A common problem for many franchisors is how to integrate a central e-commerce presence with its network of independently owned and operated franchise stores, each with its own point of sale and back end-systems. Ideally you want to give customers a seamless shopping experience, tap all available inventory to support online sales, and drive traffic to franchise locations.
This was precisely the challenge facing Foot Solutions, which offers foot health advice and solutions, including specialized shoes and insoles sold through numerous stores in the U.S. and parts of Canada. In a post Covid world, it became increasingly clear that a single online presence connecting all franchisee stores together would increase sales for all. What wasn’t in stock in one store might be in another, for instance.
The Solution (Tech Stack)
Once the problem was identified, the next step was choosing an e-commerce platform that could connect to each franchisee's point of sale in real-time, but also ensure that each store's data was confidential and secure.
Like many other franchise operations, each franchisee has its own point of sale system with its own customer data. Foot Solutions needed to integrate each store's stock levels into the larger online e-commerce solution while keeping each individual store’s confidentiality intact.
Foot Solutions also wanted a highly scalable e-commerce solution that would enable it to support an unlimited number of franchisees with no store or stock limits. And, as if that weren’t enough, the new e-commerce platform also needed to support store pickup should customers wish to order online and pickup in a local store.
After an in-depth evaluation process, Foot Solutions settled on Shopify, a leading cloud-based e-commerce platform, combined with the Shopify Franchise Connector from Shopify partner Hyperspace. This combination allowed Foot Solutions to take full advantage of Shopify while securely integrating each franchisee into the overall e-commerce presence.
A customer who wants to shop online and pick up at their local store, can also peruse all of the inventory available at each franchisee store and pickup directly from their closest store. Of course, local franchisees retain control over inventory levels or can work with the franchisor to push excess inventory out to other locations or to support close-outs and other promotions online.