The hard and fast rules no longer apply. Historically significant business locations, destinations serving customers in-person, are not unanimously important across all sectors. Not all successful franchises necessarily require a physical storefront location. This makes franchising without the additional costs of a physical space and all the implied fees more possible than ever before.
This reality is not always applicable though, with some industries, such as food service, requiring to some degree a physical location, unless catering is the primary avenue of service (take-out and take-and-bake destinations are mini-franchise spaces that provide a destination, albeit a much smaller one). Nonetheless, many of today’s franchise systems link their business model tightly with the power of mobile service. They may not be termed “online franchise” companies, but their business concept certainly allows for a remote management situation where franchisees can afford to run a business much more cheaply than alternative location-based concepts.
Despite this, those franchise systems that do adhere to the use of locations where their customers can be served in-person may find the mobile world comes to them, and the advantages aren’t few. A surge in technology use across the globe extends fixed and immovable experiences and locations outward by allowing customers to simulate their experiences for others.
Handheld, lightening fast, and allowing for a nearly limitless capacity to spread information, phones are each customer’s gateway to a mobile experience—and it doesn’t stop there. Nearly all customers have the power to perform as informal agents of branding at practically every visit to local businesses. Whether through online photo sharing of merchandise, brand icons, live service experiences, products—widespread customer representation of brands is the future. Thus franchise brands providing a space that inspires customers to share their positive experiences are fueling energetic marketing opportunities that most certainly develop stronger, longer lasting companies.
How can online franchise concepts, which primarily operate in the online world without that physical, location-destination dynamic, fuel energetic marketing opportunities? Where even just one customer goes, so can their friend, a neighbor, local community members, and the world at large. What tools can primarily online franchise concepts make use of to invite the right kind of public customer representation? Let’s consider that next time.