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#OptOutside pays off for REI once again

REI's #OptOutside movement has paid off for the retailer for the second year in a row.

REI struck marketing gold last year with its #OptOutside campaign that encouraged employees and consumers alike to eschew shopping for outdoor activities, or what it called “a cultural counterweight to Black Friday” and “a new holiday tradition for all Americans.”

And, once again, the effort has reportedly paid off for the specialty outdoor retailer. Citing data from digital market intelligence company SimilarWeb, GeekWire reports REI saw increased traffic on Thanksgiving Day – 549,000 visitors to be precise, which is up 31% from last year.

On Black Friday specifically, REI.com reportedly netted 716,000 visitors, which is up 36% from Black Friday 2015. The brand also saw increased traffic on Cyber Monday with 1,019,000 visitors, which is an increase of 35% from 2015, GeekWire said.

According to REI, the #OptOutside movement attracted 6 million participants this year as the retailer again shut its 149 locations, processed no online sales and paid its 12,000 employees to take the day off. 2016 saw the addition of more than 475 nonprofit, government and corporate partners and an outdoor activity finder, which, according to a press release, also served as a hub to get involved, declare support and invite others to join the movement.

It also inspired a similar effort from clothing company Patagonia, which said it would donate 100% of its Black Friday sales to organizations working to protect the air, water and soil for future generations – and reportedly saw a 93% jump in Thanksgiving traffic as a result.

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Lisa Lacy

Lisa Lacy is a senior reporter for The Drum, covering digital and search marketing. Based in New York, she writes about how brands use technology to connect with consumers, particularly as innovations like voice search, digital assistants and the Internet of Things change consumers’ lives forever – not to mention the data these platforms increasingly collect and the security and privacy issues therein. She is a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism. Her bucket list includes riding in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

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