June 30, 2011, 4:58 PM

REI hikes the demand and e-commerce trail with Trails.com

REI will power GearStore@Trails.com.

Lead Photo

Outdoor gear and apparel retailer Recreational Equipment Inc. is broadening its web horizons.

REI, No. 62 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has signed a new e-commerce and content deal with Demand Media, a content development and social media company that operates brands such as eHow, Livestrong.com, Cracked and TypeF.

Under the terms of the three-year deal, REI will provide merchandise and process transactions for GearStore@Trails.com, a Demand Media outdoor adventure web site that provides trail guides, topographic maps, articles and videos to outdoor enthusiasts. “Demand Media’s mission is to create engaging online experiences that help consumers pursue their passions. We are doing this by providing specific information and access to products that they likely want to purchase or recommend to their fellow enthusiast,” says, Larry Fitzgibbon, Demand Media executive vice president of media and operations.

In return for stocking and running GearStore, REI will license content for REIGuidepost.com, which includes topics covering more than 50,000 recreation destinations and information about activities, skill levels, elevation, conditions and driving directions. “Guidepost is an online extension of our knowledgeable and friendly expertise,” says REI director of brand communications Natalie Crain. “With the new tool, users can easily access user-friendly information on local outdoor recreation destinations to help make their next outdoor adventure even more enjoyable,” she says. “The new offering enables REI to build upon the wealth of information already presented on our web site, complementing expert advice articles on a wide range of outdoor interests, videos, blog posts, customer reviews and more.”

REI generated Internet Retailer-estimated web sales of $318.5 million in 2010, up about 22.9% from $259.2 million in 2009.

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