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How Retail Franchises Are Keeping Up With the Times by Investing in Innovative Technology

As technology advances, franchises will need to embrace new developments to stay relevant. Whether it’s mobile ordering, online scheduling or curbside pickup, there is a technology option that can work for all retail concepts.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSORED 3:15PM 02/21/23

In an ever-changing world of business and consumption, franchisors continue to grow. Many concepts are starting to embrace new technological advancements. For retail franchises, this is especially important in order to improve the customer experience and draw repeat revenue.

Most franchises are using technology to help set the standard and shape consumer habits,” explained John Armstrong, franchise consultant at FranNet of NYC. “Franchises are trying to provide more convenience and optionality to existing customers, which in turn helps to create new customers. In the franchise world, technology becomes a differentiator and allows the franchise company to pave the way instead of playing catch-up.”

Technology also provides a level of comfort and familiarity between units, Armstrong added, meaning that customers will be more likely to develop a relationship with the franchise and even refer friends to the concept.

Retail concepts have embraced technology in a range of ways.

“Every type of franchise today needs some type of online scheduling for appointments. This could be signing up for workout classes, scheduling a dog grooming appointment or booking an eyelash treatment,” he said. “Other common tech solutions that non-food retail franchises are adopting are curbside pickup and apps. Pet Evolution, for example, allows their customers to order their dog food online and then pick the food up curbside.”

Though a bit more novel, options like virtual fitness classes and augmented reality to demonstrate the potential results of a cosmetic service are penetrating the market, too.

“There are a few emerging tech options for retail franchises that are exciting and show promise. When looking at beauty franchises, we see the role that augmented reality can play in the customer experience. For example, Deka Lash uses augmented reality to help show customers what their lash and brow services will look like once completed,” Armstrong said. “This experience helps to give the customer confidence in the service and can boost revenues for the franchisees.”

“Another example of growing tech options for retail franchises is the omnichannel experience being rolled out by fitness franchises,” he continued. “For example, Xponential Fitness (which owns 10 boutique fitness franchise brands) offers live or in-person classes; an online platform for the customers to take classes on demand; an app for the Apple Watch to track the customer's workout statistics; and offers the ‘X-Pass,’ which allows customers to take a live class at any location. Xponential is using technology to give their customers the full omnichannel experience, which most people are looking for today.” 

As franchisors work toward their development goals, encouraging the entire franchise system to embrace what’s new and continue pushing forward will be beneficial, if not entirely necessary. Modern-day consumers are seeking convenience and value, and technology is a perfect vessel to provide a much-desired experience.