Covid-19: Ribble Cycles to host virtual bike show

Premium bike retailer Ribble Cycles has announced it will host a virtual bike show on Friday 27 March, as retailers of all shapes and sizes continue to find innovative ways of serving consumers against the backdrop of a global health emergency.

The ‘Ribble Live’ event will replace what the company had planned to showcase at The London Bike Show on 27-29 March – an exhibition that has been postponed due to the coronavirus crisis.

Interested parties can tune into, Facebook Live, or YouTube via their tablet, mobile device or laptop to hear the latest news about the brand. The Ribble stand planned for the London Bike Show has been recreated at the company’s headquarters in Preston, and the business will livestream their experts talking through the current range.

Each stream will be followed by a virtual Q&A session, giving consumers – and those who had planned to attend the show before it was postponed – an opportunity to ask any questions.

The London Bike Show was scheduled for 27-29 March at London’s Excel exhibition centre, but has been moved to 3-5 July in light of the escalating Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic which has shut down many parts of the UK, including thousands of retail stores.

Retailers and hospitality providers are looking to innovate in light of their physical operations either closing down or suffering from lower footfall as people reduce their social interactions to slow the spread of the virus.

Drinks chain Costa Coffee is one of several businesses that switched to only accepting contactless payments in its stores, in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus and help staff and customers maintain adequate social distancing. However, like many others, Costa has decided to close its stores as of close of trading today (23 March) to protect workers and consumers.

Meanwhile, London-based retailer The Camden Watch Company announced today that – although its shops have shut as a coronavirus health precaution – it is making a limited number of its special edition No. 29 Horse Hospital timepiece available online. Usually only available to buy in-store at the company’s flagship Camden location, the watch will be merchandised online on 27 March, and any purchases will be fulfilled by the husband and wife co-founders, Anneke Short and Jerome Robert.

When those have sold out, it will revert back to becoming an in-store-only item, as soon as shops are able to open again.

Short said: “We know these are difficult times and while we rely a lot on foot traffic to our stores which we have temporarily closed, we know tourists cannot come to us so we’re going to them.”

And in the world of food service, Bidvest – a business-to-business food supplies company – has started selling direct to consumers, in another example of how organisations are changing to deal with these unprecedented times.