Behind the Scenes: Product Owner Ben

Ready for some more behind the scenes info? This time we speak with Product Owner Ben, and ask him all about app development, and what we can expect from the new app. 

  1. You’ve been working for Roamler for a while now, but maybe not everyone remembers you. Can you briefly introduce yourself and tell us exactly what you do at Roamler?

I joined Roamler about 3.5 years ago as a Project & Community Manager at Roamler Belgium, after moving to the Netherlands a year earlier. Before that, I was already doing tasks for Roamler and I really liked the company. When I saw a vacancy for team Belgium in the Netherlands, I immediately applied!

Almost 2 years ago we were looking for a Product Owner for the mobile team and I liked that as well, I applied again and now I am responsible for the development of the Roamler app. My main task is to optimise the value of the product. I do this by finding out how users are using the app, what they need, and by regularly talking to stakeholders to make the app better.

A year ago we came to the conclusion that it would be better to use a new framework to build the app. The whole project has taken blood, sweat, and tears, but now that we are about to release, it is especially exciting!

 

  1. What do you like about your work?

Probably the moments when a feature is ready to be tested. It feels like getting presents at Christmas, time and time again. Getting to see the end result of the whole process and then being the first to see what it will look like is really cool.

On top of that, it really is a privilege to work with this team. They are some of the most talented people I have ever met. They are really excited about the new app because it really feels like we can have an impact on how thousands of Roamlers perform the tasks.

 

  1. What do you find the biggest challenge when setting up the new version of the Roamler app?

We wanted to do this in the first place because we really needed a completely new version of the app. Because we want to go live as soon as possible, sometimes difficult choices have to be made. Which feature do we really want and what can wait?

The app is not used in the same way by everyone. This means that what is important for one person, is not necessary important for the other. Those choices are sometimes extremely difficult. Of course, we try to take feedback from the Roamlers into account as much as possible. In the end, they are the most important.

 

  1. Could you give us a hint: what is your favourite new feature in the app?

That’s hard to choose, but I think the feature that will have the most impact will be the navigation in the questionnaire. Easier navigation between questions has been a much sought-after feature for a long time. I also like the task categories in the app, because it provides a better overview and you will be able to see your favourite tasks at a glance.

A lot of what I like best about the new app is behind the scenes. We have taken really big steps to do much better ‘debugging’ and also the new way of submitting tasks will be much faster than before.

 

  1. What do you think the ideal Roamler app will look like in the future?

In the ideal Roamler app, users will be in control of their own career. They should also be able to take training courses in the app to learn new skills and see new tasks based on those skills. If, for example, you want to work as a handyman, you should be able to do so in the same app, as long as you can submit all the correct certificates, of course.

In addition, it would also be nice if we could create some more community feeling in the app again!

 

  1. Do you have a fun/handy tip for Roamlers when using the app – maybe something you think many Roamlers don’t know about?

In the new app, you will be able to preview the questionnaire for some tasks. This way, you won’t have to accept the task before you start to read the whole task. Very handy if you want to see what you’re going to do before you get started!

 

 

For Roamlers, By Roamlers

As a Roamler you are part of a Community. That’s why we would like to share with you the experiences, motivations and favourite tasks of your fellow Roamlers. For the monthly blog, we gathered some insights from another Roamler Community: the Dutch Roamlers.

The first question we asked them was: “How long have you been a Roamler and why did you start using Roamler?”. It was clear to that most became Roamlers through old fashioned word of mouth. But there was another large part that first hear of Roamler via a blog or social media page.

  • “I’ve been a Roamler for about a year now. I started because a client of mine was very enthusiastic about Roamler. That’s why I wanted to try it for myself.”
  • “Two weeks ago I became a Roamler again after having been an active Roamlers years ago. Why? Because I enjoy the tasks, the extra money is useful, and it gives me a reason to get back on my bike!”
  • “I started a few months ago, to save up for a fun trip: a day out with the kids.”

 

We also asked you what their favourite tasks are. Many Roamlers made it clear they like doing mystery visits, but there is a large group that prefer tasks where they can announce themselves to the staff.

