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HomeDigital IconsInterview with Yaron Shapira: CEO of 8Fig

Interview with Yaron Shapira: CEO of 8Fig

We recently interviewed Yaron Shapira, co-founder, and CEO of 8fig, who put together his thoughts on SMB e-commerce challenges, goals, etc

What are the biggest operational challenges e-commerce SMBs are facing?

Poor cash flow management has long been one of the top challenges for e-commerce SMBs, and remains one of the chief causes of business failure. Due to the small size of many e-commerce businesses, they often lack the financial expertise to make profitable decisions. Cash flow management issues lead to situations in which business owners don’t have the cash on hand to purchase inventory, overcome unforeseen challenges, or plan for the future.

What’s more, due to ongoing supply chain instability and frequent disruptions and shortages, ecommerce sellers frequently find themselves in a cash flow crunch. Lack of working capital combined with poor foresight and forward planning lead to inadequate inventory management. Stockouts are all too common, and can decisively damage even the most successful of ecommerce SMBs. Ordering excessive inventory, on the other hand, can tie up valuable working capital, leading to cash flow constraints. Striking a balance is essential, but many eCommerce entrepreneurs don’t have the resources or know-how to accomplish this.

Finally, in the face of current global macroeconomic challenges, accessing resources for ecommerce business owners has also become increasingly difficult. Despite the fact that the ecommerce market continues to expand, many ecommerce SMBs are struggling to acquire the funds they require for growth.

“Recession” has been in the headlines for quite some time now. What advice can you give to smaller online sellers as far as managing their cash flow?

During a recession, it’s vital that small online sellers take that extra step to plan ahead and ensure that they maintain cash on hand to prepare for dips in sales and other financial challenges. They can do this by cutting back on excess spending, focusing on their best-selling product, and, if relevant, securing external financing for that extra push.

In addition, while small ecommerce business owners may have a broad understanding of their supply chain operations, they often overlook the importance of creating a detailed long-term plan. This can derail a business, particularly when the global economy is struggling and consumer purchasing is down.

I advise sellers to map out the supply chain for each individual product over an extended period of time. This gives sellers a visual representation of the movement of both goods and capital. Allowing for slower sales during a recession, this understanding can go so far as to save a business. It enables the identification of potential vulnerabilities or bottlenecks within the supply chain, empowering sellers to devise effective solutions and strategies to address them.

AI has been dominating the news, and our lives, with the advent of ChatGPT. How can AI benefit the ecommerce world, for both consumers and sellers?

AI indeed has an immense number of benefits for both consumers and sellers. The obvious AI use cases for consumers include improved personalization, tailored product recommendations, and an enhanced shopping experience. For online sellers, AI can optimize inventory management, solve customer service issues, act as a virtual assistant or chatbot, detect fraud, predict sales trends, and more.

While these are all worthy applications of this technology, I’m more interested in the benefits of AI as it collects and analyzes vast amounts of data to offer online sellers solutions to many of their managerial-level issues. This is exactly what 8fig is doing. We are leveraging AI technology to develop an AI CFO as well as a virtual C-suite platform, consisting of a COO and AI CMO. These advanced tools will give eCommerce SMBs the benefits of financial management, operations assistance, and marketing tools and guidance that will benefit ecommerce SMBs on a deeper level. For example, we see the potential of AI to assist ecommerce business owners with even the most complex cash flow management and optimization. This is revolutionary for entrepreneurs who don’t have an executive team to ensure good decision making.

Tell me about 8fig – what value is 8fig delivering/what problems is it solving?

At 8fig, we strive to provide small to medium sized eCommerce businesses with unparalleled value on a single platform through our revolutionary AI CFO technology. Our objective is to equip these online sellers with the wide variety of financial tools and resources they need to not only thrive, but to grow to their full potential.

Unlike larger enterprises, most small eCommerce businesses are run by solo-entrepreneurs or small teams, so they lack the expertise of an executive team. They therefore face challenges in making informed decisions regarding cash flow, while also struggling with limited working capital. To address these pain points, we have developed a comprehensive platform that serves as an AI CFO. Our data-driven technology empowers small sellers to make better business decisions and plan for long-term success, while also providing them with the funding they need to optimize their cash flow.

We have at our disposal an extensive amount of data, surpassing even the big players in our industry. Utilizing this data allows us to drive value in novel ways, offering unique, specialized tools and resources to eCommerce sellers. Our expertise in the various areas of ecommerce, including supply chain management, engineering, content creation, and payments, further enhances the value we bring to our platform. It is this added value that attracts clients to our services.

What are 8fig’s future goals, both short term and long term?

At 8fig, our primary focus for both the short and the long term is on maximizing the value we deliver to our clients. Our existing and prospective tools, including an AI CFO, sales analytics, payment processing, and more, represent only a fraction of what we have in store for our clients. We are continuously expanding our range of offerings to provide even greater value.

We will first concentrate on developing additional financial management tools that will immediately benefit eCommerce sellers, expanding the ways in which we assist our clients. In the longer term, we plan to advance our AI CFO technology to the point at which it provides online sellers with an all-in-one solution for all of their financial needs. This includes funding of course, but also higher level financial management and planning. Eventually, we plan to introduce an entire virtual C-suite complete with an AI COO and CMO, equipping small eCommerce businesses with the tools and resources necessary for real, sustainable growth and success.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Many years ago, big business began to dominate brick and mortar commerce. These mega brands pushed smaller stores and mom-and-pop shops out of the best locations, taking over malls and main streets. Small in-person retail businesses are now few and far between, most having been killed off by those big brands.

More recently, however, the ecommerce revolution (yes, I call it a revolution) began, enabling small solo-entrepreneurs to build their businesses and thrive. My partners and I, wary of the challenges SMBs faced and ultimately succumbed to in the past, decided to do our part to democratize ecommerce. We aim to give the small entrepreneurs the opportunity to compete in fair terms with the big brands.

Fortunately for small online businesses, there is no expensive rent online and no prime location to compete for. If you have the motivation and the right product, you can succeed. Therefore, we decided to help the small merchants where they were struggling most: cash flow management and financing. We developed our AI CFO technology and a specialized funding method tailored to each seller’s needs in order to close the knowledge and financing gaps, giving small eCommerce businesses the ability to compete with the giants.

We are very proud of this mission and will continue working toward our goal of creating a more promising future for small business owners and consumers.

Alf Alferez
Alf Alferez
Dedicated writer with a strong track record of developing customer loyalty and managing general office operations. Enjoy being a part of a company where my skills and creative ideas will benefit the overall productivity of the organization. I have a strong desire to work in helping make the world a better place. Please reach out to me on alf@ecommercenext.org
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