5 reasons franchisors should invest in specialist retail design
When we hear the term ‘Franchising’, it’s usually in the context of a small business leveraging off a larger, recognised brand. With little to no experience, a franchisee has the ability to walk into a new arm of an established business. What a great starting point into business. They have the opportunity to learn from a team of experienced business practitioners. The ability to leverage the franchisor’s buying power, marketing systems and business acumen, means an almost ready-made structure to maximise investment and implement best practice solutions with an in-built safety net.
For the franchisor, however, when they open up their business to a 3rd party franchisee, they are licensing their brand identity, their corporate expertise, and their intellectual property. Protecting and developing the brand is integral to long term success for all parties.
A large proportion of set up costs can be attributed to the design and construction phase. Landlords are expecting store designs to become more intricate and complex in line with their own brand. A good retail designer is able to manage those expectations in a way the delivers a balance in cost effective, highly designed and functional retail space.
You wouldn’t ask your local residential real estate agent to negotiate a lease in a major shopping centre, so why would you settle for any less when you with your design?
Here’s 5 points to consider to help you zone in on the most important attributes to look out for.
1. Strengthening brand standards
In the retail industry, brand integrity is everything. For a franchisor, handing over control of their brand can be a daunting task. You can’t have an operator changing the corporate colours you lovingly selected when you were just starting out. Misrepresenting the logo could cause fractures in the brand recognition you spent your whole advertising budget maintaining. This fear is alleviated by engaging a professional retailer designer who will build on and maintain your standards. An effective designer will develop a set of documented brand guidelines ensuring clarity, consistency and security for the fidelity of the brand. When everyone is on the same page, your brand is strong and trustworthy.
2. Proven understanding of a franchise business
Franchising is just another way of doing business. Retail Design Studios that have ongoing relationships with franchise businesses do so because they know their business. Retail designers have had to learn how the franchise model differs and how this kind of business grows and becomes profitable. From disclosure documents to lease agreements, understanding the communication channels, responsibilities and position of both parties ensures that the designer can confidently execute the design brief. Look for a designer who has a proven track record delivering for multiple franchise businesses
3. Translating Processes & Jargon
A retail specialist spends all day, every day, immersed in the retail sector. They should deeply understand retail spaces in every location. Traffic flow studies, local demographics and landlord standards are key to designing a successful space that a customer recognises and connects with. Many newcomers to the franchising world don’t have much business experience, let alone the capability of dealing with shopping centres, certifiers and council and construction teams. Retail design is not simply about the look of a store, but navigating the jargon and the often-cumbrous processes of construction. You should always look to an experienced design studio who can provide consultancy for new entrepreneurs regarding the most important topics of the process.
4. Trained and educated workforce
A dedicated retail design company is accustomed to adapting and reproducing design standards to new spaces in a fast-paced environment. A strong team places high value on expertise in aspects of a retail development. Designers must be supported by creative visual merchandisers, strong project managers and efficient administrators. Successfully navigating pressure from landlords, authorities and the tight deadlines of the retail calendar, is executed knowledgeably and deliberately when the right team are in place.
5. The Cheerleader
The franchisor and franchisee relationship may have been developing for some time before the designer becomes involved. Getting the best for the brand is the goal for all parties. You need a design team that are going to champion your cause. A team that will go into battle to ensure the best outcome for the brand to succeed. A team that knows how to say no when it’s appropriate and wants nothing more than to see your brand strong and authentic.
We’ve been working with brands in food, services & fashion for decades. Some of our long-term international franchise clients include Mrs Fields, The Athlete’s Foot, PappaRich and Noodle Box.