Discount store operator Five Below teamed up with Boston Retail Partners to implement in-store technology supporting new point-of-sale capabilities, self-checkout and tablet-based solutions, according to a BRP press release.
The retailer was able to deploy the technology, including a mobile platform enabling store associates to focus on customer engagement rather than back office tasks, in 750 store locations over 13 months.
The technology investment comes after Five Below carried out an aggressive expansion program last year to open more than 120 new stores.
Five Below has made its brick-and-mortar ambitions very clear over the last year, opening new stores at a rapid pace that might seem more characteristic of a previous era. It has its heart set on opening 2,500 stores, and even has broken new ground among discount retailers by opening a flagship location on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
The retailer doesn't seem in dire need of this expansion, as it already surpassed $1 billion in revenue in 2017, and has been on track for more than $1.54 billion in revenue for 2018. It's an interesting success story for a retailer whose stores the Washington Post recently described — endearingly — as "a wonderland of things no one needs."
But, stores can't thrive on charm alone, and simply opening as many as possible, and as quickly as possible, in and of itself is no longer enough for any retailer aiming to win over customers. Brick-and-mortar ubiquity, in other words, won't guarantee success today (and probably never did). Rather, retailers need to keep up with customers' evolving expectations for the kind of in-store experiences they want.
Physical stores opening in the age of digital influence need to be outfitted with technology that streamlines product discovery and checkout experiences, and enables store associates to spend quality time engaging with shoppers instead of with inventory. Some store operators are in the position of having to retrofit this technology into old store operations on the fly, but as Five Below continues to plot out its massive expansion program, it can include this kind of technology as part of it strategy from Day One. In doing so it may emerge as one of the retailers driving major changes in the sector.