A version of this article has been published in FranchiseWire, contributed by Yoav Kutner, CEO, and Co-Founder of Oro Inc.
The franchising business is on the rise. The last couple of years saw franchising generate more jobs, advance careers, and contribute positively to the global economy. In fact, franchised businesses generate annual revenues of more than $1.75 trillion globally, according to the World Franchise Council.
That breakneck growth creates competition, driving franchisors to look for new technologies to help them maintain or build an advantage and continue expanding.
Of course, many franchises already rely on various types of tech, like POS systems and marketing tools, to improve productivity and enable smarter decision-making. Alongside these solutions, eCommerce systems for franchising are also quickly becoming a must-have.
Below, we explore five ways that franchisors can use B2B eCommerce platforms to future-proof their networks and accelerate franchisee recruitment:
1. A Smarter Organization
Typically, franchisors operate multiple divisions, sub-brands, and business units. Not to mention that franchisees often have hierarchies of their own, too.
This complexity is precisely what B2B eCommerce platforms were designed to tackle. They help manage franchising hierarchies with clear account management tools to enable franchisors to define the websites, products, and prices available to franchisees. They also support complex procurement, purchasing, and approval relationships. In doing so, they streamline tasks to deliver a smooth experience for end-users at all levels of the organization.
2. No More Procurement Headaches
Many franchisors oblige their franchisees to procure, use, and sell products and services from certain suppliers. This creates some challenges for franchisees, which B2B eCommerce systems can easily handle.
With a B2B eCommerce system, franchise networks can create a custom marketplace for their franchisees by adding third-party suppliers. This approach gives vendors control over product listings and prices while providing franchisors transparency into vendor activity. But it also simplifies the procurement process for franchisees by connecting them to the suitable suppliers based on their accounts, business units, or location.
Franchisors operating at scale are tasked to meet the needs of franchisees and customers in the different locales.
Robust eCommerce tools empower franchisors to support local offices. For example, with the OroCommerce platform, franchisees can set up independent units with their own organizational structure, product catalogs, taxes, price rules, suppliers, etc. At the same time, the system provides the head office complete visibility into its subsidiaries. As a result, the franchises operate in multiple markets and jurisdictions, with support for localized websites, landing pages, and customer portals.
4. Intelligent Integration
Every franchise network is structured differently, but each will need integrations between different parts of the organization to support uninterrupted, smart operations. A flexible and fully-featured eCommerce platform gives you the power to synchronize data.
For example, warehouse management systems can transmit inventory data to a B2B eCommerce platform in real-time, providing on-time shipping and delivery rates. Other possibilities for integration include PIM, punchout, eProcurement, payment gateways, and accounting systems.
5. End-to-End Automation
Pricing rules and purchase processes often vary from one franchise location to another. With the right eCommerce platform, you can create a rule-based pricing workflow to manage prices automatically and even change prices dynamically, depending on different factors like customer groups or seasonality.
But pricing is not the only function that can be automated. Advanced eCommerce tools can automatically identify high or low-stocked items, automate quote approvals, send email notifications, and much more. Consequently, less time is spent on complex chores, manual errors are minimized, and more time is saved for franchisees to focus on growth.