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How To Make Big Data Work For Franchises

Franchises can still use data to improve their bottom line

15Dec

Big data has been getting a lot of attention in the past few years, and for good reason. It is a powerful and effective tool for sales and marketing. In this post, we will talk about how you can tap into the power of big data for running a franchise. The franchise model allows local managers to have a lot of autonomy, but the company can still use data to improve their bottom line, and that goes for both the central management and the franchise owners.

Data Benefits as a Franchisor

A franchisor has the advantage of being able to pool data across the entire network for a birds-eye view of the overall story. The goal is to combine all of the incoming flows of data to understand both what makes some franchises perform better than others and what underlying factors affect all franchises. These two approaches will enable you to pick out best practices and craft a strategy that takes into account every insight available. There might be difficulty in combining data from different franchises, but make it easier by imposing common standards for data reporting and requiring a common set of reports from all franchises. There is always some work involved in cleaning, combining, and preparing the data, but the more you can reduce that part of the task, the better. The goal is to have datasets that cover as many elements of the operation as possible for as many franchises as possible. Then, analyze the data and look to see what drives positive results. Determine the relative importance of location, management, customer demographics, and anything else that seems relevant. That will provide the seed to create a strategy that builds on the strengths of the brand and shores up its weaknesses. For example, a company of carpet cleaners could examine conversion rates on their website, the characteristics of repeat customers, and the experience of local managers to determine how to train their crews.

Data Benefits as a Franchisee

If you are a franchisee, then you are more likely to be receiving data and reports than doing your own analysis. From a practical perspective, it is harder for a franchisee to have the time and resources to analyze data themselves. It is better to outsource that work to the home office. They have access to all of the data from every franchise and can then inform you about the results. If you want, though, you can do some data work on your own franchise's data. This might give you an edge in your strategy without waiting for what could be a lengthy turnaround time as the central office reviews things. You might be limited in what you can do, but some creativity could locate useful nuggets of information. Remember that big data is not about size- it is about capitalizing on opportunities. As a franchisee, you have access to deep and detailed data. You stand to learn a lot if you can crack it and see the story that drives the data you see.

The bottom line is that both the franchisor and franchisee can benefit from using big data. Whether it is sales numbers, analytics from web traffic, cost data, or some other form of data, finding a way to reach new customers or save money is a big competitive advantage. Anything that can find an extra edge matters. Today's economy is becoming more and more competitive as the recovery accelerates, so now is the time to invest in big data projects and build capacity for data analysis. The rewards are just going to get better as the economy improves. The earlier you set in place the protocol for collecting, storing, and analyzing data, the easier it will be to execute the process when the stakes get higher.

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