Franchising: POS Data is a Goldmine, Unlocking It is a Challenge

Bryce Ebeling

Date

Mar 21, 2016

This article is the first in a three-part series designed to show you how to use your POS data to retain customers, attract new customers and radically improve your franchise’s performance. In this article, I will focus on the challenges inherent in unlocking and using your POS data.

Your POS (point of sale) system is the lifeline of your operations. The primary purpose of a POS system is to provide an efficient way to exchange product for money. At their best, POS software systems do more than simply accept payments and process sales. They manage the flow of inventory in and out of each franchise location, and can provide additional time-saving features such as staff management, customer data gathering, task automation and other capabilities that make it easier to run and grow your business.

Because they record every transaction as it happens, POS systems have unbelievable amounts of data locked up. This POS data is invaluable to the franchise system as a whole and to each franchisee for performance improvement and marketing purposes. POS data has the potential to give franchisees a clear picture of their store’s performance and to sharpen their competitive edge.

POS data can give you a focused approach to marketing, allowing you to target customers based on how much they spend, how often they purchase, and even what they buy. Using this data effectively can help franchisees win the loyalty of their best customers and attract more of those customers, as well as benchmark and improve their performance with real-time sales and operations reporting and targets.

However, unlocking POS data for the franchise system presents significant challenges. Historically, most franchisors have approved more than one POS vendor, which means the franchise system often has its data locked up in different software systems and formats.

In addition, the POS software and database usually is hosted onsite at the franchisee location. A 400 unit franchise system might have 400 individual databases, and to make things more complex, there can be as many different data formats as there are POS systems. Therefore, even when franchisees submit their data to the franchisor accurately and consistently, multiple formats make it difficult to benchmark and compare performance and to use the data for targeted marketing and customer retention.

The only efficient and effective way to overcome the challenges associated with different data formats and access is to have a utility that configures an automated data extraction from each POS vendor and version, and then normalizes the data into a single format that can be used for marketing and analytics.

The next article in this three-part series will focus on solutions to the challenges involved in unlocking and using your POS data to retain your best customers, win new key clients and improve performance at your store and across your franchise.

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