Week In Review: REI Says No to Black Friday

Instead of shopping on Black Friday, outdoor clothing and equipment retailer REI wants its customers to #OptOutside. The retailer, who has been vocal in the past about stores opening their doors on Thanksgiving, will keep its “closed” sign in its brick and mortar windows on Black Friday.

Not only that, REI plans to take it a step further: In a letter addressed to its 5.5 million members, REI announced plans to close its doors on Black Friday at all 143 of its retail locations, headquarters and two distribution centers. Instead of reporting to work, the co-op is paying its 12,000 employees so they can do what they love most – be outside.

Yes, REI will also shut down its ecommerce site. Even retailers who have opted to be closed on Thanksgiving Day can get away with it because they will still get sales via their ecommerce site. REI.com will feature a black takeover screen that encourages customers to #OptOutside.

But… but… but Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year! Won’t REI lose a lot of money? Probably not. For the past few years, brick and mortar retailers who have been open on Thanksgiving Day have noted their Thanksgiving Day sales actually cannibalized their Black Friday sales – basically, Thanksgiving Day shoppers are doing Thursday night shopping in lieu of beating the Black Friday crowds.

Will other merchants follow suit? Possibly. Baltimore Sun noted that a local bicycle retailer, Joe’s Bike Shop, will join the festivities, and KING5.com said Seattle-based outdoors retailer Outdoor Research will as well.

And REI has such a niche product line and a loyal customer base that those customers, too, will be fine supporting the #OptOutside cause (and most-likely will spend Black Friday outdoors, too). They’ll be back as soon as REI re-opens its virtual and physical doors.

Here’s a look at this weeks’ news, commentary and events that shaped the direct-to-customer world… and more.

Marketing

share-this-icon-75X75Toys “R” Us released its annual toy catalog featuring an augmented reality component for the 2015 holiday season…Deloitte Digital released its holiday shopping survey revealing several holiday disruptions for online retailers. Lands’ End opens first ever holiday pop-up shops in Boston and New York City… Most merchants have yet to begin to implement an omnichannel strategy, noting a lack of resource and investment as the primary reasons for the stall, according to this survey by The CMO Club in partnership with Rakuten Marketing… The quality and completeness of product information across industries and retail channels can significantly impact online sales and brand trust, according to a newly released study by Shotfarm

Ecommerce

Add-To-Cart-Icon-75X75The vast majority of smartphone owners who use their phones to shop will be using their devices to help shop during the hectic 2015 holiday season, finds the new 2015 GPShopper/comScore Holiday Mobile Shopping Survey… Acme Tools added PayPal digital payment platform to its ecommerce website for online customers… Modcloth choose Demandware for next generation commerce platform… Canadian furniture merchant Urban Barn launched its entire online retail operations on MarketLive’s platform… Target launched an international ecommerce site with the help of Borderfree, but its Canadian customers aren’t impressed… Ecommerce sales at Carter’s have risen 12% for the first three quarters of 2015, and 6.2% for the third quarter… Moxie has launched a digital engagement suite for ecommerce storefronts… Visa has brought token technology to Visa Checkout… Yottaa has partnered with Japanese high-end fashion brand TADASHI SHOJI to enhance the label’s web applications… QVC has announced the launch of its app for Apple TV… 1000Bulbs.com has added “Login and Pay with Amazon” to their list of checkout options… Mozu announced custom athletic apparel Boathouse Sports as its latest cloud commerce client… Payscout says the shifting ecommerce landscape is impacting economic policy…

Operations

shipping-delivery-75X75While Target is once again offering free shipping for online orders this holiday season from Nov. 1 to Dec. 25 – citing its success in 2014 – rival Walmart is sticking to its guns with a $50 threshold … Like Uber, Postmates and FedEx, Amazon is now facing a lawsuit from contract delivery drivers who claim they should be classified as employees. … Joining Amazon and Google up in the air, Walmart has asked the FAA for permission to test delivery drones outdoors. … Cabela’s has opened a new 600,000-square-foot distribution center in Tooele, UT, while a deal has closed and work is starting on a 1 million-square-foot DC for Dollar General in Janesville, WI. … UPS says its peak volume will increase 10% this year, while rival FedEx puts the growth figure at 12.4%, although off a smaller base. …Target turns to eBay for international shipping… Dotcom Distribution has partnered with fashion jewelry retailer Adornmonde.  Curbside will be expanding its mobile shopping and curbside pickup service to 100 additional Target locations next week…

… And more

newsVince Holding Corp. has appointed Brandon L. Hoffman as its CEOChico’s FAS names Wal-Mart Executive Shelley Broader as its new CEO… BuyAutoParts.com announced the recent acquisition of the domain Turbochargers.com… Outdoors retailer Gander Mountain announced that Derek Siddons, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, will assume the role of President, effective on the retirement of current president Michael J. Owens, on October 31… KingOfPOP.com is leaping from the virtual world and expanding into the supermarket aisle

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