The rush to find the perfect gift, the lines around the store, the stampedes to get the best deals. For years, chaos has defined Black Friday as brands compete for excited customers and often put their employees at risk. Every year we hear about both customer and employee injuries as a result of shopping. But now, more companies are shifting their focus to mindfulness and making a difference.
Modern customers care about more than just things. Firstly not everyone wants to spend their day off of work on a screen or fighting traffic in a store. They might prefer playing games with family or enjoying a quiet walk with their dog. Many customers now consider the environmental costs of their purchases and want to make sustainable choices. More customers than ever prefer spending money on experiences over things. The growing obsession with sales and materialism is counter to the beliefs of many customers who focus more on quality than quantity.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff famously wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times earlier this year highlighting the negative impact of capitalism and calling for an end to companies’ obsession with maximizing profits for shareholders.
Companies that go against the Black Friday trend send a powerful message about their social and environmental stance. By likely giving up large sales on the biggest shopping day of the year, it’s clear to see where their priorities lie: caring more about their employees and the environment than adding more money to the bottom line. These companies show they are friends to consumers and the community instead of only caring about money.
A growing number of companies are boycotting Black Friday and instead sharing their messages of mindfulness with the world. Here are five companies that aren’t participating in Black Friday:
1. REI. The outdoor store was one of the first retailers to buck the Black Friday trend when it closed five years ago. The company pays its 14,000 employees and encourages employees and customers to spend the day outside instead of fighting crowds in stores. The closure started as a way to protect employees but has turned into a practice in mindfulness. This year’s messaging surrounds environmental issues and encourages employees and customers to take simple actions to reduce their environmental impact.
2. Deciem. Beauty company Deciem is taking Black Friday off this year with a “moment of nothingness” during the hectic day. The brand is closing its stores and pausing its website all day Friday to combat what it calls hyper-consumerism. By extending its sale through November 30th, excluding Black Friday, Deciem hopes to fight the rushed purchases of Black Friday that hurt the environment and consumers.
3. Everlane. Instead of hosting a huge sale, clothing company Everlane uses its Black Friday proceeds to fund improvements to its factories around the world. This year, the company will donate to remove plastic from beaches for every order. Everlane’s choice to not host a sale but instead to use its profits for good highlights the move from materialism to helping issues around the world.
4. Cuyana. Cuyana practices mindfulness throughout the year, and especially on Black Friday. The company creates high-quality bags and accessories to encourage customers to have fewer items in their closet that are better quality. On Black Friday, the company will donate a portion of every purchase to victims of California fires.
5. STATE. The bag company always gives back with its buy one-give one mentality. For every backpack purchased throughout the year, the company delivers a backpack to a child in need. Although the brand is running a discount on Black Friday, it is also giving a portion of its proceeds from the weekend to a nonprofit organization. The philanthropic efforts shift the focus of Black Friday from just buying things to helping people in need.
These companies demonstrate the growing shift from Black Friday madness to more intentional mindfulness. When products become commodities, brands need to shift their focus to make it more about experiences and less about simply selling products. Black Friday is a great opportunity for companies of all sizes to show their dedication to something bigger than profits and highlight mindfulness in the customer experience.
Blake Morgan is a keynote speaker, customer experience futurist and the author of two books including her new “The Customer Of The Future.” Stay in touch with her weekly on her newsletter.