Think different: REI, Outdoor and fitness retailer closed for Black Friday

I always love seeing think-diffcompanies do things differently. We live in such a follower society, where companies do what everybody else does. No originality. Followers seldom succeed in business. The trendsetters, the originals are the ones that really make an impact.  Apple of course comes to mind, but happily there are other examples.

So, as you can imagine I love seeing what are REI is doing in closing on Black Friday. They of course are an outdoor outfitter, so this whole OptOutside hashtag is a fabulous idea on many levels. From an employer’s standpoint, this will have a positive ramifications for a long time. People looking for work will look at this company with a favorable light. Even customers that enjoy the savings that Black Friday offers will be impressed and we’ll have a much more positive view of this company. Everyone wants to support a company that does the right thing by its employees.

Now of course the naysayers will find something negative about REI. I read one analyst who said they aren’t deep discounters anyway so it’s not a big deal. Way to go negative you genius.

“The thing that is powerful to me is this clearly is not a financially self-serving act,” he says. “It’s an act where we’re really making a very clear statement about a set of values.” ~REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke

They are even taking it a step further, REI will have no Black Friday promotions and won’t process any online orders until Saturday. They will just a small handful of its approximately 12,000 employees will be on call, while the rest get a paid day off. This to me really shows their commitment to this. I figured their web department will be processing orders although the brick and mortar stores themselves would be closed. So, this isn’t a publicity stunt, this is an authentic attempt to change their company values, and highlight their commitment to their workers. So those folks get to spend more time with their families, which is exactly what Thanksgiving is for in my view.

Now of course, you are wondering what does this have to do with my company, RooSites. Well, since you asked I will respond with the answer. One of the main things I always tell clients is that a website if nothing else should differentiate you from your competitors. You need to show why you are great. We spend too much time doing competitive analysis, when we really need to be spending time showing them why we our better, why we are the best. Your about page (which is one of the most viewed) is a great place to do this. I encourage you to make sure that page shows your value proposition.

Real Estate Firms Not Utilizing QR Codes

qrcode.31797561I went for a walk the other day and went by a few houses for sale. Some of them even had URLs on their signs. But none had a simple QR code. Someone driving by could just click on it go right to the webpage and learn more about the property. I figured maybe this was just an anomaly, but over the last week I’ve been driving around and I did not see a single QR code on any signs.

Let me take a step back.  For those of you who are not aware of what a QR code is, I will explain.  QR codes are Quick Response codes. These are barcodes, that can be read by free apps on your smartphone. The barcode example on this page takes you to my website. They can send someone to a website, and perform many more functions. Here is a list of the functions a QR code can do.

Website URL
YouTube Video
Google Maps Location
App Store Download
iTunes Link
Plain Text
Telephone Number
Skype Call
SMS Message
Email Address
Email Message
Contact Details
Digital Business Card
Wifi Login (Android Only)
Paypal Buy Now Link

So why would a real estate company not put a QR code on their signs? I can’t really answer that, truthfully it boggles the mind. My guess is when real estate markets are strong, they get a bit lazy. The problem is this isn’t hard, you generate a code in seconds. You can go to free sites like: or

In business, there are few things that are free. So when something free and beneficial comes your way, take advantage of it. And this just doesn’t apply to Realtors. Here are some examples:

I put a barcode on my business cards. I know other people that link to a vCard so somebody not only gets their cards, but they automatically add this person to their address book. That is a valuable commodity. With a business card you keep them for a while and typically throw them away. But if you’ve added that person to your address book chances are it’s going stay there for a while.

paypal-qrcode-exampleAre you a business that sends snail mail or hands out paper flyers? Then consider this: You can send somebody your flyer with the picture and all the information about your product and then have a barcode which takes them to PayPal to buy your product (see image).

Do you do email marketing? Say you are having a sale. Use a barcode with a google map. They can then take their phone and grab map and navigate to your sale.

Bottom Line: Real Estate companies absolutely need to use QR codes on signs and marketing collateral. But your business, no matter what it is, can benefit as well. If you have any questions, you can always contact us for assistance.