Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI Co-Op) is doing an amazing job to promote their #OptOutside movement. The movement that was started in 2015, occurred during Thanksgiving day and continued to Black Friday. REI closed all 143 of its stores, something many might consider a poor business move considering that Black Friday is considered the busiest shopping day in the U.S. As of October 30th, 2016, almost 670,000 people have committed to going outdoors instead of shopping on Black Friday and the number is growing quickly as Thanksgiving inches closer.
This movement has not only grown popular with customers who frequent REI, but also with organizations that have found themselves overwhelmed with the obsession of always trying to get a dollar out of the holidays. The popularity of #OptOutside has led many companies to follow in their footsteps. There is something healthy about showing appreciation to your employees by closing your doors for a day, giving them a day to recharge and spend time with family, and REI definitely sees the benefit in doing so.
In addition, REI’s customers are able to handle the majority of their marketing. The company has done an amazing job breaking down the walls that stand between their customers and themselves, and this allows customers to have the voice needed to share the company’s vision. This year, REI is starting their campaign by asking one question: Will You Go OUT with Me? When you come visit any of their retailer locations, you can pick up a poster, and sign up to #OptOutside. In addition to coming to the store, you can go online to their website and sign up there. In doing so, users can upload an image and place a special #OptOutside filter on top of it and post it on their social media. REI then can showcases these images in their gallery. After users have created their images, they can then search for things to do within their region on Thanksgiving day to find their own adventures.
With their call to action, they create connections with their customers and make them feel valuable. They begin to feel less like a customer and more like a part of the team and understood. When this happens, you create an environment that customers feel wanted in, and therefore create a greater urge to come into your stores or visit the many touchpoints you have with your customer base. REI is going strong, even if they close on the holiest shopping day of the year, and they won’t be stopping anytime soon!
So with that, I have a question: Will you go out with me? #OptOutside