Ribble Cycles

With a proud history of hand-crafted, customisable bikes dating back over 120 years, Ribble Cycles is a renowned global retail brand with a loyal following of professional and leisure cyclists. Maximising digital channels to achieve business goals, Ribble have increased brand awareness and engagement online.

Growth in website traffic YoY


Growth in Facebook engagement


Socially-driven revenue growth


A proud history

Many of the greats of professional cycling, including Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Boardman, have either been contracted to use Ribble Cycles or began their cycling careers on them.

In 1987, the brand was one of the first to offer mail order bikes. With the explosion of ecommerce and continued investment in digital technology from the company, Ribble Cycles has continued to expand and grow year on year.

Digitising the business

In 2015, Chief Digital Officer, Matthew Lawson, was brought in to further digitise the business. A full review of all digital channels was conducted. “At the time social media was being used ad-hoc, we were just playing with social really, with the odd retweet here and there. Our branding and content was also not consistent or of the required standard across our channels,” said Matthew. A phased plan was drawn up to address the identified opportunities and challenges.

Increasing engagement

The introduction of a PR and social media agency was the fastest way to introduce some immediate consistency and strategic direction to the content. This generated an almost-overnight growth in engagement and clearly highlighted the business need for further investment in social media. It also flagged that Ribble’s customers wanted to speak to them on social media and identified a big opportunity around social customer care.

Bringing social in house

Once Matthew had implemented some of the key strategies from his initial review and Ribble’s digital offering was beginning to take shape, he made the decision to bring social media back in-house. “We felt that the only way to really communicate our brand soul was to have it come from the people that live and breathe our brand and our bikes. We also know our customers better than anyone else, so bringing social in-house also meant that the content we shared really resonated with our audience. This change resulted in an immediate step-change for the business,” said Matthew.

Improving efficiencies

Bringing the social media operation back into the business wasn’t without its challenges. Multiple logins raised security concerns and ownership around different responsibilities had to be defined. An effective way to plan ahead with content campaigns and to respond quickly to customers were also areas that needing effectively managing. This was when Ribble engaged with Orlo.

Talking with customers, not at them

Chief Digital Officer, Matthew Lawson, says, “The Customer Service module within Orlo means we are no longer talking at our customers, we are now talking with them - the design of the inbox makes this possible and is essential to our wider ecommerce strategy. Direct Messages are routed straight through to our customer service back office, where they use the social CRM within Orlo to gather the context around a customer before quickly responding. It’s so intuitive and effective that even our CEO now has a login, he loves to jump in and answer customer queries, it helps him stay close to them and understand their changing needs.”

Delivering campaigns across channels

The introduction of Orlo generated a step-change in online customer engagement. It also allowed the marketing team at Ribble to effectively plan ahead and schedule social campaigns to coincide with key seasonal events, such as Black Friday. This helped Ribble link content across all online channels, ensuring campaigns were integrated, consistent and successful.

A strategy for each social media channel

Looking forward, Ribble plans to define a specific content strategy for each social media channel. Instagram will be used for strong branding and inspiration, Facebook for the right mix of sales and content, Twitter is already embedded as the perfect channel for customer service conversations, and LinkedIn allows the business to share behind the scenes at Ribble, showcasing the world-famous manufacturing, its people and awards.

Revenue growth linked to social media

Ribble plan to have less of a dependency on Google going forward, moving away from heavy spending on Adwords. “Social media has shown itself to be bigger than Google for us, with website session proving to have a higher spend than traffic driven from online PR. In the five months since we introduced Orlo, website traffic is up 60% year-on-year, Facebook engagement is up 63% and online revenue is up 17%,” said Matthew.

Culture of innovation

Ribble is now responding to their customers faster than ever online, managing their brand and conversations, and turning potentially problematic comments into positive resolutions. Their brand soul now shines through with authenticity and social media is a key channel for product launches - all rooted in a long-standing culture of innovation defined by, test, learn and iterate.

Ribble Cycles @RibbleCycles

“In the five months since we introduced Orlo, website traffic is up 60% year-on-year, Facebook engagement is up 63% and online revenue is up 17%.”

@MJLawson1 - Matthew Lawson - Chief Digital Officer

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