee depending on geolocation, the ideas are not lacking. 

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