  • “TV screen checks! I like sitting in cafes, so I can do this discreetly while enjoying a drink.”
  • “Red bull tasks really are awesome tasks to do!”

 

Whilst performing tasks can end up in all kinds of situations. We asked them what the craziest / most fun / most exciting experience was whilst performing a Roamler task in 2019. This question also got a couple of remarkable submissions.

  • “During a Red Bull task I was in the supermarket, when suddenly the roof came down because it had been raining so much the night before!”
  • “I decided to drive through the entire province to do as many coffee checks as possible. I drove around the whole province of Groningen!”
  • “Haha, I arrived at a live sport check and everybody thought I was a celebrity.”

 

The last question we asked them was what their Roamler goal is for 2020.
We were happy to hear that many Roamlers indicated that they want to become a Merchandiser in 2020.

  • “Becoming a Merchandiser, to save up for my motorcycle license!”

  • “In 2020 I want to do as many tasks as possible to raise money so I can help a child in Africa buy learning materials for school. I would also like to save up some money to go on holiday. I hope I can achieve my goals through working with Roamler.”

  • “I want to reach a higher Roamler level and save up enough for a weekend trip.”

Golden Rules

As a Roamler, and especially as a Roamler Merchandiser, you represent us and our customers in the stores. You can imagine that therefore how representative you are, your attitude and the way in which you conduct a conversation is so important!
In this blog we will tell you the Golden Rules when it comes to visiting a location. This will help you to perform the tasks optimally!

As a Roamler (merchandiser) …

Representative
… you don’t wear caps or other head wear during the visit
… you don’t wear shorts during the visit
… you don’t chew gum during the visit
… you don’t eat or drink during the visit
… you never bring someone else (partner / family member / pet etc.) to a visit!
… you never bring visible branded items from the competitor with you to the location
… you always complete a task via your own account, not via someone else’s Roamler account

Attitude
… you make sure you are always enthusiastic!
… you make sure you always have an active and helpful attitude

Conversation
… you read the tasks carefully in advance, so you know what you have to do!
… you know how to explain Roamler in general
… you are always friendly to everyone during the conversation!
… you always introduce yourself (shake hands, give your name and you speak calmly and clearly) at the desk
… you tell the staff what you would like to do and (when it’s needed) show the explanation letter
… you always consult with the staff where to place any promotional materials
… you never argue with the staff!

By applying these tips, the chance that you get permission from the store to complete the task is much bigger! It’s possible that the store does not give permission for this, which is unfortunate of course, but as said before you never argue about this with staff!

Do you have any questions about this? You can always contact us via UKsupport@roamler.com. We are happy to help if you can use further tips to make your visit as professional as possible!

Why we do what we do

Maybe you are already aware of all the reasons why… But sometimes you might be wondering; why is the task that I’m performing important for the client? In this blog we will give you some insights into the reasons why we are performing jobs for clients.
Read on quickly if you want to learn more!

Why are we doing…..

…product checks?
The client gets insights about the availability of their products. With the pictures and answers you provide in your submissions, we give them immediate insights in their products on the shop floor all over the country (or even Europe). They can use this data to make top-level business decisions for future improvements.

…merchandising tasks?
With building promotional materials, replenishing shelves with products, or with improving the availability and visibility of products in-store, we help our clients provide customers with the best shopping experience at the right time. This will hopefully lead to the the client’s ultimate goal, namely, that the product will begin to sell itself.

…mystery visits?
During the mystery shopping tasks you behave like a real customer. You experience the customer experience and evaluate it afterwards.
With the results of a mystery shopping task, the client tries to improve the customer satisfaction and service qualities of the staff. There are a lot of different types of mystery visits, for example: checking product ranges and shelf layouts in the store, or checking the service at specific locations.
Mystery shopping provides this feedback and gives an objective insight into how a customers experience the staff, presentation and other specific service based performances.

