The Covid-19 period has seen the whole world go through a drastic standstill. Across sectors around the world businesses and sources of livelihood have been put on hold to ensure that citizens stay safe and the spread of the virus is controlled. It is not clear how and when the Covid-19 virus will be eradicated, however, it is almost certain that we will have a society that is more conscious about their health with respect to hygiene and communicable illnesses. Thus, businesses will seek better ways to serve customers and clients with limited dependency/relevance to physical presence.

Economies around the world have been affected and due to this impact, some countries are beginning to release their lock-down measures. This posses a serious concern as to how the spread of the virus will be controlled. Though there are regulations regarding the use of face masks and observation of social distancing in public places, the spread of the virus as well as other communicable diseases through surfaces is still a concern
for many. Supermarkets and stores are examples of public areas with various touch-points and a high risk of spread from person to person.

Therefore, many store owners have set up e-commerce websites to enable customers buy online without visiting the shops. Though plausible, this approach serves a certain demography in society as such websites have little flexibility with respect to customers’ choice of products and shopping experience. Therefore, large crowds still troop to supermarkets to buy their groceries and other supplies because the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods sector is yet to find a better and practical way to sell online. The big question however is, how can technology be effectively applied in the FMCG sector to reduce the spread of the virus without taking away the shopping experience which for many has become a ritual?

Navboy Technologies Limited, a tech startup based in Mauritius is answering that question in a unique and innovative way. Founded by Tabi Okorn-tabi, a technology expert and Sarah Pather, a professional in the Advertising and Public relations sector, Navboy Technologies Limited offers businesses an opportunity to sell to customers through mobile phones in a safer way and without depriving their customers the convenience of an in-store shopping experience. Equipped with image recognition and artificial intelligence technologies, the ‘ShopPaddi’ mobile application offers users the ability to walk into their supermarket of choice, scan products they was to buy (without touching) and these product are added to their virtual carts.
ShopBuddyThe ‘ShopPaddi’ mobile application is innovative and disruptive because it enables users to shop without touching the product or a shopping cart or even having to interact with the cashier. They just checkout and pay via their mobile phones and the products are sorted and delivered to their preferred addresses. Furthermore, with image recognition, busy individuals who cannot physically visit the supermarket can shop via the supermarket’s hard-copy catalogues and these products are delivered to their preferred location. Also, store owners can easily signup their businesses to the ShopPaddi platform, setup their inventory and start selling innovatively to their clients in a safer and health-conscious infrastructure. Thus, using ‘ShopPaddi’ makes these stores safe shops.

It is still unclear how long the world will live with the Covid-19 virus and for some individuals, this might mean living with fear of the unseen enemy. However, it is obvious that technology as a tool, has what it takes to reduce fear and uncertainty. We might not have our old ways of social freedom back in the nearest future, but we can have a safer and less threatening social experience. Humans are known to come out victorious through trying time and this time, technology is making all the difference.