Roam app targets NI high street after Bangor launch

L-R: David Ervin from The Red Berry Coffee House and Eatery; Glyn Roberts, Retail NI; and Andrew Bartlett, Roam Local founder.
L-R: David Ervin from The Red Berry Coffee House and Eatery; Glyn Roberts, Retail NI; and Andrew Bartlett, Roam Local founder.

A SMARTPHONE platform designed to enhance the high street experience, has been rolled out in Bangor.

Roam Local takes the form of a social media-style platform designed to connect communities, enhance safety and well-being, and support local business.

Set up in Durham by former professional jump jockey Andrew Bartlett, the app already has more than 500,000 subscribers.

The platform is now planning a Northern Ireland roll-out, with Bangor the first area to sign up.

It has been backed by Bangor Chamber of Commerce, Retail NI, Hospitality Ulster and Ards and North Down Borough Council.

Mr Bartlett claims the platform has helped boost footfall and revenues by up to 30 per cent in areas where it operates, helping users to access information on entertainment options, find new places to go and receive personalised offers and rewards.

“Any shop, café, pub, restaurant or venue, in any location, is already listed on the platform, and any business can enhance their profile and promote themselves on Roam using the digital marketing tools to engage with the local community, business travellers and tourists alike,” said the tech founder.

“Roam Local is most effective when a location’s businesses and other stakeholders come together to celebrate what’s on offer – and I’m delighted that Roam can contribute to the great efforts being made in Bangor.”

Welcoming the Bangor launch, Retail NI chief executive, Glyn Roberts, said: “The pandemic has shown us that there is a new appreciation for thriving local neighbourhoods, high streets and town and city centres and the role that ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses play in making a destination worth living in or visiting.

“Bangor is beginning to blossom and I’m confident that digital technology such as the exciting Roam Local app, will be the way forward to help connect businesses looking to market themselves with existing and new customers keen to find out more about what their community has to offer.”

Ken Sharp, owner of the Salty Dog hotel and restaurant in Bangor has already signed up.

“The Roam app has the power to help Bangor’s transformation by empowering local businesses to better promote themselves,” he said.

“It’s a great marketing tool for us to keep in touch with our customers and update them regularly on all our news, menus and activity.

“I recommend other businesses sign up too so that together we can harness its potential for everyone’s benefit.”