Our website uses cookies

Cookies enable us to provide the best experience possible and help us understand how visitors use our website. By browsing Retail Design World, you agree to our use of cookies.

Okay, I understand Learn more

Comment: How franchising breaks down retail borders

In a world of vast economic and political change, markets are evolving and the process of being globally connected and educated at the touch of a button offers the opportunity for international retail growth at a whole new level and pace. Not only are companies evolving and adapting to market changes but so too are customers.

Retail is no longer restricted by borders but is changing the way people live. Through bricks and mortar as well as multichannel aceess, international retail brands are bringing together cultures, trends, education and creative experiences by using the increasingly popular business model of international franchising.

Franchising takes on a number of forms. However it is fundamentally designed and adopted by retailers as an opportunity to drive retail growth at a faster pace. This involves sharing the financial risks whilst working with local knowledge and expertise, providing far greater market penetration.

Franchising is a turnkey business with proven systems in place designed to increase productivity and sales. This ensures a brand is delivered with consistency and clarity at all points of sale, increasing customer loyalty, and all policies and procedures are adopted and adhered to worldwide.

A perfect example of “Why re-invent the wheel?”.

Today retailers are recognising more and more missed opportunities in keeping their businesses domestic. They are now exploring in some cases far greater growth opportunities overseas, both as bricks and mortar and multichannel operations or indeed a combination of both.

Growing a retailer in international markets successfully is the result of respectful relationships. It is recognising the importance of synergy, cultural differences, taking risks together and embracing change.

It is developing a company culture of educational growth where those retailers operating in the international sector are not only retail-focused but socio-culturally, politically, economically and technologically informed. These are essential pre-requisites for growing a retailer to its full potential in different markets across the globe, addressing where necessary brand adaptation and localisation with a 'can do' attitude.

Being legally prepared for franchising and having a full understanding (and I mean FULL understanding) of your proposed new market/s are crucial from the outset of this growth process. It is then about careful selection of local partners and the negotiation of viable franchise agreements through the process of due diligence. This is ensuring partners are financially viable, carry strong infrastructures, demonstrate their commitment to partnering and are successfully trading to date.

The people in a franchise business are a key factor, in particular those at senior level who can play a significant role in market entry. It is crucial as a franchisor that you have all the necessary operational, marketing, recruitment and training materials available for developing a franchise format overseas. This ensures staff and customers have a true understanding of your brand and are fully supported in the brand launch and ongoing operations, marketing and PR activities.

Store locations, formats and multichannel platforms require careful planning, timing and momentum for ensuring maximum market impact. This involves investigating your market to the nth degree, knowing your customers inside out.

Store layouts, tailored product ranging and product mix, visual merchandising and in-store design, returns and exchange policies, IT solutions, CRM systems and supply chain are all crucial to your overall business success. These components will undoubtedly influence a customer's shopping experience/engagement and buying decision/loyalty. If delivered incorrectly it can potentially jeopardise your entire operation.

No one market is the same and therefore no 'one shoe fits all'. Each location is an opportunity for growth, to develop as a retailer and as a business. It is vital that processes and opportunities are shared among your international partners to result in increased revenues and reduced costs for all involved.

Next year, on 11 March 2015 at London Olympia I look forward to welcoming you all to the International Retail Franchising Summit (IRFS) where I will be sharing the stage with a great many leading experts in the field of international retail franchising. All participants work for some of the most successful brands in the industry and have had experience collectively in more than 40 markets worldwide (see the YouTube video, below, to hear from some of the confirmed speakers at the IRFS).

This will be an opportunity to engage with our speakers and ask those 'How to' questions you need answering, e.g. how to prepare yourself correctly for market entry and when down in market understand how best to embrace your new customers and grow a successful overseas retail business operation.

As well as hearing from those expert franchisors I am also very much looking forward to introducing you to Russia, the Middle East, Asia and China. With franchise partners present from each of these regions, they will be sharing the key success factors for growing your business in their market and the needs and requirements of the franchise partner.

In any business partnership, to build successful and respectful relationships, effective communication and emotional intelligence are key. Next year we bring you this unique opportunity, (IRFS) to connect cultures and businesses face to face, learn from one another and ensure your international franchise strategies are a profitable success.

For further information and to find out how to book your space visit the International Retail Franchising Summit website

Click here to see a video of the speakers