By Bill Roberts
REI announces that its stores will not be open on Black Friday. It is a great marketing campaign which instills its business objective for enjoyment of the outdoors.
We all have been through the assault on our sensibility that has become commonplace with Black Friday consumer behavior; I have seen hundreds of people lined up inside a Walmart for the chance at buying one of a few televisions at remarkable prices. Hey, anyone at the end of the line has no chance at all.. but there they stand... ignorantly waiting. My wife and I have found excellent deals two to four weeks in advance of Black Friday sales at many outlets.
So why join the herd?
I have vowed to never shop on Black Friday because of the hype and congestion; I am not alone in this practice, either. Many consumers are fed up with over-commercialization of the holidays. REI is a part of a new trend in marketing: getting back to being the company and brand your customers expect by not following the hype created for profits' sake. I have a great respect for REI taking this stand. Although I do not shop at REI because I am not currently active in outdoor activities, they are the first place I will go to if I ever decide to reconnect with the outdoors.
This is a prime example of creating an organic, honest, meaningful, and integrated message to the consumers. REI is in business to make money, and they will make plenty without Black Friday. Additionally, they will be paying their employees for the day off. Experts agree that happy employees translates into far better customer service. This is a win-win for business and consumers alike.
For consumers who believe in the hype of Black Friday, they can have it! For REI, it is a day to get back to what really matters - the great outdoors and connection with what is more important. Black Friday can just take a hike, so to speak. Kudos to REI.