Results that are often obtained by mystery shopping research are:
…optimisation tasks!
Our clients make agreements with the head offices of the retailers and pay a lot of money to promote a certain product (on promotion and on regular shelves).
Example of an agreement: In 80% of the stores, product X is on a promotional spot and the promotion is communicated on the regular shelf with product X.
Clients expect more revenue during such promotions. After all, they are present in two places in the store and the promotion is well communicated.
But it seems that agreements are not always (correctly) met. This way, not only the client, but also the stores miss out on a lot of turnover. You – as a Roamler – help them to ensure that these agreements are followed and executed according to plan.


Before – After

Meet the Team… our new Community Managers!

We are very happy to announce that two new Community Managers started last month. In Belgium Sasha and in Germany Ute started their own ‘Roamler Journey’ as part of the team. And of course: they would like to introduce themselves to you!

Ute speaking:
Roamlers are famous for having an eye for detail, therefore I’m sure you already recognised the messages you received from me. So, I think it’s about time to introduce myself!
I’m Ute, 37 years old and the new Community Manager for Roamler Germany since July. Munich is not only my hometown. it’s also the city I love most!
Before joining Roamler I worked for publication companies for the last 14 years. In my most recent role I worked as a Social Media Manager.

I’m super excited to be part of this big Roamler family, but also to be your partner in crime on all your very exciting Roamler journeys! The opportunity of joining an incredibly passionate team and the ability to actively drive the business immediately triggered my ambition to become part of Roamler, a company that supports “out of the box” thinking and offers a wide range of challenging tasks.

From the first moment on I was really impressed about the great atmosphere and the strong interpersonal skills everyone adds to the team. Maintaining this is a priority for me. During my first week the team already showed how passionate and open-minded they were. I’m really interested in learning more about you (the Roamlers), your creativity and what’s driving you.I’m sure we can learn a lot every single day, given the wide range of Roamler tasks. What I have learned from you already: there is always a way!
I’m keen to learn more: I love mystery shopping, food and besides that: laughing and unicorns!

My tip from me to you:
Get familiar with the wide range of uploading pictures and use the options to leave comments! 😊

Sasha speaking:
My name is Sasha Coppens, I’m 29 years old and I live in Turnhout (near Antwerp).
I have done a lot of different odd jobs in the past. So it’s fair to say I went to the university of life 😉 . After a while I started working for Auto1. This is a company that buys cars from customers and sells them to business partners. I’ve had three different functions within Auto1. I really enjoyed working there for three years but I was in need of a new challenge!

Whilst working for Auto1, I was also a member of the party committee. Here is where I learned – through feedback from my colleagues – I can be creative and am skilled in writing and coming up with creative solutions for small (and sometimes bigger) issues.
Like I said, I was looking for a new challenge in my professional life. This time I took my time to look for something I really liked doing. In being Community Manager for Roamler, I found it! I love the diversity, challenge and colleagues that come with this function.

I have to confess I didn’t know Roamler before I applied for the job, and I also have to confess that my favourite task until now is the Domino’s pizza check. (#foodislife 🍕)

A tip I can give all Roamlers is to place the application on the home screen of their smartphones. That way you remind yourself to regularly check the app and its tasks.

As I want to keep a close contact with the community you can always contact me! If you ever happen to find yourself in Belgium wanting to do a Roamler task, don’t hesitate for a second to contact me with questions, stories or simply to get to know each other. I’m already looking forward to meeting and working with you guys! #roamhardorgohome

A Roamler’s Journey

From a Roamler newbie to an experienced Roamler!
What does the growth of a Roamler look like? Where does it start? What advantages do you have in the higher levels?

One Roamler starts out of curiosity and does it for fun while the other thinks it is a challenge to do as many tasks as possible. Where one is saving for a new car or a holiday, the other does it for relaxation and tries to get to the highest possible level: it is all possible, because you decide for yourself.

After you have completed the level 1 training tasks you can start earning from level 2. There you go! Your first real paid Roamler task: you go to your nearest supermarket and count the shelves and meters. You have to get used to the ‘mystery feeling’ a bit at first, but quickly discover how nice and easy it can be. When you have returned home you receive a message from a reviewer saying “Your first paid job has been approved.” Well done! Your first earned money is added onto your account. You immediately decide to look at more paid tasks for more things to do in the area.

