REI Opts Out of Black Friday

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Painfully early mornings, obnoxiously long lines, crazed customers, pushing, shoving, screaming, fighting; people are getting fed up with Black Friday and REI has also had enough.

Since 1938, REI, as an outdoor sporting goods retailer, has been dedicated to getting people outside. This month REI will be implementing that even further by opting out of Black Friday to spend time outside instead.

Despite other retail stores where customers will be waiting for hourly sales, standing in long lines, and pushing through crowds, REI’s 143 stores will be closed the day after Thanksgiving.

The co-op issued this announcement on October 27, and have publicized to the community by encouraging people to use the hashtag #OptOutside on social media to share what they’re doing on Black Friday outside, instead of shopping.

REI’s website is marketing this campaign by hosting a countdown until they “#OptOutside”, as well as a button on their homepage for people to “join them outside” and a tracker of how many people have committed to #OptOutside. Currently over 800,000 people are cheering for REI’s shunning of Black Friday.

REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke shares the following statement on REI’s website:

“We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth. We’re a different kind of company—and while the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we’ll be spending our day a little differently. We’re choosing to opt outside, and want you to come with us.”

Many companies are viewing REI’s heroic decision as a model for the future of marketing. REI’s decision is an example of what happens when a brand has a truly empathetic understanding of its customers and uses that understanding to create experiences that customers value.

Will you continue your tradition of fighting crowds and waiting in lines on Black Friday? Or will you join REI as they #OptOutside?

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