Ribble Cycles brings human touch to online shopping

Ribble Cycles has given its online customers access to in-store experts thanks to the launch of new technology.

Utilising Go Instore’s software, the bike retailer is allowing consumers across the globe to interact with and view products directly with an expert team member based at its Preston showroom in the north-west of England.

The link-up is only with the Preston shop for now, but the service could be rolled out to other showrooms in due course. Ribble operates a showroom in Birmingham, and is also currently running a pop-up shop at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.

Ribble said the technology will help give online customers more confidence in making the right purchasing decision.

Andy Smallwood, CEO at Ribble Cycles, commented: “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.”

Matt Lawson, the retailer’s chief digital officer, described the service as “immersive live video calls”, adding that early results have been positive in terms of customer uptake and sales.

The technology provides two-way audio, with one-way video only for the customer, so the retailer’s staff will not be able to see the customers. Through offering the store connection to online customers, Ribble will also be offering extended 'opening hours' as Live In-Store will be available into the evening and on Sundays.

Go Instore is one of a selection of new retail technologies aiming to bridge the online-in-store divide. Companies such as Hero and iAdvize are helping retailers humanise the online shopping experience by connecting their customers with experts via video link-up and live chat.

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