REI Co-op is revamping its membership program to offer its members more. We went straight to the source for all the details.
REI Co-op Membership is getting an overhaul with the addition of new benefits, exclusive gear, and more. We spoke with Vivienne Long, REI senior vice president and chief marketing officer, to find out what’s behind the co-op’s changes. “We always think about adding value for our members, and we’re pretty excited about this change,” she said.
For years, REI Co-op members have enjoyed rewards and coupons, which will continue. The new perks include free shipping, greater discounts on in-house services, a renewed emphasis on its used gear, and more member-exclusive products.
“The biggest reason is that we want to expand membership to allow us to achieve our mission, which is to connect everyone to the power of the outdoors,” said Long.
“Expanding our membership allows the co-op to connect everyone to the power of the outdoors just as we’ve done throughout our 84-year history. We believe with more people outdoors, there will be more advocates who want to protect natural spaces for the next 80 years, and beyond.”
The membership changes start on March 2. Existing members don’t need to do anything to enjoy the added benefits. REI hopes the changes will interest more people in a lifetime membership for $30, a portion of which goes to its community-supported public charity.
Members will continue to receive an annual return through REI Co-op Member Rewards. This is typically 10% of the eligible purchases made the year prior. REI will continue to mail discount coupons and other discount offers to members throughout the year.
New REI Membership Benefits
- One-time donation to the REI Cooperative Action Fund for new members
- Members-only access to Re/Supply used gear online and in-store
- Free standard shipping for online orders, no minimum
- Access to Member Collection: apparel and gear just for members
- Member Shop Services Discount doubled to 20%
Building a More Inclusive Outdoors
For every new membership, REI will donate $5 to the REI Cooperative Action Fund. It is a community fund created to allow employees, members, and the community to support equity in the outdoors and sustainability of the outdoors, Long explained.
The Cooperative Action Fund financially supports organizations that are growing outdoor culture, from local grassroots groups to national nonprofits to research universities. According to its website, the fund prioritizes “organizations that are leveraging the outdoors as a tool for equity, healing and joy, social justice, civic action, youth development, or creativity.”
REI’s Cooperative Action Fund complements the co-op’s broader community investments. REI reports investing $6.3 million in more than 460 nonprofit partners across the country in 2020. The co-op’s 2021 giving will be shared next month in its annual stewardship report.
REI Used Gear Is Now ‘Re/Supply’
REI is rebranding its used gear program as Re/Supply.
In the past, REI Garage Sales created seasonal shopping events, with buyers camping outside for hours at some locations to get early access to the used items.
Now, these sales will be a part of the Re/Supply used gear program that is accessible year-round, online and in-store, for members. Trade-ins will receive gift cards for use in Re/Supply, on new gear and apparel, or on REI’s experiences.
“It is the perfect example of purpose over profits,” Long said. “And an opportunity to lean into member-sharing as well as sustainability and accessibility.”
Long said the renewed emphasis on Re/Supply should increase the number of quality items accepted and resold at its stores. The intent of such “re-commerce” is to divert more gear from landfills and offer new and existing participants in outdoor activities a lower price.
Long said customer feedback indicated that members loved exclusive and early access — to new gear or limited-edition collaborations.
“We are expanding Member Collection so that we’re enabling many more products just for members that are early-access, exclusive collaborations, and only available to members,” she said.
Every month, the Member Collection will release new gear and products exclusive to members.
In the past, REI has collaborated with artists on exclusive designs, brands with REI-specific color schemes, as well as larger collaborations such as the West Elm outdoor patio collection.
The REI Shop Member Services discount is bumped up to 20%, and the ski and bike shops continue to offer free maintenance services like a free wax for boards and skis or a bike tube repair. The brand’s objective is to keep gear in good shape so it lasts longer.
Online orders no longer need to meet a $50 threshold for free standard shipping. Some large-item exceptions persist, but the idea here is not having to wait to fill up a cart to order gear you want now.
REI has an aspirational goal of growing its 21 million lifetime members to 50 million by 2030.
“The membership relaunch is just the beginning of a new chapter for the co-op that has community engagement as its core,” Long said. “We’re excited to welcome 30 million more members that represent all different types of people that want to get outdoors.”