For the first time its 84 years, specialty outdoor retailer REI Co-op is significantly changing the ways that members can connect with the co-op by relaunching its lifetime membership program. The relaunch includes new lifetime benefits that make it easier for members to make the most of every experience outside and be part of a community that supports a new outdoor culture. With each membership purchased, REI is donating $5 to the REI Cooperative Action Fund to support organizations committed to justice, equity and belonging in the outdoors.
“REI was founded in 1938 by 23 friends who shared the belief that a cooperative enabled a more rewarding outdoor life. That love for the outdoors continues to drive our interest to strengthen our connection with members,” says Vivienne Long, REI senior vice president, chief marketing officer. “We have the opportunity to provide our members with so much more. Our relaunch is the beginning of a new chapter for the co-op and represents the first step of many toward a member experience overhaul that has community engagement at its core.”
Five new and enhanced membership benefits are:
- REI Cooperative Action Fund donation: With each new membership purchased, REI will donate $5 to the REI Cooperative Action Fund. The Fund supports organizations committed to building a new outdoor culture and improving the health and well-being for all people.
- Member Collection: A broader, curated set of products just for members will launch each month, such as brand collaborations, limited editions, early access and special offers.
- Used gear just for members: Used gear offerings, now called Re/Supply, are now just for members. Only members can shop for used gear online, in-store, or at REI’s Re/Supply stores in Manhattan Beach, California and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Members can also trade in their gently used gear for gift cards and help extend the life of a product for use by fellow members. REI estimates that buying a used item avoids 50% of carbon emissions from new product manufacturing.
- Free shipping: Members receive free U.S. standard shipping on all orders, with no minimum purchase required. Exceptions apply for international shipping and oversize items.
- Shop service discount: REI’s trained technicians tune, repair and improve the performance for all bikes and snow sports gear. Bike, ski and snowboard shop services discounts are now doubled to 20% off for members. Bicycle flat tire repairs and ski/snowboarding machine wax service continue to be free.
“REI’s membership relaunch comes after more than a year of planning and research. We heard from a diverse group of potential members who shared that the new program has broad appeal to be part of a broader community and creates the opportunity to make a meaningful impact, ” adds Long. “Membership is the best way to experience REI Co-op because it provides a lifetime of boundless discovery.”
The new benefits join REI’s widely recognized membership program. Members receive an annual return through Co-op Member Rewards, typically 10% of eligible purchases each calendar year. They also enjoy deep discounts on gear rentals and REI experiences of adventure travel, day tours and classes. Members receive members-only coupons and offers throughout the year and are invited to participate in REI Conversations, an online community where more than 32,000 members are connecting, learning and sharing their inspiration and expertise.
With each member joining the co-op, REI will donate $5 REI Cooperative Action Fund, a community-supported public charity introduced late last year to harness the collective power of the co-op’s members and employees to build a more equitable and inclusive outdoor community. The Fund supports organizations that are focused on connecting people outside, creating space outside and centering health outside. REI expects to donate more than $7 million to the Fund over the next 12 months through the membership program. In 2021, the Fund invested $1 million in 19 organizations across the country.
REI’s Cooperative Action Fund complements the company’s broader community investments. Since 1976, REI has invested over $100 million in organizations across the country that create access to outdoor places and enable transformational outdoor experiences for all people. In 2020, more than 460 nonprofit partners received $6.3 million. REI’s community investments for 2021 will be shared next month in its annual stewardship report.
Anyone can purchase a lifetime membership to the co-op for a one-time fee, which will move from $20 to $30 when the new benefits launch on March 2. The enhanced membership benefits program is valued at more than $85 per year. REI last adjusted the price of a lifetime membership fee in 2008, but did not make significant improvements to the membership program.
Today, REI has 20 million lifetime members. With an aspiration to grow to a 50-million-member community by 2030, the co-op is taking bold steps to transform its business. Guiding those actions is REI’s focus on strengthening its relationship with its membership, connecting more people to the power of the outdoors and inspiring them to fight to protect it.
About the REI Co-op
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 20 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 174 locations in 41 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.