It is practically impossible to manage a large franchise chain without proper franchise software. The idea of franchise software is to balance cross-chain integrity and freedom of decision of individual franchise owners.
Even if your company is opening its first franchise outlet, it is strongly advisable to start using franchise software. Franchise software has all the advantages of retail management software, plus dedicated features to manage franchises and multi-site businesses.
You need franchise software:
1) So you can easily control and monitor the business just like a single enterprise;
2) So your franchisees can benefit from the enhanced supply chain, reporting and forecasts, and large cross-chain customer base.
Why is Franchising Growing so Fast?
During the past five years, franchised businesses have created more jobs at a faster pace than the rest of the economy, not to mention revenues, which are higher than average. The growth of franchising, described in International Franchise Association (IFA) report, can be attributed to the rise of cloud technology and affordable franchise software.
Cloud-based franchise software makes it possible to handle large business networks. Business software vendors like Erply utilize best-in-class technology to provide the tools you always wished existed to manage your franchise business.
How does Franchise Software Work?
There are diverse franchise software systems that differ in efficiency. It can be basic multiple vendor retail software, or and advanced franchise solution like Erply. So how does Erply’s franchise software work?
Fundamentally, it is similar to a retail software suite with a full set of retail tools, employee management and much more. However, the software architecture is specifically designed to meet the needs of our franchisor clients; it supports multiple sites and multiple franchise holders. We have a large franchise and retail chains on board, so we know how to handle big data and large networks.
Franchisors can define what information is pushed down to franchisees as well as what data is pulled back up to headquarters. This is done using a Master Account. Store owners are then provided their own discrete Erply accounts, which contain built-in synchronization tools to the franchisors Master Account.
How to Provide Franchises with Point of Sale (POS) and Cash Desk Software and Hardware?
Point of Sale (POS) software and hardware is the door the money actually comes in. These systems are crucial for any retail and service business, including franchises. Keep mind that not all franchise software vendors provide POS and cash desk solutions. And you have to avoid choosing a proprietary based technology that fixes you to certain hardware.
The easiest way to set up a Point of Sale is to use an iPad tablet as the physical interface. Erply supports a very wide range of POS hardware, including Windows PC-s, Android smartphones, and dedicated POS hardware like POS registers. Franchisees can use cash, credit card, or even go for Paypal POS for payment in digital money.
The back end of Erply’s POS system is cloud-based software. It’s dead easy to configure and simplifies running multiple registers. You can ring up sales, track customers, and manage inventory and employees from any LAN or wireless network, or even complete sales offline and leave syncing for later.
Many blooming retail chains like Rapid Refill or Ben’s Soft Pretzels are using Erply franchise software. If you are already holding a franchise or planning to expand your business by franchising, try our Franchise Management Software for free or request a demo.
How Does Cloud Computing Help Franchise Business?
Erply has implemented cloud technology to maximize efficiency, provide scalability and business growth. This means that both the franchise software and its multiple instances are accessible over the Internet with any device. At the same time, it works offline, too, so that data is synchronized when a web connection is re-established.
With cloud-based franchise management, cross-chain operations are immensely easier. No more calling up, faxing and confirmation-seeking. Operations, like initiating a weekend sale at HQ and having it relayed to all franchisees, take just minutes, if that. The whole franchise chain can thus act as a single organism, or as a business ecosystem. It’s all about flexibility.
How Do Franchise Software Optimize Inventory Levels and Supply Chain?
With a decent retail, inventory and franchise software suite, the franchisor has corporate level inventory visibility. There are automatic stock replenishment tools that can be used across the franchise chain, or in individual franchises. Purchase orders can be linked to min/max inventory levels and connected to the supplier database. Erply’s retail software even has flexible Price List Management, Supplier Price List Management, and EDI support.
Franchisees can go a long way in optimizing their inventory levels if they have access to historical sales reports and supplier database. The supply chain can be optimized with combined logistics, and a possibility to use stagnant stock from other stores that have low sales velocity. Reduced carrying costs and shared logistics give franchises a competitive advantage.
