By Gabrielle Diepenbrock, Account Support
I have always found it ironic that the biggest shopping event of the year, Black Friday, occurs right after a holiday where we are supposed to gather around a table with loved ones to celebrate what we are thankful for. Instead, most of us eat a quick Thanksgiving dinner and head out to line up at big box stores to buy, buy and buy.
Not that I am guiltless of Black Friday shopping. Who can say no to all those fabulous deals? And what store can say no to their customers when Black Friday profits are going to sustain them for the upcoming year?
Apparently REI can. They are closing all their stores for the day and are giving their employees a paid day off. And they are not only saying no to the shopping frenzy of Black Friday, but they are embracing the decision with their #OptOutside campaign. The campaign focuses on spending the holidays outdoors rather than in a shopping aisle – which strengthens REI’s outdoors brand image and helps them stick out from the crowd.
Press organizations like USA Today and Wall Street Journal are picking up the story like wildfire, and REI created a microsite where visitors can join REI to #optOutside this Black Friday. So, although they're losing money by closing their doors and shutting down their website on Black Friday, but they're hoping that the gamble pays off in customer loyalty, brand image, and, of course, higher sales on #CyberMonday and throughout the rest of the holiday shopping season.