Invent Life app offers free delivery, same-day shopping

A user browses the Invent Life app while sitting in her vehicle -
A user browses the Invent Life app while sitting in her vehicle -

The founders of digital marketplace platform Invent Life, Shubh Singh and Camille Chee-Awai, are focused on selling thousands of products to consumers at unbeatable prices with free delivery service.

The app was launched during Carnival and was built especially for TT, with priority on local products.

The parent company is Newfields Technologies, which Singh established in Maryland, US. as a healthcare, health insurance and health & human services platform provider. The company fully digitised all the record-keeping and pharmaceutical purchasing at the North West Regional Health Authority.

Invent Life co-founder Shubh Singh -

Singh said after working in Trinidad for several years, the duo fell in love with the country and wanted to provide something for the TT consumer.

“Invent Life is our first direct-to-consumer product. Normally we do enterprise platforms, and we did the TSTT bmobile Go app as well. In Jamaica we worked with one of the biggest investment banks. We help other institutions do their platforms, but Invent Life is our own platform.

“After working five years here, we started to feel very much at home. We fell in love with Trinidad, so we said we’d do something for the TT public, and Invent Life is that attempt.

"We call it Invent Life because it provides some of the best rates. We have thousands of products on the app and we’re adding more every week.

"These are some of the best rates which people can get in the market, and we give free same-day delivery in and around Port of Spain, and next day anywhere in the country. We’ve had orders from Mayaro, San Fernando, Biche...We deliver next morning – worst case. San Fernando is same day, Mayaro is next day.”

Chee-Awai said the goal was to get their customers their products in three hours where possible. She said an order for honey was made at 7.02 pm and delivered around 7.30, less than 30 minutes later. She said based on feedback, they would be open for longer hours to service the community.

“In Biche, there was a mother who needed to have products for her baby and ordered early in the morning, and when our driver reached there, she was totally amazed. She said, ‘I can’t believe you all came,’ because she put in an order with these goods with another entity, she has been waiting for two weeks, she had heard nothing from them – and we showed up same day with all the products.

"It is important to make the purchase process, the complete fulfilment, and the delivery process, end-to-end, seamless and easy for savings, because we want the customers to be happy and continue to work with us.”

She said Invent Life sources products from established local distributors and local manufacturers, and plans to import specialised products from overseas in the future.

“We purchase thousands of items to distribute through our digital marketplace. Purchases are made in such quantities to ensure stock is available to meet our customers’ purchase requirements. Stock levels are digitally tracked real-time.

Chee-Awai said the company prioritised Made in TT, as such purchases supported local manufacturing, employment and therefore the economic development of TT.

The Invent Life app offers same/next day delivery anywhere in TT -

"Invent Life provides a unique service, in which we provide digital distribution, payment processing, quick delivery, and marketing for local manufacturers. Invent Life is seeking to positively impact TT by providing these services at no charge to local manufacturers.”

She said the company has a physical location at 38 Carlos Street in Woodbrook, but its focus is on being a cloud superstore.

“Our cloud superstore offers our customers many shopping options. For example, TT diaspora, although living abroad in the US, UK, Canada, can now purchase items sold on Invent Life’s digital marketplace, which are then either picked up at the physical location or delivered for free to family members, friends, among others, living in TT.”

Singh said the minimum order size for delivery is $50, and there is no minimum order for pickup at the Woodbrook store.

“Customers can order on the app to pick up from the store and the order is ready by the time they arrive.

Invent Life co-founder Camille Chee-Awai -

"Pickup at a convenient location is considered a delivery. They can give the convenient location as the delivery address and our vehicle will drop it there.”

Singh said there is no sign-on cost associated with the app, and customers able to pay with credit cards, local bank cards and cash on delivery. He said 3,000 people had signed up so far, and the plans were to keep expanding.

“We are going to do community events, social media marketing and radio marketing.”

He said one of the main advantages compared to brick and mortar stores was convenience.

“People can just search items on our app and order them, we deliver for free. It’s modern technology specially built for TT.

"We’re bringing the type of facilities that have so far only been available in the advanced countries and bigger markets.”

He said the chances of crime affecting the cloud superstore with delivery model are less than traditional retail.

“Customers are also a lot safer. They can just order products and we deliver to them in a branded vehicle. In traditional retail customers need to step out, exposing themselves to potential crime, and also the store itself is more open to theft.

One of the branded vehicles used in Invent Life deliveries -

"Yes, there is some chance of crime for the delivery vehicle, but it’s a lot less than for a store with a lot of cash and a large inventory.”

Singh said the initiative had placed great emphasis on marketing and hiring local people to staff their various teams.

“We have an in-house marketing team, a videography team, a photography team and they will produce content for them and market our producers on social media but also radio, TV and other platforms.”

Singh said Newfields Technologies and Invent Life was invested in community service, both through its healthcare provision and through its hiring practices.

“We’ve hired 20 local people at least to work on our various teams, and for our launch during Carnival we hired well over 50 people.

A branded Invent Life music truck takes to the road as part of the app's launch duing Carnival - Kewan Thomas

“We invest in young people: it really helps them learn. We have two young ladies that are professional models, but we interviewed them and they had a zeal for doing more so they wanted to do marketing, content creation, strategy and products. I say young people have a kind of charisma around them, we all like following them, so I said they could be brand ambassadors for us.”

The products are being procured from local suppliers, with an emphasis on pantry and household supplies currently.

“We are not offering meats, dairy products and fresh produce at this point in time. We have a wide range of products – basically everything you get in a supermarket besides meats and fresh produce. We will be adding dairy packages very soon.

“We don’t want to disrupt the local ecosystem. We’re also starting to work with small businesses. We worked recently with a local bakery that specialises in brownies and we made a big order from her which she delivered. So if it works out well, this would be an opportunity for her to get national distribution on our app.”

When Newsday spoke to Singh and Chee-Awai at the NWRHA’s Empower Her Women’s Holistic Wellness Festival at the Queen’s Park Savannah on March 10, members of the public were being given the opportunity to win coupons for the app via a spinning wheel.

Chee-Awai said this could be applied to future purchases.

“If you get a $500 coupon, that’s spread across $5,000 worth of purchases, so it’s a ten per cent discount applied to all of your purchases, because we are encouraging our customers to come back and enjoy the experience again and again.”


"Invent Life app offers free delivery, same-day shopping"

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