Franchise software, integrated with a cross-chain retail software solution, helps reduce carrying costs. The franchisees can automatically source products from multiple inventory pools based on custom business rule sets. Cost cut is evident. Besides the cost cut, there’s beautiful pro-growth philosophy in it. The wider the franchise network, the more potential there is for supply chain optimization.
How to Sell More in Franchise Business?
There is a key component you don’t want to leave out of your franchise management system – the final customers. They are the ones who buy and thus keep the cash flowing inwards. The more the franchise outlets sell, the better for the franchisor. Customer relations drive sales and keep customers coming back.
Of course, in-store client interaction is the duty of the franchisees. Having said that, the franchisor should be able to provide enhanced customer access to your franchisees. So, when choosing franchise software, make sure the customer loyalty and sales promotion tools are plentiful.
Erply’s retail and franchise software facilitate omnichannel customer experience. This means store level and franchise chain level customer retention tools like loyalty and targeted discounts, centralized sales promotion management, gift card sales, and redemptions preferred store customer tracking, and store credit and coupon tracking across the retail chain.
Which Features does Franchise Software Provide to Head Office?
When choosing your franchise software, don’t settle with any system that is unable to deliver a real-time overview of key financial data like revenue, cash flow, expenses per franchise, profits and losses. Smooth integration with accounting software like QuickBooks or Xero is a must as well.
Also, keep in mind that even if your franchise ecosystem now incorporates only one-store franchisees, the software should be ready for store grouping by the franchise, i.e. must support multi-site operations.
In addition, Erply’s franchise management software has features like centralized employee metric tracking, advanced sales performance metrics and goal-setting, custom aggregate reports and store level drill-downs, and store comparison reporting. All this is accessible to designated people thanks to configurable user rights.
Can Franchise Software Boost Franchise Owner’s Motivation?
Even though franchising is about using an existent business model, you must keep in mind the individual franchisees are, for all intents and purposes, entrepreneurs. So they want to feel they are in charge. Good franchise software provides your franchisees with individual enterprise resource planning software instances.
This means each franchise has one’s own enterprise management interface. What is different from a single company management software, is that there is a large supply chain, customer relations management, product information, and sales statistics database to plug in. With Erply’s ERP suite, extra reports, access rights and much more can be tailored to fit perfectly for the particular business model.
The franchise owners will have an individual software interface instance plus to manage their supply, sales, and employees. As a plus, there’s a huge data pool to help in forecasting the sales and optimizing inventory levels.
How to Inspect Franchises, Avoiding Conflicts?
The key idea of conflict-free inspection of franchise outlets is to monitor them in real time, avoiding excessive reporting. The less time your franchisees have to spend reporting, the more they can focus on keeping their business going. No difference if it’s a restaurant chain, beauty parlors, and health clubs, the smaller the burden of in-person reporting the better.
Proper franchise software is based on cloud technology. The overseeing employees can access the data with their smartphone, tablet or laptop. Erply’s retail and franchise software give a 360-degree overview of sales and supply, letting you compare individual franchises, set specific management goals and monitory the results in real time. In-store inspections will be significantly quicker, and thus welcomed by your franchisees.
How to Use Franchise Software to Improve Marketing?
The franchisees have functional store software with cross-chain CRM, promotions, gift cards, and loyalty programs. A decent franchise software solution should allow the franchisees to run individual limited marketing campaigns, though it is much more common to run a marketing campaign across the whole franchise chain or in particular regions.
With Erply, it takes just a few minutes to define campaign rules that can be instantly communicated to all the franchise owners. Some campaign aspects can be optional, granting your franchisees freedom and flexibility. The marketing team in the head office or regional office has all sales data running in automatically, so the marketing campaigns can be evaluated and tailored in real time.
Can the Franchise Software be Used Outside Office?
We live in a dynamic world, where obtaining the best results is not always about office hours. In fact, we need to be able to keep an eye on business anytime and anywhere. A suitable cloud-based retail software package lets the franchisees manage their business in-store, over the Internet or via mobile. And the headquarters have a real-time overview of what’s going on.
