Top tech trends: Predictions for franchises in 2019

Tech is transforming every industry on the planet. So franchises better make sure they are on top of the latest innovations that will shape their future in 2019

Top tech trends: Predictions for franchises in 2019

As we look forward to another new year, the world of franchising continues to evolve and develop with increasing pace as franchisors and franchisees across the country continue to look for new ways to grow their business networks while reducing pressure and risk. There have been a number of key developments over the last year and certain trends are starting to take shape as we embark on another 12-month journey of discovery and change.

Looking at the last year in retrospect, the most disruptive event for franchises and many other businesses during 2018 was undoubtedly meeting the compliance criteria of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Many franchisors and franchisees found themselves revisiting a student-like scenario having left most of their homework to the last minute. Then began the battle as hundreds of businesses raced to understand the new legislation, in all its varying shades of grey, before sticking their answer down and hoping for the best.”

For franchisees, GDPR created a mixture of fear, confusion and subsequent cost. The need to be absolutely clear on why and how personal data is stored, having a set of compliant processes that ensure customers, or data subjects, have accepted the terms by which you store and use their personal data, threw many businesses into panic.”

For larger franchises in particular, the impact of GDPR was a complex unravelling of marketing permissions, databases, registration forms and cookie policies. Having spoken to a number of franchises, the outcome has been generally positive. With more focused mailing lists, better marketing practices, clearer processes for removing customer data and a healthy audit on systems that were in need of an overhaul, many franchises are now operating more efficiently.

The second major development for franchisees has been the volume of businesses moving from cash payments to contactless or online payments. With new tools like contactless debit cards, Apple Pay and Android Pay, consumers are choosing the convenience of making payments on-the-go. Businesses across the country have been adopting contactless systems at point of sale and updating their websites to make online payments as simple as possible – this will only increase over the next year.”

In terms of the demands and needs from franchisees, they’re constantly being tasked with demonstrating measurable value for their franchisees. Operationally that means logistics, process and training but more often than not the tension comes from brand and marketing and the addition of new prospects and customers. The challenge for franchisees during 2019 is getting up to speed with the rapid pace and changes from online tools and marketing practices. Franchises are having to adapt to new social networks and algorithms from a technology perspective and franchisors often turn to things like website revamps to demonstrate a positive investment in their brand, when in fact this can absolutely be the wrong place to spend money.

Highly targeted, segmented campaigns are where small and fast-growing franchise businesses are really disrupting the incumbents today. Franchises are also displaying a growing need for more data and insight to influence business decisions. Again, this is often within the marketing and sales funnel.

And all of this is just the beginning. Like it or not, 2019 promises to be another year of change and adjustment for the growing franchise industry. Innovation is becoming increasingly important in an ever-competitive market and franchisors will need to keep taking bigger steps forward to ensure they stay relevant, up to date and as agile as they can. The question is, what key tech trends can we expect to see over the next 12 months?

Well, there are at least five tech trends to prepare for.

Nikki Th’ng
Nikki Th’ng