According to the Fort Collins (Colo.) Coloradoan, Fort Collins bicycle retailer Big Shot Bikes is using build-a-bike kiosks to bridge the gap between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailing.

Big Shot Bikes, which sells customizable single-speed bikes, is rolling out self-service kiosks in bike shops that allow shoppers to design and buy bikes online, while still having the shop involved. Bikes are shipped to the local retailers, which then assemble them.

Ryan Clark, operations manager at Big Shot Bikes, said the company is working to meld online and brick and mortar.

"The problem with being an online dealer is people go in (to a bike shop), get fitted, and then go home and order the bike on our website. It does not give dealers a way to keep customers in the shop," he said. "This is bridging that gap. It is one of the biggest things, brick and mortar vs. e-commerce."

Currently, Big Shot has installed one of the $1,200 computer kiosks in its showroom and in Lee's Cyclery, 202 W. Laurel St., Fort Collins, Colo. It will be deploying seven more in Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles bike shops.

To date, Big Shot has sold almost 20 bikes through the kiosk in Lee's.

While the brick-and-mortar store doesn't make much profit on sales of bikes through the kiosks, one retailer told the newspaper he hopes those sales result in return visits from those customers to buy more equipment or for service on the bikes.

Read more about retail kiosks.

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