With Erply Retail ERP, iPad POS, Cloud Point of Sale and other services a retailer has constant secure access to all the features. It is possible to close a deal in any part of the world, making your retail an international operation from the day one. The hybrid cloud architecture ensures that if web connection is temporarily lost, a deal can still be closed, as the systems are automatically updated when the connection is reestablished.
How to Manage Prices in a Franchise Chain?
Advanced franchise management software facilitates consistent and flexible price management. What does it mean? It means that the central interface is not only to enter fixed prices, but you can create price brackets, price groups, specify possible discount level etc.
Centralized price list management is like modern democracy, providing a framework in which the franchises can operate freely. You can set the limits, in which your franchisees are free to adjust their prices and discount. This is to reflect regional and/or seasonal differences.
The prices can be linked with supply and inventory, too. All this means there is much less effort needed for everyday price corrections. On the other hand, it is very easy to create cross-chain discounts, either general ones or tied to specific customer groups and products.
How Can a Franchise Chain Provide Consistent Brand Image?
A chain of fast-food restaurants, shops, beauty parlors, gymnastics and fitness centers or any other profitable franchise business must offer its clients a consistent quality, branding and price policy. Much of that can be achieved with centralized franchise management software.
Erply’s software suite includes a Product Information Management (PIM) module. It’s is an easy-to-use cloud-based system for profound product content management. The central interface is there to communicate product information to the whole franchise chain. Central price lists and price rules are an essential part of the system.
Up-to-date product description, pricing, SKU, barcode and QR, technical data like dimensions and weight, labels, advertising copy, photos, and videos are instantly updated in all systems that you and your franchisees are using. Inventory management, point-of-sale, warehouse, logistics partners, contact center, e-commerce, webpage or product catalogs, cross-channel operations, partners, suppliers, and vendors will have consistent, high-quality data.
How to Tell if Franchisees Are Performing Well Enough?
Centralized reporting is essential to franchise software. It lets you, the franchisor, monitor the progress in real time, so no bad surprises can hit you in annual financial statements. Constant and discreet monitoring help you tackle problems in the early phase.
It is one thing to get franchisees on board. And it is an entirely different task to get the analytics, so you can calculate ROI and make smart decisions for your company. Erply’s franchise synchronization technology provides the headquarters with customizable data. The reports can be compared to goals or benchmarked with other franchise locations. There is no need to bother your franchisees with daily or weekly reporting.
Can Franchisees Use Reporting Tools?
Yes, if the franchisor decides so. An excellent retail and franchise software suite, if used for a franchised business, provides individual franchises with a “mass construction weapon”. This is knowledge. Reporting tools are not limited to headquarters, though this is the place where reports on sales, cash, the point of sale, inventory, purchasing, CRM, employee management go in real time.
With advanced retail software, individual franchises can be given the right to see a part of valuable business statistics, without revealing sensitive data. For example, when a franchise opens in this year, it can be already provided with several years of sales history by product groups, customer groups, and regions. The franchise owner can then make correct decisions not only on inventory levels but also about other business aspects like the need for seasonal workers.
Can Franchises Have Their Own E-Commerce Outlets?
Yes, if your business model needs it. A modern franchise software solution can easily provide e-commerce and integrate with any number of webstore providers. In Erply’s case, besides Shopify, Magento, WordPress Cart, Prestashop, Paypal POS integration, there’s Open API toolset users to integrate with practically any other system. Why would you need it? If you go international, there might be popular local platforms that your franchisees have to integrate with.
How Much Money do I Need to Open a Franchise?
This question is probably the first a future franchisee thinks of. The answer varies greatly from company to company. For the world-famous McDonald’s, a franchise is required to have at least $750,000; 40% of it must be in cash and non-borrowed assets. The franchise has to pay McDonald’s a $45,000 starting fee, service fee, and rent.
For KFC, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell the franchise startup costs are similar but with many other chains, the financial burden is much lower. A Subway eatery costs just around $110,000 to $260,000 to start. Minimum liquid assets required by Subway are $30,000 to $90,000.
How Much Money Does a Franchise Generate?
