The franchise industry in Australia encompasses more than 90,000 businesses and is worth over AU$155 billion. However, the impacts of lockdowns, falling disposable income, and travel bans caused by COVID-19 have put a once-thriving industry under extreme pressure. This has led to franchise owners re-evaluating business priorities and encouraged a renewed commitment to improving the customer experience.
Historically, loyalty programs have always been a key part of the consumer experience, especially for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), an industry occupied mainly by franchise businesses.
However, instilling loyalty across a business model that includes multiple operators can be complex when navigating individual business objectives. This is where the opportunity lies for franchise owners to create a positive user experience that can be replicated across locations.
Fostering trust between a retailer and a consumer comes down to the feeling the customer has as they leave the store or check out online. Do they want to return? Do they want to recommend the experience to a friend? These interactions, be it in person in a retail store or through the online experience of eCommerce, can be make-or-break for a business.
The more challenging or time-consuming this process is, the less positive the experience will be for customers. However, savvy franchisors are increasingly leveraging frictionless point of sale experiences to help improve the customer experience.
There are many benefits to implementing a card-linked and frictionless rewards program across a franchise. Just some of these include:
- Providing the same experience regardless of location
With franchise businesses operating across multiple locations and with multiple owners, having a program that can be implemented widely will ensure that the consumer experience is consistent and that overall brand perception stays positive. Businesses can move away from loyalty membership cards and seamlessly replicate the same experience at multiple locations by implementing a frictionless, card-linked system.
- Capturing data for future use
Digital rewards systems have the added bonus of being able to capture valuable real-time data from customers as they shop. Franchise owners can access this data to determine upcoming deals and offers that can be personalised to the consumer and improve customer return rates.
- Providing a fast and frictionless experience
Quick service is often key to the customer experience. A frictionless, card-linked system that takes advantage of the bank card in a customer's wallet removes unnecessary steps at the point of sale, increasing customer participation and improving the user experience.
- Scalable for multiple locations
Frictionless, card-linked systems require a relatively quick and intuitive installation. They are also scalable and can grow as the franchise network grows. The ability to pivot to a business's needs over time means the benefits of this style of rewards program far outweighs its initial start-up costs and helps franchise owners achieve their overall business growth targets.
Joining an existing or investing in card-linked loyalty platforms can help franchise owners to reinvent their traditional rewards programs and focus more fully on providing personalised service to the consumer.
With Australia's impending economic recovery on the horizon, now is the time to start implementing processes that can benefit retailers when consumer spending rises. Loyalty should be uppermost in retailers' minds as they battle to capture a share of the consumer's wallet in a landscape characterised by seemingly endless amounts of choice and flexibility.