With the quest to solving the problems faced with traditional E-commerce in Africa, my team and I decided to develop a safer and faster E-commerce system that is blockchain enabled. Running an E-commerce company was already a challenge in pre-pandemic times, and the coronavirus crisis has added fuel to the fire. Along with providing quality products, minimizing delivery time, keeping customers happy and employees safe – it’s also necessary to offer secure payment methods, manage inventory and keep costs down. When competition is high, it’s important to utilize the latest technologies. And using blockchain is the next step to gaining a competitive advantage. Hence, VUJAM Blockchain E-commerce; a blockchain enabled E-commerce which is the need of the hour to encourage enhanced and reliable online shopping.

What it does

The features that Vujam Blockchain E=commerce offer:  Inventory Control: Retailers can decrease items from inventory as with some standard shopping carts, but can also order replacement stock when pre-defined thresholds are reached. With this, we can never run out of products, while at the same time ensuring that excess inventory is not accumulated.  Digital Ownership: With our Blockchain enabled E-commerce, sellers/vendors can have complete ownership of all digital assets including digital storefronts, product photos/videos, and reviews. This ownership will be recorded on the blockchain and will be fully transparent.

 Loyalty Reward Programs: We are offering personalized and loyalty reward programs to our customers. By securely capturing purchasing history and preferences on the blockchain, personalized offers and loyalty programs is completely automated within the blockchain. We will issue reward points to customers as they surpass certain spending limits.

 Identity Management: As more and more people are using our platform to conduct transactions, the digital footprints they leave behind are unimaginable. By protecting individual identities from theft and misuse, we are building strong authentications and encrypted digital identities for identity management.

 Supply chain tracking: Our system will ensure that vendors stick to criteria that have been agreed upon and do not substitute without notice – ensuring that transparency is maintained throughout the process.

 Warranty management: Very often, consumers experience the frustration pf having lost paper receipts and being unable to prove warranty coverage. With Vujam Blockchain E-commerce, consumers can easily and efficiently store warranty information; manufacturers, vendors and customers will be able to access and validate.

How we built it

First, we analyzed the different stages of development and what we require at every stage. Stages of the projects includes the following:  Project Ideation stage  Project proposal  Team development  Proto Development  Development We are currently at the Proto development stage We also identified the project used cases to include the following:  Cryptocurrency payments  Inventory management  Data privacy  Security and Provenance  Trust  Counterfeit and Fraud  Cross border payments

Challenges we ran into

We were faced with several challenges in the course of developing the project. Some of the challenges includes; • Integration concerns. Like what blockchain application to integrate and build on. • Control, security and privacy. These were the core solution we want to introduce in the African E-commerce and incorporating them in such a way that the platform will be devoid of security lapses posed some little bit challenges looking at the team available. • Uncertain regulatory status. We were somewhat concerned about regulations in the continent as some countries has placed restrictions on cryptocurrency transactions and other forms of regulations that may affect us. • Cultural adoption was also another challenge we faced due to Africa’s low level of acceptance of cryptocurrency and blockchain related matters.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

One great achievement we are proud of was to setup a great team and launching the first-phase of the project online. We understand the impact of great team in a project and we are so happy.

What we learned

We wanted to provide decentralization, immutability and transparency in the African E-commerce industry. In the course of our deliveries, we learned that a Blockchain E-commerce is possible in Africa and that the following solutions can be achieved in the African E-commerce industry.

  1. Reduced Cost Of Transactions: We are introducing a decentralized market place. Sellers can rely on Blockchain-led cryptocurrencies and Tokens such as Ton Crystal for cost effective digital payment solutions. By eliminating middlemen and intermediaries from the payment process, we are eliminating transaction and processing fees, allowing retailers to achieve cost-effectiveness.
  2. Dependable Data Security: VUJAM E-commerce, a blockchain enabled E-commerce assures security. A single data breach can cost an E-commerce retailer millions in revenues and a lot more in brand authority. VUJAM is built the distributed ledger technology (DLT) that offers the highest level of security for online data transactions. Data is secured in an encrypted format which is impossible for a human or software hacker to decrypt, decode and understand. Also, with the implementation of hashing algorithm, data can neither be erased nor modified.
  3. Reduced Complexities: By utilizing RFID and sensors, tasks like record-keeping and provenance tracking become much simpler. Blockchain allows supply chain managers to track the timeline of a product from its inception to its present position. This also makes it easier to detect irregularities before they cause a problem.
  4. Enhanced Operational Efficiency: Tracking any process is very easy as all event happening in the processes are recorded on the Blockchain network. Sellers, vendors can fetch the exact information on the go.
  5. Promotes Digital payments: We are offering an alternative payment methods like Cryptocurrencies for transactions, instead of relying on fiat and traditional currency payments.
  6. Trust and Transparency In Payments: We bring the high level of transparency which fosters trust. Every small entry from placing and order, to processing payments, to the delivery of an item can be lodged and preserved on the Blockchain network. This can help track the complete journey of an order, identify defects/gaps in the process etc.

What's next for Vujam

Finish up development and create sales funnel to onboard merchants. Establish strategic partnership with manufacturing companies to make sure products are original.

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