ModCloth Closing its Site for Black Friday
Online clothing and gifts retailer ModCloth is closing down its site Friday and promoting family time over shopping. ModCloth, which Walmart purchased earlier this year, is focusing on generosity as well by donating $5 million in merchandise to Dress For Success, an organization that helps women transition back into the workforce, per a news release. The brand is asking social media followers to nominate someone who deserves recognition for giving back to their community. Participants can post a picture or video to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #BlackFridayBreakup for the chance to win $4,500. ModCloth will be back in business on the weekend, starting Cyber Monday promotions on Sunday with 30 percent discounts and free shipping through Nov. 28.
Total Retail's Take: ModCloth is following the lead of REI, which three years ago shook up the retail industry by announcing that it would be closing its stores for Black Friday. REI has received positive press and customer feedback from its decision, and it doesn't seem to have negatively affected its bottom line, thus making other retailers more willing to close on Black Friday as well. What ModCloth's press release doesn't make clear is if consumers will still be able to make purchases on the site on Black Friday, and that they just won't be fulfilled or shipped that day. It sounds like that won't be the case, and the e-commerce site will be unavailable to shoppers. To me, that's a mistake. ModCloth can give its employees the day off (including warehouse personnel responsible for fulfilling online orders) while still having its website open for business. Furthermore, having the e-commerce site operational on Black Friday doesn't preclude ModCloth from its charitable campaign with Dress For Success. Many consumers look forward to shopping on Black Friday, and ModCloth is taking that decision out of their hands. This feels more like a publicity stunt for ModCloth than a sound business decision.