1. REI continues its stand against the Black Friday frenzy
Canada – The outdoor retailer REI is continuing its tradition of closing its 154 stores on Black Friday, and instead encouraging customers to head outside and enjoy nature.
It is the third consecutive year that the brand has adopted this Righteous Retail strategy, which also provides staff with an extra day of paid holiday to explore outdoors. This year REI has created a user-generated Instagram campaign with the hashtag #OptOutside, which lets people click on a post and see real-time information about the location and experience, as well as using the content to create a series of 20 branded videos to create a greater sense of community and connection to the outdoors.
2. ModCloth focuses on the local community over profits
US – In line with a growing sense of disillusionment with Black Friday, online retailer ModCloth has this year launched its #BlackFridayBreakUp campaign. The brand’s site will be out of action today, with ModCloth instead choosing to give back to the community with a donation of clothing worth more than £3.7m ($5m, €4.2m) to non-profit-making Dress for Success, which helps women re-enter the workplace.
Like REI, ModCloth is giving its staff an extra day off and will be running a social media contest throughout the day that highlights the charitable deeds of ordinary people.
This is the first time in ModCloth’s 15-year history that it will close for Black Friday, demonstrating a shift in thinking away from a purely profit-driven strategy towards a desire to play a more active role in the community.
3. Pinterest Secret Santa helps users locate the ideal gift
Global – This Christmas, image-led retail and inspiration app Pinterest is launching its Secret Santa feature, which creates a Pinboard of items designed to help users identify gifts that best reflect their friends’ and family members’ tastes. Using Pinterest’s API, the application uses the recipients’ pinned boards to collate a new board of gift ideas, helping to eliminate the guesswork involved in present-buying by providing a more streamlined search experience.
In addition, Pinterest is also collaborating with brands such as Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond and CVS Pharmacy, all of which will provide their own curated gift inspiration through the platform.
4. A store interior 3D-printed from upcycled plastic
London – Luxury handbag and accessories brand Bottletop is opening a new store in Regent Street where the interior will be entirely 3D-printed from waste plastic. Created in partnership with Krause Architects and 3D printing technology company Ai Build, the space will be constructed over a two-month period by industrial robots.
During this time customers can visit the space and interact with the iiwa robot, which has been programmed to print personalised Bottletop bag charms from upcycled plastic filament to be taken home as a memento. As awareness increases of the damage that plastic waste does to the environment, forward-thinking brands are using technology to help move towards a circular economy.
5. Number of Black Friday shoppers plummets
6. Thought-starter: Is time up for cut-price sales?
With consumer interest in seasonal sales already waning, Irregular Labs co-founder Claire Hobson asks whether adaptive pricing might be the final nail in Black Friday’s coffin.
Black Friday is here once again. It’s savage and occasionally fatal, but hordes of consumers think nothing of risking death and dignity for double-digit discounts and bundle buys. But what would happen if retailers removed specific events that spiked your motivation to shop?
That’s the concept that greets you when you enter the half high-tech, half industrial, thrown-together Calvin Klein and Amazon store in the middle of New York’s SoHo. The crux of the experience is that the garments have no prices or tags. Prices can be vary on different days as they’re driven by the market. You merely scan the shelf ticket using your Amazon app, and the best price on Amazon.com will appear and that’s what you pay.
Such everyday adaptive pricing partnerships could fundamentally change the promotional retail calendar and dilute the Black Friday circus to modernise sales models for 21st-century shoppers. But will these daily price shifts enamour or alienate the next generation of consumers?
Read the full Opinion piece here.