Today's Franchise Challenges and Future Expectations

Delighted to be a Member of the Advisory Board for the International Retail Franchise Summit IRFS, (www.irfsummit.com) the MD of Kyclo, Sarah Pavlou came together with the Senior Executive team of Legend Exhibitions and Heads of International Expansion of a number of key Retailers to address the current needs and future trends of what makes for Successful International Retail Franchising
Following the success of an outstanding first year the International Retail Franchise Summit IRFS 2015, post an influx of positive testimonials, full attendance of key Retail Executives and a significant demand for a great deal more; set out to understand how they could further support the Retail Industry with their international expansion success delivering what's 'next', new and a 'no go' for those growing through the franchise model.

With the expert advice and guidance of leading names in the industry, the format for another invaluable IRFS event emerged addressing an all-important new chapter to the world of global franchising.
With many markets already explored, partnership strategies and expansion plans exhausted, we went that one step further to take a more in-depth look, tackling: the increasingly demanding consumer, a world of transparent retailing and prices being pressed, the integration of e-commerce into franchise agreements and subsequent legal implications, tomorrow's new market opportunities, the pros and cons to the push and pull model and that all important end goal.

As anyone involved in retailing will know, the consumer world is changing at a phenomenal pace at home and abroad with touch points vastly increased. Omnichannel retail has rocked the apple cart,.,leaving the challenges in franchising just that much greater.
Not only are there concerns over eCommerce from the point of view of satisfying the customer but also – and rather significantly – the partner. The idea that multichannel routes don't impact a franchise contract is outdated and all retailers need to consider their international eCommerce strategy when renewals arise. Click & collect and multi-national websites have made the issue of contracts all the more complex for both parties in any franchise partnership. There are various routes that partnerships can go down, all with valid reasoning. With contracts typically lasting 5-10 years and technology moving at such a pace, get it wrong and it could have a fundamental impact on your trading in the region.
Perhaps before the issue of contracts the strategic question is to be clear what the end game looks like. What are your motivations for franchising, what future expectations do you have and where are you looking to be 10 years from now?

Franchising provides the opportunity to build a brand with significant international impact at a reduced risk and investment allowing for opportune future growth. It is a quality and speedy solution for integrating your brand within new markets and consumers, the key question is how do you find the right business relationship , what should the deal look like and where are the pitfalls?
Once contracts are ticked off the list, there follows a number of concerns that need clarification, not least: supply chain; visual merchandising; international and localised marketing strategy; social media, pricing strategy – all questions that will become fundamental if the partnership is to succeed.

Recognised as today's most commonly chosen route for successfully internationalising your brand, Franchising like all business strategies, is not a case of 'one shoe fits all' and the words of compromise, collaboration, commerciality and consistency are at the forefront for ensuring your brand is understood, delivered and managed to its full potential, while at the same time ensuring your customers are engaged, excited and committed.
If you are considering the franchise route for your brand or have a franchise estate and would like to review your franchise strategy, the International Retail Franchising Summit is back on 9 March 2016 at London Olympia where there will be key Speakers that are new and provide a fresh approach to overcoming the challenges of growing a franchise business overseas.