Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. But do you actually need to sell inventory on Black Friday to succeed? History may prove otherwise. Perhaps closing stores on Black Friday is, unconventionally, a better way to sell your product. Maybe instead of finding a way to get customers to bang down your door, you found a way to get them talking about your brand instead — which could prove more beneficial down the road.
Keep these thoughts in mind as you prepare for next year's Black Friday. Or, for that matter, any sales holiday of the year.
REI and Patagonia: A New Type of Marketing Campaign
Last year, REI decided to close all of its 143 retail locations, along with its two distribution centers and headquarters, on Black Friday, according to Adweek. And even though they shut down shop, the company still paid all of its employees for the day's work.
REI also shut down their website by featuring a black takeover screen with a message displaying #OptOutside, a campaign to encourage visitors to use the hashtag and relay the importance of taking some time to enjoy the great outdoors. This campaign demonstrates that the company is staying true to its brand. And, at the same time, it gets customers engaged by allowing them to share their stories and spread the word, which in turn drives attention to REI.
Patagonia — for decades, known for its anti-consumerism stance — has also implemented unconventional Black Friday campaigns that have led to positive results. For instance, their 2011 full-page advertisement in the New York Times called "Don't Buy This Jacket" showed the environmental costs of its top-selling R2 fleece sweater and discouraged customers from buying it, according to The New Yorker. This powerful message helped Patagonia to boost their sales significantly the following year.
Why You Should Consider Closing Stores on Black Friday
Unique Black Friday campaigns, like those of Patagonia and REI, can help businesses develop a positive brand image and build customer trust at the same time. It's an alternative way to market your brand and an opportunity to stop for a moment to relay your message and show your customers that you care — factors that may pay off down the road. In this way, closing up your store on one of the the most popular shopping days of the year could, if done right, ultimately boost your business.
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