The New Black Friday with REI #OptOut

On November 27th, Black Friday, REI will be closing the doors on all 143 store and paying their employees for a day outdoors.


With their #OptOutside campaign, REI will be the salmon swimming upstream in the retail business. The company has accepted the predicted revenue loss, but has decided to focus on their employees and the lifestyle the company promotes. Over the past few years, several retailers have been pulling back from the madness of Black Friday by remaining closed on Thanksgiving and opening later on Friday.


Which is why REI is encouraging retailers and people alike to join them in going outside to #OptOut of Black Friday . The Outdoor Research company has followed their example and also announced closures of their corporate offices. REI is a company that sells outdoor goods and their marketing campaign promotes an outdoor lifestyle. “For 76 years, our co-op has been dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a lie outdoors. We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth.” said President and CEO Jerry Stritzke in a press release. “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.”



In sacrificing sales, the company is betting big on consumer loyalty.  As an outdoor retailer REI sells a lifestyle with it’s products and this is as much a marketing opportunity as anything else. With the closures, REI has been making headlines all over the country.


While the brick & mortar shops may be locked, their website will still be operating as usual, with the exception of a landing page encouraging it’s web shoppers to #OptOutside. As one of the largest privately held outdoor equipment retailers, REI has the money and the freedom to close their doors. While this may not be an option for many shops, it makes a statement. Smaller retailers rely on this day as one of their top sales days of the year, even though they would like to remain home with their families. The shoppers are out there, so the stores are open.


The move is more than just closing it’s doors for a day. They are making a statement by shutting down on one of their top 10 sales days of the year. In doing so, they are creating a movement, great marketing campaign, and gaining massive amounts of credibility from their customer base.  REI is betting this customer loyalty will pay off. In putting their employees ahead of the bottom line, REI is staying true to their employees, customers and mission.

Monica Banks
Monica Banks