Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Membership now as great as the outdoors!
Already a member? Take a look at the Co-op Members section of the community.
Ready to join? Explore all of the benefits here.

What does REI do to rise above the competition?

I am doing a project in school for which we have to establish pain points that a company has and the competition that they have over them. I was wondering, what are some things you do in REI that rise above your competition?

(These could be from the quality of your garments, to your stewardship, faster shipping, rebates etc.)



6 Replies

@pageeightstudio thanks for reaching out with this question! We've decided to post this to the broader community to see what our members and customer might say...

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@pageeightstudio I am not from REI, although I am a member. 

Somethings that I have noticed is that they actually care about your experience with the gear that they sell. They also offer a lot of discounts for members as well as non-members. They are really informed and hire people with experience in the outdoors. It isn't like going to a sporting goods store where the cashier doesn't know anything about the products that they sell. They have a community in which other retail companies do not have. Overall, I trust the reviews made on this site as it is coming from people who have experience and employees that will do anything they can to help you have a better experience in the outdoors. 


So in short, they actually care and know what they are talking about. 

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@pageeightstudio REI also isn’t afraid to take a stand on important issues. REI pulling brands off of its shelves due to those brands’/parent companies’ lack of responsible discourse on gun safety is one of the things about the company that has really stuck with me. 

I’ll also agree with @HoughtonLikeTheLake . The staff are knowledgeable, which makes going into the store to shop both enjoyable and worthwhile.


Earning a dividend and receiving the occasional 20% coupon in the mail also doesn’t hurt 😄.


@pageeightstudio REI was established before there was any competition.  In the 1950s, when I was introduced to rock climbing, there were only four stores in the US where you could buy carabiners - two in Colorado, one in California, and REI in Seattle.  We ordered by mail, an activity at which REI excelled.  There was also their excellent guarantee and their wonderful dividend.  That, plus the cooperative aspect of their business - profit was not the main business objective - gave REI a different look to the consumer.  And customer service has always been a high priority.

I  mentioned in another post how we mailed a check to REI while they air mailed climbing boots for one of our party prepping for a climbing trip to the Mexican volcanoes (1961).  Just one example of good customer service.

Things really got rolling when REI opened stores outside Seattle.  I entered my first REI in Los Angeles in 1985, impressed with the huge inventory and knowledgeable sales staff.

I, too, am happy to patronize an establishment that supports sensible outdoor recreation, in all its many aspects, not just climbing and hiking, and that gives regularly to organizations that support preservation of outdoor spaces.

REI - Live long and prosper!!


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Simply put. They don't. REI does not offer free shipping on orders under $50, or free returns. If you want to purchase anything under $50 from REI plan on having the price marked up. In contrast REI's largest competitor offers free 2 day shipping and free returns to all their members. You can consistently find the same items you can from on amazon prime for a lower price. REI does nothing and continues to do nothing to rise above the competition. You can't even get an answer from management when this answer was clearly directed at them @REI-JenK 


@pageeightstudio As someone else mentioned, the REI staff actually do the activities that their gear is made for. They also have worthwhile short classes at some of their stores. I did a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail in 2018, and went to a few thru hiking classes at the REI in downtown Austin. What I learned in their classes helped me plan for my trip.