Some Trends to Watch for in 2018
At the recent annual Franchise Leadership Summit 2017, the theme of which was ‘Exponential Growth’, CEO of FNB Business Mike Vacy-Lyle listed some of the changes which could underpin 2018:
- South Africa’s shifting demographics towards a tech-savvy younger generation;
- People simultaneously living longer, and requiring assisted care, healthcare and similar services;
- Businesses focused on education, fitness and health, green businesses will all be well positioned;
- Faster-than-fast-food, such as the concept of food trucks sweeping the US, including fast, casual restaurants and made-to-order design foods;
- Franchises are rapidly globalising with more than 400 US franchises operating globally, many of which have yet to arrive in South Africa; and
- Each businesses are growing at an above average rate.
Expanding on these upcoming franchising trends
Continuing the trend of recent years, we expect a rising trend for 2018 in franchisees with more than one brand. This has become a popular way to improve income, cash flow and as a risk diversification measure to protect against the inevitable ebbs and flows in business.
Globally, there has been increased interest by business owners and consumers alike in green businesses, especially in the energy sector. More and more people are coming to realise that the twin threats of global warming and limited resources amid a growing population, can no longer be ignored. In 2018, we expect to see more energy-saving services for both the home and the office. We will see increased emphasis on recycling, and more buildings constructed from environmentally-friendly materials. Franchises that offer green handyman services may experience a boost in opportunities in 2018.
Health and fitness:
Allied with the above, healthier living will continue to boom. Franchises that focus on fitness (gyms and fitness centres), health (healthier
fast food and nutritional services) or personal care and beauty (spas) are likely to be popular. There is room for a lot of growth in this industry, as people enjoy a wide range of different exercise and lifestyle experiences. In particular, there is a special need for exercise and nutrition services for seniors, as people live longer. Research has shown that the average age of middle class populations has increased by a year each decade since the 60s.
Fast casual restaurants:
This is the middle ground between fast food and casual dining. Fast casual restaurants offer higher quality food made from fresher ingredients, yet still at cheaper prices with fast service. These restaurants don’t offer full table service, but increased focus on better nutrition. Consumers increasingly prefer these restaurants to the traditional fast food joints.
Customers want to customise their orders to their exact specifications and if you want to keep your customers happy in 2018 and onwards, you need to investigate possible ways to achieve this in your business. For instance, more fast food franchises now allow customers to use a touch screen menu to choose everything from burger size and bread type to toppings. This extends to on-demand services like Uber and on-demand TV. Franchise owners looking to grow their customer base should focus on creating more on-demand products and services during 2018.
The importance of social media grows:
Almost everyone today has some sort of social media, especially the younger generations. That’s no secret, but what it means is news, both good and bad, travels fast. It is therefore vital to have a social media policy in place for your franchise, particularly to improve complaint processes before they go viral. Complaints going viral can really damage your franchise’s reputation. You need to always be in control of your reputation on social media. Ensure someone in your team is focused on social media.
Less Traditional Advertising:
Did you know that there are 1.65 billion active Facebook users who watch about 8 billion videos daily? There’s no denying more and more customers are getting most of their information digitally now. This means traditional advertising is waning at an accelerating pace as we hurtle towards 2018. Franchises should make digital advertising a bigger part of their advertising budget (some at the 2017 Franchise Leadership Summit said they would spend 100% of their marketing budget on social media, if they could). You should have a special focus on video content. Research shows that consumers prefer video to text and your messaging should reflect this. The trick to successful video advertising is to keep it short and interesting.
What do you intend doing in 2018? In the modern age you have to be running to stand still – things are moving that fast.