The announcement of Outdoor retail chain REI to keep stores closed on Black Friday 2015 has created enormous media and social network attention.
REI stores stay closed on Black Friday and employees get paid to take the day off to go outside. With this announcement Seattle based outdoor and sports retailer REI has landed a huge marketing hit, dominating the Black Friday topic in media and social networks. According to our research on BuzzSumo, media reports about the REI Black Friday 2015 announcement have been shared about 1 million times.
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The "REI Black Friday" phrase was mentioned on the web about 1,000 times since the announcement. Headlines like Forbes' "REI Shocks Retail World By Closing For Black Friday, Paying 12,000 Employees to 'Opt Outside'" highlight the power of REI's announcement.
REI will keep all 143 of our stores and paying our employees to head outside. The retailer wants to start a movement and asks its 5.5 million strong customer community to come along and #OptOutside.
While this is a refreshing new Black Friday marketing idea, it remains to be seen how effective it will be for REI. As soon as the Walmart Black Friday 2015 Ad is released, nobody will talk about REI anymore. The retailer is taking itself out of Black Friday 2015. It will be interesting to see if they are able to raise attention for a potential online REI Black Friday sale in the coming weeks.
Last year REI opened stores for Black Friday sales at 8am on Black Friday. Online Black Friday sales started on Thanksgiving Day and savings included up to 50%. REI appears not to be concerned about losing revenues by closing on Black Friday. REI has won the Black Friday marketing game now a week ahead of the first Black Friday 2015 sales expected to be launched by Walmart and Amazon.
Black Friday shoppers will then switch into deal mode and focus on Black Friday news about deals and sales and not on news about closed stores on Black Friday. They are indeed more concerned with which retailers open their stores on Thanksgiving Day for Black Friday 2015 sales.
REI CEO Jerry Stritzke explains the unusual decision in the video message below.
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation's largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 5.5 million active members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 140 stores in 33 states and 12,000 employees.
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REI has setup a page for the #OPTOUTSIDE campaign here.