Build Your Dream Bike…
With a heritage going back 123 years, Ribble Cycles’ digital vision has helped them stay ahead of the competition. Sarah Varley speaks to Matthew Lawson to find out more
Ribble Cycles are leading the way in the cycle industry. As well as award-winning bikes and some of the world’s lightest electric bikes, their cutting-edge digital technology, their focus on the customer journey along with their unique BikeBuilder experience and Go Live web options really sets them apart. Since 2016, Chief Digital Officer Matthew Lawson has been leading the digital transformation of the brand.
“Everything moves fast here as we continuously strive to improve and innovate,” says Matthew. “I go to work every day and see the passion of the people who work here. Andy Smallwood joining the company as CEO was pivotal because his vision to ensure every bike we sell is one we would want to ride ourselves, resonates throughout the company.”
“Andy saved up as a child for his dream Ribble bike – Bradley Wiggins did the same. We want to bring back that excitement of owning the ultimate bike. We don’t do gimmicks, we make bikes with elements that will make a difference to our customers.”
Ribble Cycles is unique in that every bike is custom-built from start to finish in Preston. Together with their direct-to-consumer business model means customers can have unparalleled choice in terms of personalisation, all at an affordable price.
“Because we cut out the middle-men and pass these savings on to the customer it means you’re getting a better bike for your buck and unrivalled customisation because every bike is custom-built by one mechanic. Where other brands would charge tens of thousands of pounds for a customised bike, we have made this accessible and offer it on every single bike.”
“We created our BikeBuilder experience to bring customers the perfect bike first time. Other brands cater to average sizes, but everyone is different. Female cyclists buying other brands often find they need to purchase an extra stem or bar as the bike is too tall or wide. We have also borrowed concepts from the luxury car industry to offer customers a similar excitement when selecting trim, colour and finish. It’s about creating something unique.”
Building your bike on Ribble Cycles’ website is ultimately enjoyable thanks to the user experience team who have made it fun and intuitive. You can change as much or as little as you want, keep it simple or get as technical as you like. CustomColour (an upgrade for around £300) allows you to get creative adding gradients or mixing fades to truly personalise your new bike.
Matthew of course has his own perfect Ribble bike: “It’s matte black with gold detail, a matching gold chain and has features like deep-section carbon wheels and aerodynamic rims,” Matthew smiles. “It looks really cool. I might not be the best cyclist, but I can have the best bike!”
“As a digital company, we are only as good as the people who work here,” adds Matthew. “We give our teams creative freedom to pursue their vision without fear of making mistakes, encouraging them to push themselves and try things that haven’t been done before. We are working at the leading edge of our industry, and to be a world leader, you need to be steps ahead.”
Being digital, Ribble Cycles are not limited by footfall into a physical store – they can literally have millions of people walking around their virtual store each month: “We are the first in our sector to offer live video one-to-one tours – it means we can open up our showroom to the whole world. Our showroom managers and assistants are cycling enthusiasts with genuine passion. Live web tours are available from 9am right up to 11pm to meet demand in different time zones. Our customer base is truly global and our aspiration is to be the world’s best cycle company.
“There is still so much more to come,” Matthew adds. “The rest of the industry is looking at what we have done in awe, but we have only just begun.”
363 Leach Place
Walton Summit Centre
Bamber Bridge, Preston PR5 8AS