The way in which consumers pay for a franchise’s goods or services is evolving, and only the savviest brands will have the know-how and operational capacity to keep up.
Thankfully, organizations like Franchise Payments Network and POLN8 exist to help even the most technophobic franchisors in transitioning their POS systems and processes into the modern age. Especially when the likes of cryptocurrency and touchless payment are becoming a mainstay, there’s never been a time when it’s been more essential to stay ahead of the curve.
“Payments are continuing to get more and more digitized,” explains Tom Epstein, founder and CEO of Franchise Payments Network and POLN8.
“People are talking about a cashless society and I don’t know if we’ll be completely cashless anytime soon, but even on the payment side when you’re talking about a credit card transaction, it’s becoming increasingly digitized. People are comfortable using the electronic wallets on their phone. We’ve been working with our clients and our merchants since COVID hit on trying to move toward this touchless society.”
The crypto revolution
Cryptocurrency has long been a talking point among financial experts, but the noncentralized currency has been increasingly prevalent in the mainstream; with even the most traditional consumer at least having an awareness of the benefits behind this brand new form of payment.
For Franchise Payments Network, cryptocurrencies present an exciting opportunity for franchisors to offer something unprecedented to customers.
“The biggest thing that we have an eye on in the future is cryptocurrency becoming more of an actual payment device, rather than an investment device. Bitcoin is in a dip right now – it’ll come back, of course – but at $42,000 a coin, a lot of people don’t realize they can purchase fractional shares of a coin and use them. They’re looking at bitcoin as an investment piece,” says Epstein.
“But some of the other cryptocurrencies that are trading at a lower rate – those are the ones that people will adopt and start using. We’re looking at what’s going on in San Salvador and that country moving completely away from a traditional currency. El Salvador’s national currency is now bitcoin, and so every citizen in San Salvador is buying everything with bitcoin. They’re converting that money real-time to either another cryptocurrency for the merchant, or a bank account in another currency.
“We look at crypto as a big growth area. We’re currently adding crypto to our payment wallet that we’ve designed for the franchise space and another vertical that we’re in. We should have that available for consumers in at least two months, but ideally within 30 days. While we don’t think there’ll be a ton of transactions on day one, we certainly see that service growing over the next two to three years.”
Utilize customer loyalty
Another aspect of payment and revenues that’s always been a crucial factor for brands is customer loyalty and retention. It takes a lot to entice a consumer to try your offering, and it can be even more challenging to keep them coming back. But thanks to POLN8’s loyalty rewards campaigns, brands are seeing heightened customer frequency alongside increased ticket sales.
“Customer loyalty is something that really drives your customers to be with you. Previously, when we evaluated this as we were coming out of the pandemic, we saw it as a good way to reward customers who stuck with you through everything,” says Epstein.
“It goes hand-in-hand with that payment aspect. If you’ve got a loyalty app and you’re doing payments through the app, you’re locking the customer into your brand. Not only do you have that brand on your phone as an icon, but you’ve pre-paid for a product that you haven’t received yet.
“Not only are customers increasing their average ticket through your app; you’re getting an increased frequency of visit because you’re rewarding people. We now also have the ability to reward people for influencing their friends or families.
But that’s not all – Franchise Payments Network has also worked with several of its clients to create bespoke QSR apps that circumvent the need for aggregates like Uber Eats or Postmates. The benefits of this are twofold: you eliminate fees that eat into the bottom-line, and you can also harness invaluable data on the kinds of customers that engage with your brand.
“If you’ve got customers that are very loyal to you and you have your own app, they’ll open up your app and only see your menu,” says Epstein.
“You’re capturing that business, and you don’t have to compete with anybody else. But the bigger piece is the data behind all of this. Uber Eats and all of those guys build a database of consumers for themselves, that they can market to.
“When you have your own app, you’re building your own database. You own those customers and their data, and you can track the data that’s interesting to you. You might want to know how far away people are ordering, in case you want to open new locations. You may run an email or text campaign, and you can track the ROI. You can look into the specific demographics of your customers.
“With an aggregate app, you’re passive. You’re waiting for people to order from you. With your own app, you can send out messages to get people’s attention. You can geo-fence around a local sporting or music event, and present them with a special deal. You have the ability to control your own environment.”
In an increasingly competitive landscape that’s only set to get busier, having the edge on rival operators can mean all the difference. And providing that edge is exactly what Franchise Payments Network and POLN8 is perfectly suited to do.
At a Glance Franchise Payments Network & POLN8
Contact: Tom Epstein, firstname.lastname@example.org