Global expansion seems to be on everyone’s mind these days, home markets are where reputations have been built, but where is the future growth going to come from, not from there clearly!

High streets are dying and prime retail space is difficult to come by, the last thing you want to do is to open stores in the wrong place, or to cannibalise trade in your existing stores. So global expansion comes to the fore, but the cost and the risk need to be balanced, and brand values are key.

Clearly the Franchise route is appealing, benefiting from local market expertise, less upfront cost and a shared risk with the right partner. The key to this must surely be technology, which already delivers the ability to trade internationally with the end consumer. This has driven retail growth in the recent past, companies have embraced it, and it’s been a successful venture, so what are the drivers?

In today’s trading world, everyone has access to the internet, almost irrespective of where they are in the globe, certainly a business that you might consider partnering with as a Franchisee will have this.

Surely the way forward with Business to Business relationships is to make use of this, enabling franchises/partners to trade online, viewing catalogues, placing demand, following the status of orders/deliveries, placing comments and feedback on the range, the logistics and how they are trading.

Essentially what we are describing is a B2B trading portal, a window onto your range, displaying high quality product contact/images, enabling global demand to be managed. Such a portal can also be a key sales tool, not only something that reduces risk and cost, but deliver sustainable competitive advantage. Gone are the days of constantly jetting off with samples in an attempt to position your range, as are the constant trips to the high street, in the B2C world!

I believe this is the way forward, big business like La Senza and Aldo are doing it and with the cost of technology coming down and the cloud become all pervasive, it’s now possible for all scales of business!