Jockey’s smartphone app gallops to national award success

A racehorse jockey is celebrating after his business-boosting smartphone app beat a field of 10,000 to win a major award.

Andrew Bartlett’s free to download app, Roam Local, promotes more than 20,000 North-East businesses by increasing their exposure locally and nationally.

And now it has romped home to its first national award, beating 10,000 other businesses to be named “Tech Product of the Year” at the Restaurant and Takeaway Innovation Expo in London.

Darlington-based Andrew – Roam Local’s founder and MD – explained: “I developed it to help promote local businesses against the multinationals and online retail giants like Amazon so they can increase footfall and bounce back from lockdown.

“It has already proven a success by businesses which have started using it, which has helped us win a couple of local awards.

“But now, against 10,000 other businesses, we’ve beaten the odds and scooped the top national prize of ‘Tech Product of the Year’, which I’ve brought back to the north.”

Andrew, who had a successful career as a jump jockey before developing Roam Local, says the app has been backed by several North-East MPs, local councils, Business Improvement Districts and Area Action Partnerships, with a ‘#ShopLocal’ trial of the app being funded in Chester-le-Street.

More than 200 businesses have participated, providing marketing support to shops and advertising banners lining the front street to spread awareness and rejuvenate the community and local economy.

Around 40 per cent of local households have downloaded the free app, with local shops receiving over 150,000 impressions – businesses which have been “clicked on” by locals.

Deborah Price, from the Craft Fair Company in Chester-le-Street, said: “We love being on Roam. We’re finding it really useful and encouraging our customers to download and interact with us.

“We like how we can showcase our business information and services to attract both locals and visitors to shop with us.”

Mr Bartlett said the Roam Local app is not only designed to attract new customers, but to build loyalty and encourage repeat business.

Babul’s Indian restaurant in Barnard Castle signed up over 300 followers after adopting Roam as its “go-to” marketing platform.

Owner Zak Ahmed said: “We joined Roam Local during the Covid-19 pandemic with little idea if it could save us, but we increased our profits by 30 per cent in just four weeks.”

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