Howard McCormick of World Options details how the brand has made shipping a modern franchise success.
Interview by Kieran McLoone, deputy editor for Global Franchise
One aspect of B2B franchising that some may overlook is the surprisingly affluent area of courier franchises; that is, brands that help to connect consumers and businesses with the best kind of courier for them, saving shipping costs and ensuring repeat custom.
One such brand making waves in this sector is U.K.-based World Options, which has been carving its own slice out of the country’s £4.4bn domestic parcel industry since its founding in 2002. To get a clearer picture of how World Options has been continuously integrating tech into its operations, we spoke with Howard McCormick, U.K. franchise sales, recruitment, and freight director for the brand.
KM: What have been some of the major tech advancements in the courier industry?
HM: In general, the world of franchising has changed considerably over the last 10 years. Technology has provided an open-book procedure, allowing franchisees greater visibility with their back-office administration, and has streamlined the onboarding process for new shipping customers; resulting in a considerable growth in new business.
World Options is at the cutting edge of technological advancements, creating our own internal CRM system which compliments the World Options portal. This offers full sales visibility to the network, capturing the data required to convert the prospect into a shipping customer.
KM: What specific tech have you integrated to improve both the franchisee and customer experience?
HM: World Options has built a bespoke portal, integrated with the four leading global carriers: UPS, DHL, TNT, and Fed-Ex – amongst others. This allows franchisees and their customers to have a complete logistics experience.
Advancements in coding and hosting cloud-based services have improved the experience, along with the major integrations in the e-commerce market. Email marketing has allowed the World Options customer to receive immediate updates on new services, as well as vital information regarding Brexit procedures and regulations.
In 2019, our internal IT department focused on developing a bespoke billing platform offering enhanced visibility to franchisees and customers on credit control functionality, aged debt control, and raising invoice queries.
KM: Do you see a direct correlation between boosting a brand’s tech capabilities and an increase in franchisee acquisition?
HM: Of the new franchisees recruited in 2020, 80 per cent came from a logistics background; importantly, they are highly IT skilled, understanding that the technology offered by World Options is their primary reason for their acquisition.
Integration is at the forefront of the customers’ wish list and we pride ourselves on partnering with numerous platforms; Shopify, Magento, and Linnworks, just to name a few.