Bike manufacturer and retailer Ribble Cycles has launched a new Live In-Store portal with the aim of providing customers with the same advice they'd get inside one of its three shops, via the internet.
The 1897 founded British bike brand has partnered with customer engagement platform Go Instore to bring the advice of expert sales assistants to people's homes via online video chat.
Audio will be two way, whilst video will be one way - customers will be able to see the in-store colleague, but not vice-versa. The service will be available during standard opening hours (9.30am-5pm Monday to Saturday), as well as in the evenings and on Sundays, when the shop is closed.
Advice will initially come from the team at Ribble's Preston store, but with shops also in Birmingham and Bluewater there's potential for a further roll-out should the endeavour prove successful.
There's no obvious signs that Ribble is recruiting extra staff to run the service initially, with just two jobs advertised on the site at present.
Ribble's CEO, Andy Smallwood said: “As a leading direct-to-consumer, digital-first business, Ribble is the first in our sector to offer an authentic retail experience in an online format. Ribble Live In-Store offers the consumer the opportunity to gain access to a physical store, a dedicated expert Ribble brand champion and the complete product range via their own phone, tablet or laptop.”
The service compliments Ribble's direct sales method - customers can buy bikes online, speccing out the frame of their choice via the Bike Builder. Sales via this method reduces the need for bricks and mortar stores, thus allowing Ribble to offer bikes at a competitive price point.
With the brand now designing its own frames, most recent review models have impressed the Cycling Weekly tech team, receiving 9 and 10/10 scores, with value for money always a key factor in the verdict.
A common criticism of the direct-only sales method is that the customer loses easy access to buying advice, a downside this new platform aims to remedy.
Go Instore Co-Founder Andre Hordagoda explained: “As a keen cyclist and having been through the consultative process of buying road bikes over the years, I fully appreciate the need for professional support in getting sizing and configuration just right.
"From the early conceptual days of Go Instore we always felt we would work well with a leader in this category - so it’s great to be partnering with an award-winning brand such as Ribble and we are excited to deliver their excellent customer service to consumers worldwide.”
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
Best cycling base layers: A buyer's guide
Our guide to cycling base layers, including long sleeve, short sleeve and sleeveless base layers, as well as what you should look for in terms of fit and materials
By Rupert Radley •
CHPT3 and Vielo claim to have created the perfect gravel bike
The limited run of 50 bikes will each receive a unique custom paintjob
By Stefan Abram •
Bike gears: shifting explained for beginners
We talk you through how to use your bicycle gears efficiently and properly
By Michelle Arthurs-Brennan •
Zwift: Everything you need to know about the online training and racing platform
From Watopia to the Zwift Academy - check out our complete guide to start your virtual cycling experience
By Henry Robertshaw •
Electric bikes and UK law: what you need to know
Do you need a licence to ride an electric bike? What's the maximum permissable power output for an ebike? Read on to find out more...
By Nick Busca •
How to buy an e-bike: Everything you need to know about electric bikes before you purchase
Are you wondering how to buy an e-bike but don't know your torque from your power or your hub drive from a mid drive motor? Then you've come to the right place
By Rupert Radley •
Is an e-bike worth it? Why an electric bike is perfect for commuting
An e-bike is the perfect mode of transport for commuting to work
By Luke Friend •
The best electric bike conversion kits and how to fit one
Feeling a little e-curious but don't want to splash the cash?
By James Bracey •
Best road bike wheels reviewed: disc and rim wheelsets
Our complete guide to what to look for when buying your new road bike wheels, including the type of rim, the material, and the depth you should go for.
By Stefan Abram •
A new look for Strava app with updates to the navigation bar
The new design should make the app more intuitive to use, as well as offering the promise of “room to grow when it comes to developing new features
By Stefan Abram •