Because you are an enthusiastic Roamler and do different tasks on a daily basis which earns you both XP and money, you have now reached level 3! That goes well and it’s great to see that there are even more tasks to do now in your area. In the experience tasks you see that you can sign up for Roamler merchandising ‘What is Roamler merchandising exactly?’ we hear you thinking. Roamler merchandising is a separate community within the Roamler community that allows you to see even more tasks, more challenging tasks and more practical tasks, such as building displays or replenishing shelves. That’s nice: you take a look in the app and can immediately build a display at the store around the corner.

After a number of months (or years) you are a level 10 Roamler and you, the app and your phone are inseparable. Fortunately, there still are the trusty old checks from a few years ago, but you also have access to more challenging tasks. You have already learned a lot because you have received a lot of feedback from the Roamler team of reviewers. Mistakes are made less and less, so tasks get approved even more often! Where at the beginning you might have been a bit uncomfortable walking through the stores, you now know exactly how to handle it. It gets easier and easier for you.
On to the next level, because there are a lot more levels to come!

What to do if…

What to do if…

A Location is closed?

If you arrive at a location which turns out to be closed, the first thing you do is checking the opening times of the store. Make sure you always check the official website or Facebook page of the location, as Google can sometimes show incorrect opening times.
It’s best to always check the opening times before you leave.
What if a store is really closed, either permanently or temporarily (e.g. when it’s under refurbishment)?
Unless the task has a question for this (e.g. ‘Can you perform the task at this location?), you can fill in ‘fake’ answers to allow you to get through the task. Always use every photo option to take a photo of the outside of the store.
When you reach the last comment question, please explain the situation to us as detailed as possible and submit the task.
A location is also considered closed if:
– The name of the store has changed (e.g. the location in the app says Tesco, but it is now a Sainsbury’s)

– The store has moved to another address. In this case you do not visit the new address, but you take photos of the address mentioned in the app.

A product isn’t there?

In tasks we often ask you to take photos of specific products. For instance, we will ask: ‘Please take a photo of Twinings English Breakfast (50 bags) on the shelf. Please ensure you take a photo of the entire bay, captured from top to bottom.’
It can happen that this product is not sold at the location you’re visiting (no stock and no price label). Sometimes the question in the app tells you what to do in that case. When it doesn’t, you always use the photo question to capture the place where you would expect the product to be.

In this case, you would take an overview photo of the tea section in the store. When we are reviewing your submission, we will check the overview photo to see if we can find the Twinings English Breakfast (50 bags), or if you’re correct and the product is not in the assortment of this store.

You are experiencing issues with the app?

Of course there are different types of issues, with different types of solutions. Always read the error message if you get one, as it often tells you what is wrong and how to solve it.

If you do not receive an error message, there are still several things you can try.
If you are in the middle of completing or submitting at task, always try the following:
– Check if your GPS is switched on, and refresh it
– Switch from using Wifi to mobile data, or…
– Switch from using mobile data to Wifi
– Make sure you have a strong internet connection or go someplace where you do have a strong internet connection to submit the task
– If the above does not work, send our team a message via the message function in the app and we will try to help you
If you are not in the middle of completing or submitting at task, always try the following:
– Check if you are connected to the internet
– Check if your GPS is switched on and refresh it
– Close the app completely (not running in background) and open again
– Log out off the Roamler app and log back in
– Delete the app and reinstall it (this will not affect your account)- If the above does not work, send our team a message via the message function in the app and we will try to help you.

You are approached by staff?

A lot of the Roamler tasks are mystery guest tasks. These are tasks in which you cannot announce yourself to the staff, but have to remain a mystery guest.

It can sometimes happen that you are approached by a member of staff or a security guard. In that case you politely explain what you are doing. Explain that you are here on behalf of Roamler (if needed, explain what Roamler is and does). Always remain polite and professional.
Often the member of staff will allow you to continue with your task. In that case, please thank them and carry on.
It can also happen that the member of staff will not allow you to continue, and will ask you to leave. If this happens, you always do so. Please thank them for their time and leave the store. Do not under any circumstance start an argument or discussion. The store owner and their staff have the right to ask you to leave.
Some tips:
– Always dress representatively. Many Roamler notice this increases their chances of being allowed to continue with a task.
– Always be polite to the members of staff (and others), as they will be more likely to help you.
– Be prepared, know and understand what you are going to do in store. This way you can clearly explain when you are approached by staff.
– Make sure you are never in the way of customers or staff.

