Overhauling Operations at 900+ Five Below Stores with Foko Retail [Case Study]

Since 2002, Five Below has delivered high-quality, on-trend goods at rock bottom prices and an unrivalled in-store experience. It’s currently one of America’s fastest-growing retailers, with 900+ current stores and plans for 2,500 locations.

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Like a lot of retailers, Five Below was stuck using an outdated legacy system to connect with their stores and field teams.

Due to their previous platform’s antiquated interface, virtually all announcements appeared the same to employees, and time was wasted sifting through messages in the backroom. Associates had a hard time staying on top of their workload and prioritizing daily duties. Headquarters had limited visibility into what was happening on the sales floor, and store presentation was suffering.

“The tools that we were using in the past were pretty old school,” says Dave Sanborn, Senior Director of Operations at Five Below. “Our connectivity and the accessibility of communications were so limiting before.”

It was time for an upgrade.


In 2018, Five Below cut ties with Reflexis and began using Foko Retail for internal communications and operations in all of its 900+ stores, and haven’t looked back since.

“Foko Retail has done a tremendous job for us in closing those gaps, and really building a tool and roadmap that we need to be successful in our stores,” says Sanborn. “It’s been game-changing.”


Better Task Management, Better Execution

Before Foko Retail, Five Below found it challenging to assign tasks to stores and make sure they got carried out. District managers would have to send repeated follow ups, stores had bandwidth issues, and images weren’t always “well-rendered.” Ultimately, it was hard to prove things were getting done.

“Managing this many stores requires having a structured task management process in place, and if you don’t, you’re not going to execute well,” says Sanborn.

With Foko Retail, there’s no more second-guessing—district managers get notified as soon as tasks are submitted for approval, and HQ can quickly sift through photos to ensure proper in-store execution.

Headache-Free Onboarding

Unlike other retail tech, Foko Retail was quickly onboarded at Five Below—and ahead of retail’s most important season, no less.

“We were able to successfully implement this tool before a busy holiday season, and within weeks, nobody ever missed Reflexis,” says Sanborn. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and IT implementations don’t usually go like that.”

“Qualitatively, our field leaders are seeing a measurable difference in compliance. In the past, with communication tools, they might have to print out 30-to-40-page documents in black and white. Now, they have a tablet on the sales floor… it’s just common sense that we’re going to improve our execution.”

Dave Sanborn, Senior Director of Operations, Five Below

Increased Compliance

At Five Below, Sanborn says they’re aiming to eliminate texting and other time- consuming forms of communication between regional directors and their stores.

Now, thanks to Foko Retail’s task management capabilities and two-way communication, Sanborn and other senior team leaders can get instant visibility.

“Qualitatively, our field leaders definitely believe that they see a measurable difference in compliance,” he says. “Pretty much every cross-functional department has visibility into what the stores are doing.”

Less Time Wasted

Before Foko Retail, it was hard for frontline staff to stay up-to-date on new announcements, follow directives, and connect with superiors.

“An example I always give about our store managers is that they had to go through a locked office in the backroom and a password-protected computer in order to get communication,” Sanborn says.

Now, employees can receive corporate communications straight on the sales floor, even when they’re interacting with customers.

“The efficiency that we gain from the head office is tremendous, but the efficiencies we get from the stores are even better because they just go to one place for all of their information,” he says.

More Than a Service

According to Sanborn, another thing that sets Foko Retail apart isn’t just the product itself, but the people behind it.

“The Foko Retail team has huge credibility with us. They really try to understand what our business opportunities are and work with us,” he says. “I would like to say they’re part of my team… with third-party vendors, you never feel that way, but in this case we do.”