Again, this depends greatly on the particular business models, on how the supply chain is built, who owns the physical property etc. How much money does the franchisor get? In McDonald’s case, besides the $45,000 starting fee that the franchise has to pay to McDonald’s, there’s a monthly service fee equal to 4% of gross sales. Plus McDonald’s gets around 8-12% of franchisee’s monthly sales as a rent, too. Annual sales of a McDonald’s restaurant are $2.5 million on average. The McDonald’s holding company makes nearly $7 billion a year.
How Long Does It Take to Open a New Franchise?
The biggest variable in determining how long it will take from picking the franchise to actually having it open for business is selecting your real estate location. It’s near-zero time for home-based or on-the-run franchises, but for restaurants and other location-dependent businesses it can take up to 6 months, or longer if you have to build a store, a gas station, a restaurant. Normally at least some renovation and furnishing is needed, too. This can take 1-4 months. The more complicated the build-out the more assistance is available from the franchise company.
The good news is that the franchise can already get used to the franchise software, and start training the employees if the software you have chosen is cloud-based and accessible before you have set up your location. This can cut the preparation period for several months, so the franchise can open immediately when the location is ready.
How to Handle Cross-Chain Promotions, Gift Cards, and Customer Loyalty?
We understand the pain of rolling out a new marketing campaign across a franchise chain. Old technology and localized platforms required manual work to ensure that all locations are ready to accept and redeem the carefully crafted promotions.
In a world-class software suite like Erply, you can craft the business specific policy for promotions and CRM. The system is flexible, so you can decide what is mandatory, and what is optional or editable for franchise locations. Delivering campaign rules to all the stores takes just minutes, and you can even let the stores to enable/disable the promotions.
What is the Role of Franchise Software?
To put it short, franchise software provides a middle ground for Franchisor and Franchisee. A good software solution help to avoid unfruitful patterns between the head office and individual franchise owners.
It is obvious that a franchisor wants as much data and analytics from a franchise as possible. However, there is a thin line between being helpful and being intrusive. It is important for your franchisees to feel that they are an entity of their own, and not being strong-armed by headquarters.
Erply franchise software provides peace of mind on both ends of the franchise chain relationship. Franchisees are given their own instance of Erply. No sensitive data is shared between franchisees, while specified elements, like gift cards, sales promotions, or product sales reports can be granted cross-chain visibility.
Is the Franchise Software Built to Expand Your Business?
The essence of franchising is to grow and to grow fast. A world-class franchise software is built for scalability. Hockey-stick growth? No problem, at least not for Erply, as we have the privilege of working with large, expanding franchise chains.
Besides handling big data, growth support must be proactive. Erply’s retail and franchise management software features a full set of franchising tools, starting from Point of Sale software. But it is also modular and open for customization, so the software itself can provide brilliant new ideas.
Any change can be met with Erply. It’s important to be prepared and to have a retail management, franchising and POS system that can easily accommodate the largest or the smallest of stores, and new business models.
ERPLY LTD is an international software company, providing a wide range of cloud-based enterprise management software. Erply’s focus is solutions for scalable businesses such as retail companies and franchise operations, providing retail software, franchise software, the point of sale software, and much more.
Based in New York City, Erply has offices in United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark, and Estonia. While 70 percent of our customers are in the US, the client reach is spread worldwide across 15 countries.
We now have over 100,000 stores on our platform, including large retail chains such as Elizabeth Arden Retail, Athlete’s Foot, Carat London, Viasat, and Rapid Refill. We are also powering international organizations, including UNICEF and the United Nations.
Erply’s Retail Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software suite is based on hybrid cloud technology, and incorporates POS (software, mobile, tablet and hardware), CRM software, Product Information Management software, Inventory and Supply Chain Management software, Billing and Accounting integration, e-Commerce, Franchise Software and many more tools to support the growth of your business.
Erply’s business software design philosophy is holistic. All applications, tools, and databases are designed for seamless integration. Each software module works right out of the box but can be customized to meet industry- or company-specific needs. It also integrates with other software thanks to a powerful API.
Our software helps businesses around the world increase revenue, build loyalty, reach new customers, and optimize supply, storage and handling costs.
With Erply, there are convenient options of a Free Trial or a free Demo Session, so you can test and pre-evaluate the countless possibilities a modern retail software has to offer. Please contact us directly at:Sign Up