franchising aspects Nov, 18 2011

Speedy returns, the internet way

Internet today has become an indispensable part of our lives. Business world is almost dead without this trend, as everything from ideation to manufacturing and delivering to consumers is dependent on the Internet. Read on to know about its viability to t

By Abha Garyali
Sub Editor
Speedy returns, the internet way

The utilisation of internet in franchise industry is quite significant as a successful franchise business works through a channel of successful franchisees. All these franchisees are spread not only across the country but across the world. It is only internet that brings them together and they feel connected to the routes. Besides mutual connectivity, franchisors and franchisees use internet individually for the growth of their business. Franchisors use the internet extensively for lead generation, brand recognition and operations. On the other hand franchisees use it for customer service, communication with satellite offices and support of franchise operations. Moreover there are few franchise concepts which are completely internet-based.

Internet based franchise concepts

There are few franchise concepts that are internet based and there are others that need internet and can not be successful without an internet. These are:

Fast food concepts: Though the concept is international but now quite successful in India as well the fast concept are the best internet based businesses. Most of the organised fast food players offer online ordering for home delivery that need internet. Domino’s, Pizza Hut, KFC and all others operate through a well connected internet network.
Domino’s Pizza can be a perfect example of an internet friendly franchise company. In 2001 Domino’s Pizza began a project to replace the computer systems in their stores. The possibility of using one or two data centers to run the order entry operation for all their stores pan India, using the internet was explored. Such a step can easily lead to money saving in terms of no server at the store, simple web browser-based terminals etc. However, a centralised process can be problematic also. There was the fearsome thought of 4,500 pizza stores being taken down at the same time by an internet worm or other catastrophic failure. Nevertheless internet availability has helped Domino’s reach its present number of 400 outlets in India with such smooth operations.

Travel agencies: Travel agencies as a franchise concept have also become internet operated. Most of the agencies have online portals through which clients can easily order their tickets, stay in hotel etc.,, Cox and Kings etc are few of the many travel players who have taken the online route.

Online retailers: Online shopping portals are in vogue with many people preferring to shop from the comfort of their homes. Looking at these trends special portals like, etc are started which offer branded services and products on discounted rates.

Online tutorials: Looking at the bright future and profits earned in the education sector, many entrepreneurs have started their online tutorials. This has been done for making education more accessible to students who are located far away from good coaching centres.

Over-dependency on internet: With more and more entrepreneurs opting for internet, it has become an essential ingredient for the success recipe. Use of the Internet for customer communication (ordering, service, information) impresses and provides benefits to the customers in a big way. For eg Domino’s with its large database records the addresses and telephone numbers of its customers. Whenever any customer calls up, they have the address stored in their data to deliver their pizza. However this dependency on internet can be a problem as well. Few of the problems can be:

  • Rising expectations among clients: In this era of computers very few franchise concepts are left which have no need of internet as a means of increasing communication and contact with the customers. Therefore customers may find it a bit shocking when a company has no website or online inquiry capability.
  • Online presence makes a brand genuine: It is a developing myth that all genuine brands have a good website as well. With mostly all brands having their online presence, customers may think that a company without its own website is not genuine or up-to-the-mark.
  • Internet as a problem creator: In some cases internet can give rise to troubles instead of solving them. These can be related to customer-service problems and maintaining accounts etc. Being a machine computers and internet can crash anytime. In such situations too much of dependency on them can create a difficult situation.

To conclude it can be said that in the 21st century internet usage is not just essential but a must do not only for success but even for survival. At the same time excess of everything is bad and same is the case with internet usage. Too much of dependency on machines can pose a problem for both the entrepreneur as well as the customers. Customers can rely on the web portals of the different brands that are emerging but a detailed study of such brands is also required before putting in money. In the same way franchisors and franchisees should put in some time and efforts to build a website, considering the rising trend of internet services.

Related: Find the right franchise ownership

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