– A tip to avoid being approached at all: Look confident and act confident. And if possible, always take a shopping cart or basket with you, this will make you look like a regular shopper.

You are sent away?

You are sent away, either because you were approached by staff, as mentioned before, or because the member of staff did not allow you to complete the call when you came to sign in at the store. What to do now?

As mentioned before, you always leave. Please thank the member of staff for their time and leave the store. Do not under any circumstance start an argument or discussion. The store owner and their staff have the right to ask you to leave.
Completing the task when you are sent away is much like when the store is closed. You can continue through the task by entering ‘fake’ answers, and taking photos from the outside of the store. It may be best to take these from an angle, so you won’t be visible from the inside of the store. Never take photos of the floor!

When you reach the last comment question, please explain the situation to us as detailed as possible and submit the task.

Tips from Top Roamlers #2

A few weeks ago we published a blog post with the best tips from experienced Roamlers in the categories App and Photos. For part two, we are sharing all the best tips in the categories Strategy, Reading and Other! 

Strategy

Many Roamlers recommend you check the app at certain times. For instance, check it as soon as you wake up, as some of the tasks go live as early as 7 am. You will always be one of the first!
They also recommend you check the app during your lunch break. You may be able to earn the money for your lunch by completing a task, and simultaneously get some fresh air.
Another good time to check the app for tasks is when travelling to and from destinations, as tasks that were not initially visible because they were outside of your search range, may now be visible.
If you see a task you want to complete, accept it before setting off to the location. If you don’t, another Roamler may have accepted the task once you get to the location! Remember, the higher your level, the more tasks you can accept at one time.

Have an excuse prepared before entering the location. If you are approached and questioned by the staff, a fast and confident reply will defuse the situation. Always be polite to the customer service agents and other members of staff, as they will be more likely to help you.
A bit daunted by the possibility of being approached by the staff? The more tasks you complete, the more your confidence will increase.
A tip to avoid being approached at all: Look confident and act confident. And if possible, always take a shopping cart or basket with you.

Reading

When we asked the experienced Roamlers for the best Roamler tips, we received one answer more than any other: Read well. And for good reason! The vast majority of the tasks that we have to reject, are rejected because the submitter did not read well enough. That is why we always stress the importance of reading carefully!

This starts even before you accept the task. Read the task description well, so you know exactly what the task entails and if that is something you would like to do. As many Roamlers point out, the better you understand the task, the fewer issues you will have.
When you have accepted the task, take your time reading every question carefully. Some Roamlers even read every question twice. Some questions may be similar but are asking for specific details. By ensuring you know exactly what is expected, there is a better chance that the task will be completed correctly and your efforts will be rewarded.
It often pays off to go back through the task once you’ve reached the end, and read all the questions and your answers again, to ensure you didn’t miss anything and to correct mistakes.

Reading carefully may take some extra time, but if you don’t, you will miss the little details and ultimately it saves you time if your submission does not get rejected!

Other

Before you set off for a location you do not visit regularly, always check the opening times to ensure you visit it during the opening hours. Also check if the location is still open, and not permanently closed. If you visit a location outside of the opening times, Roamler will not be able to reward you. You will have to come back during the opening times to perform the task.

If a location is permanently closed, you can send the team a message in the app and we will ensure the location does not show up again. You can also choose to accept the task and visit the location. In that case you will need to enter ‘fake’ answers in the task and take a photos of the location, proving it is permanently closed. Your task will be accepted, and you will be rewarded £2 for your efforts (unless stated otherwise in the task).

If you have any doubts about your submission or if there was a notable situation when you performed the task, always leave a comment in the last question of the task explaining your concerns or the situation. The reviewer will read this and will then better understand the situation.

