So by now you have likely heard about REI, the retailer who was closed not only yesterday, but today.  They are causing quite a media stir with their decision to forgo Black Friday sales as it is quite antithetical to the strategy of most major retailers.  REI is encouraging its customers and employees to “opt outside” instead of shopping and to share their experiences on social media. 

I wonder how many of their employees will do so.  Does the day off inspire them to take advantage of Black Friday sales since this may be the only chance for them to do so?  Or do they truly want as far away from retail madness as possible and the last place they’ll be seen is near a store?

Either way, REI has garnered some great publicity and good will amongst its staff.  It was a bold move, one with unknown financial consequences, but the dollars they lost in impulse sales will likely be recouped by the free promotion it gained.  

How can you think outside of the box and look at the model differently?  Black Friday could mean frenzy, or having the store lights blacked out.  Maybe with #optoutside, REI is on to something.

— beth triplett

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