What are unified payments – and why are they so crucial to franchise operations
Two of the best things a franchisor can do for their franchisees are to help them streamline their operations and to protect their bottom line. But one of the most innovative ways they can do this needs to be noticed. While payment systems may not get a lot of attention, they are fundamental to any franchise business's success (or otherwise).
Well-handled payment systems help drive overall operational efficiency, improved decision-making, and superior customer experiences.
So, what is a payment stack – and why should it be unified?
A ‘payment stack' is all the different sets of software and services a business needs to be able to run payments inside their company. Unifying the payment stack brings all these components together to create a system capable of taking all kinds of payments through multiple channels and processing them through a common backend. The end result is a ‘unified payment system'.
Why is a unified payment system important?
Unified payment systems can help franchisees take their businesses to the next level, both in terms of business efficiency and customer experience, with all the following benefits and advantages.
The ability to pivot and adapt
Operating in the digital era means that online presence is a must for businesses. While franchisees are looking for fast and seamless solution to manage their webstore, a unified payment system allows them to add new payment channels as the need arises.
A common backend makes it easier to plug in and offer new payment methods as they emerge or as customers demand to use them.
Increased business resilience and flexibility
Unified payment systems make franchises more resilient in other ways, too. For example, if the franchisee experiences a network connectivity failure, they can failover to 3G or 4G. With everything connected, the franchise always has a backup plan. One channel can step in for another, allowing the franchise to keep taking payments, no matter what.
Standardised systems and reduced costs
Although some parent brands provide their franchisees with point-of-sale systems and payment terminals, many franchisees, especially small ones, must source their own. As a result, these franchisees often pay more than they need to and may end up with substandard systems that limit their growth.
By leveraging economies of scale, franchisors can offer their franchisees proven and standardised payment systems at much lower prices. Franchisees save money - which they can invest in other business areas.
More franchisees using the same technology reduces training and support costs.
Consistent customer experiences
Consumers don’t see individual franchisees – they see a brand. They expect the same consistent, high-quality experience from every franchisee at every outlet.
While often invisible, payment systems are critical to a consistent customer experience.
Unified payment systems enhance the consistency of the consumer experience and brand loyalty.
By running all payment methods through a single platform, unified payment systems can help remove many common frictions that cause, lead to inconsistencies, or cause disconnects between a customer’s online or offline experience.
Consistently positive purchase experiences keep customers returning – which is great for the franchisee's bottom line.
A lower cost per transaction
Franchisees whose online and offline payments are processed separately often face higher transaction costs. Unified payment systems can help reduce cost per transaction, as both franchisees and franchisors benefit from economies of scale.
Parent brands can do their franchisees a major financial favour with the option of a unified payment stack.
The chance to grow, grow, grow!
With unified payment systems, technology does not constrain growth. Franchisees can add new payment methods quickly and seamlessly, driven by technological innovation or the business’s natural desire to expand.
The power of actionable insight
In any business or franchise, payment data can provide a rich source of insight. But there's a snag: data for each payment method or channel live on a different platform or in a separate silo. Assembling data for analysis is complicated and time-consuming, so it often remains in the 'too hard basket’.
A unified payment system provides all payment data on one platform. Franchisees can see every payment across their entire business from end to end. They have a complete overview of every transaction in every channel, at every location, and through every payment method. All in one place. All in the same format. All without the time and hassle of switching from one account to another.
With all that data on one platform, it’s easier to unearth the insights that help franchisees make smarter business decisions, such as what types of promotions to offer, when to cross-sell or up-sell, and when and where to roster staff.
Unified payment data can help franchisees rapidly spot their most profitable or underperforming channels. They can see sales by channel, payment method and location – especially helpful for franchisees who run multiple franchises.
The rich data unified payments enable can also help franchisees spot new opportunities, bringing innovations to their set-up over and above the franchise operational standard.
Payments as a platform for the future
Unified payment systems open the door towards Unified Commerce, where payment and POS systems are fully integrated with inventory, CRM, ERP and other business systems to bring unheard-of efficiency to day-to-day business operations.
The first step to a unified payments platform
The first step to a unified payments platform is identifying a partner with what it takes to service a franchise network.
In October of 2022, Till Payments was appointed by franchise convenience store chain SPAR Australia as their payment partner of choice, building on Till's numerous partnerships with other Aussie franchise chains, including IGA, Supabarn and Metro Petroleum.
The migration to Till will offer SPAR Australia’s head office and franchise sites a range of business optimisation features, including:
Improved cash flow with same-day interbank settlement 7 days a week, regardless of who the franchisee's chosen bank is.
Seamless, plug-and-play integration with over 100 Point of Sales Systems, including FutureNet, Worldsmart, Independent Solutions and many more.
Enhanced connectivity with dual-sim and Wi-Fi-equipped terminals that offer backup network connections for protection against common outages. Till payments terminals support 4G capability and Wi-Fi to ensure franchisees need never miss a payment.
Automated reconciliations via Till’s proprietary merchant portal, reducing human error and chargebacks. Till offers customisable settlement reports and descriptors for simple daily reconciliation.
Supreme in-house, franchisee-friendly customer support and seamless transition: Till Payments’ expert technicians will instal at the franchisee’s convenience.
There are many advantages of unified payments, from seamless, consistent customer journeys to rich and actionable business insights. Till's proven unified payment stack is simple and painless for franchisees to implement while building a solid platform for next-level growth and efficiency. If you’d like to know more, complete this form to get in touch now to get in touch with a member of the Till Force and to find out how your franchise group can benefit from a unified payments system.