Submitted your task but forgot to add an important comment? Quickly send us a message in the app with your comment, and mention the task and the address.

Are you experiencing issues with the app? Most of these issues can be solved by closing the app and opening it again. Logging out and in again may also fix the problems. If that does not help, deleting the app and downloading it again will usually do the trick.
If even that does not work, message the team via the app (or, if that is no longer accessible, via Facebook or UKsupport@roamler.com) and we will find the solution!

Tips from Top Roamlers #1

A while ago we asked the more experienced Roamlers for their best Roamler tips. In this blog we have collected the best tips in the categories App and Photos.
Take advice from the experts to ensure your next submissions will go as smoothly as theirs!

App

The search range determines the area in which you see tasks. The smaller your search range, the less tasks you will see. Widen your search area to check for available tasks on your route. You can widen your search range in Settings in the app.

Pay attention to the timer! Once you have accepted a task, you usually have two hours to submit it. A timer counting down the time you have got left shows up in the top right corner in the task. Pay attention to it, to make sure you have enough time left to complete the task. Allow a few minutes for the task to submit, especially if it is a long one. Don’t wait to the last minute to submit!

Go through the task before attempting it, this way you will feel more confident and look more confident. You can go through it by giving ‘fake’ answers and taking photos of the ground. This way you can go through the entire task and you will know exactly what information is needed, and when. But be careful not to submit it with any fake answers or photos left!

Bonus tips:

    • Check the available tasks regularly, tasks go live at different times of the day. Checking the app regularly throughout the day will prevent you from missing any.
    • Bookmark the tasks that you want to do but can’t accept yet. This makes it easier to plan your journey and to find back the task once you are able to accept it.
    • Always double check the location for a task. The pin in the app might not be completely accurate. You always follow the address if the address and pin do not match.
    • Use the map to understand where stores are and to plan a route. You can also use the map to view tasks in locations outside of your current area.

 

Photos

A few basic tips to make the perfect Roamler photos:
Make sure all photos are clear and sharp, and well lit. Be careful with photographing objects near windows, the backlight often causes the photo to be very dark and the products may not be clearly visible. To prevent this, when taking the photo, click on the screen on the object you want to focus on. This should change the settings of the camera to ensure the best possible lighting.

Always ensure you capture the full bay, including the top and bottom shelves, and make sure the product’s name and price tag are legible. If the product you are looking for is not available in the store, capture an overview image of where you would expect the product to be located.

Once you’ve captured a good photo, click on it and zoom in to check if it is as clear as you want it to be, and to check if all required products are included. If the photo is not as you would like it to be or if you have doubts about the quality, go back in the task and retake the photo. It may take a few seconds more, but it’s worth it to prevent your task from being rejected.

One last tip to remain undercover: make sure your flash is off and your phone is on silent, so you don’t bring any unnecessary attention to yourself.

Our top 10 Roamler memes!

We recently had a task where we asked Roamlers to create their own memes based on their experiences with Roamler. For those who are not familiar with the term, a meme is generally a captioned image which is created to express a typical feeling, situation, or person. A popular example is ‘LOLcats’ or ‘The Success Kid’ (which many of you used here!). We got a lot of funny and creative submissions which we want to share. So without further ado, here are our top 10 Roamler memes! 

 

Roamler A. Lindsay with a hilarious and relatable feeling from the grocery store.

That feeling when you get your hands on some Roamler access codes! By M. Parry.

When luck really isn’t on your side… By roamler M. Newton

Hurry hurry hurry! By roamler A. Manda

“I find on some of the roamler tasks you feel like you’re going on an adventure”, roamler N. Bhatt writes about her meme.

Yesss! We love those perfect shelf metre photos! By Roamler K. Adlington

Roamler S. Mchaffie on that wonderful feeling when there’s lots of live tasks nearby.

And roamler C. Joyce captures what to do next!

Gotta love the good guy invites! By K. Maguire

Last but not least: that confident stride when you walk out of a store after a successfully performed task! By L. Crawford.

Thank you all who made and submitted memes for this task! Your creativity really impressed us on this one. We hope you had fun – we really had a blast reviewing them! Happy Roamlering!