Digital technique is turning into a key benefit of the franchise

Very popular in fast food, the franchise model continues to change, driven by the digital transformation according to the 18th edition of the Banque Populaire / FFF survey conducted with Kantar. Click & Collect, delivery, geolocation, customer data analysis, not to mention an active presence on social media, are now part of a range of tools available to both franchisors and franchisees.

Driven by the health crisis, the use of digital tools in trade is gaining momentum among the French. Indeed, 23% of users regularly use Click & Collect (+3 points compared to 2020). 36% regularly shop online with home delivery (compared to 31% in 2020), and more than a quarter (28%) of French already schedule regular online appointments for services (hairdresser, sports, aesthetics, etc.). This digital use remains much more prevalent among those under 35: 38% use Click & Collect regularly, 53% shop online with home delivery, and 46% schedule online appointments for services. In this context, franchise networks have already largely embraced digital technology and franchisees offer many services to their customers via the Internet. In addition to point-of-sale geolocation services (9 out of 10 franchisees in all sectors) or showing upcoming promotional activities or events (65% and 57% of franchisees, respectively), franchisees are now increasingly offering other services. . In fact, almost half of the franchise users (48%) offer Click and Collect, especially in retail (59%), but above all in the hospitality sector, where today they offer more than three quarters (76%)! Half offer online appointment booking, which is naturally more represented in the services sector (59%). Finally, the availability of stock in stores is indicated at 37%, which is a feature that has been growing strongly since 2020 (+12 points).

Facebook, Instagram …, franchisees looking for social networks

The use of social networks, which developed strongly with the health crisis, continued in 2021 with three quarters of franchise users communicating on at least one social network. In this area, Facebook remains far ahead of the networks used by franchisees: 72% have created a Facebook page dedicated to their point of sale, especially between the ages of 40-49 (83%). Instagram is a real success (52% of franchise users post messages and photos on this network versus 36% in 2020). A slightly more measured phenomenon, 28% of franchisees also organize events via social media to boost their outlet. Franchisees receive broad support in this process: nearly three-quarters of franchisees (74%) receive franchisor support to animate their social networks, support that has increased since 2020 (+ 3 points). By multiplying communication channels, franchisees also use direct contact via email or SMS, which continues to favor franchisees to build customer loyalty (80% of them communicate through this channel).

Tools also in the house

Internally, almost 8 out of 10 franchisees (78%) have internal digital tools to exchange between online franchisees. Here, too, the crisis had an accelerated effect, 26% of them saw the strengthening or establishment of such a system. 9 out of 10 franchisees (92%) have therefore seen their digital tools evolve in recent years, of which 67% are “evolving a lot”. Digital innovation is recognized as a real lever of growth: in 70% of cases, franchisees recognize that it has generated a positive impact on the activity of the point of sale, and for 49% of them a positive impact from the first year.

New sales channels for research

Franchisors therefore logically focused on digital investment during the health crisis in order to emphasize external digital communication (96%) and strengthen the digitization of internal processes (93%). It should be noted that almost two thirds (64%) also used this period to develop new sales channels, especially among the largest franchisors by size (78% among networks with 100 or more outlets). In this register, the use of Market Places is progressing, but is still limited: only 23% of franchisors are present in another commercial location, which is 6 points more than in 2020. Finally, now almost all franchisors (98%) support their franchisees in the use and optimization of digital tools available to them to communicate with their customers. However, for 4 out of 10 franchisors, progress still needs to be made in providing support to franchisees in these digital tools (42%). According to the Banque Populaire / FFF / Kantar Annual Franchise Survey, the dynamics of digital investment should also continue and remain a top priority for franchisors as 90% of them want to continue investing in digitalisation in the next twelve months.

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