Liat Zakay

Director of Product, Shopify

Tell us about where you work and what you do there.

I recently joined Shopify, a leading commerce company that provides the best tools for anyone, anywhere, to start and grow a business. Prior to that, I founded Donde Search, and our team joined Shopify last year.

After seven years of changing the way people discover products online with award-winning AI, computer vision, and natural language processing technologies, my passion for empowering shoppers and merchants continues at Shopify.

Now, as part of Shopify, I’m focused on growing our product capabilities, including innovation and AI, in Israel and EMEA.

How would you describe yourself?

I live in Israel with my husband and two daughters. I love yoga, the sea and jazz.

All my life, I tried to do things a little bit different from others. As a child, when everyone went to school, I traveled with my parents for their business to exhibitions around the world, meeting customers and helping in everything “tech-related” like building the catalog. I wish Shopify existed back then!

In the IDF, serving in the Israeli intelligence, I was one out of two women in a unit of 100 women focused on cyber security. In university, while others were focused on their assignments, I established my first company, while convincing my professor to write code and join Donde – I’ve always been a self-starter and passionate entrepreneur.

What drew you to entrepreneurship?

My dad is a “forced entrepreneur.” He immigrated to Israel at the age of 13 with his parents who were Holocaust and World War II survivors. He needed to fight to build his own business to bring food to the table. Although his business is in “low tech” and very different from mine, we have a lot in common — his tenacity, devotion, determination, endless drive, and motivation to build, invent, and lead is an inspiration for me to take risks, work hard and never give up. It was clear to me that I want to follow his path and build my own business.

Leveraging the blockchain and NFT is the next big trend that brands will experiment with.

Liat Zakay

Director of Product, Shopify
Liat Zakay

What do you think has been your biggest professional success so far?

I enjoyed implementing Donde technology with the biggest retailers in the world, but I’m more excited about this opportunity with Shopify to fast-forward realizing Shopify’s mission to make commerce better for our millions of merchants.

What goals do you have for 2022?

  1. Aid in Shopify’s mission to make commerce better for everyone
  2. Continue to build a world-class team in personalization and AI
  3. Be there for other founders that need advice and guidance

What do you think is the next big trend in eCommerce?

I don’t think P13N is the next big trend since it’s already here. And due to the death of third-party cookies, it became even more critical. For the same reason, I won’t talk about supply chain disruptions. Covid-19 made it clear that manufacturing shortages and bottlenecks at shipping ports are a huge challenge. As a result, many brands are changing their shipping strategies to reduce the impact of global shipping delays and there’s a lot of room (and need) for innovation.

Leveraging the blockchain and NFT is another big trend, and brands will experiment with new ways to deepen their relationships with customers, as well as getting proof of authenticity or tracking the providence of physical products.

Name an eCommerce brand you admire and why.

I can easily state a couple of really famous brands but I think it’s a really cool opportunity to highlight Shopify merchants that started as a part-time gig selling T-shirts from their living room and growing into a full sized business. We have a saying at Shopify, “we help merchants scale from hello world to IPO.”

Two interesting examples would be 1) Allbirds, a New Zealand sustainable shoe and clothing company that started with a small dream and went IPO in 2021. 2) The story of scale of two of the fastest growing beauty brands in the history of the industry, ColourPop and Kylie Cosmetics, and yet both started as a small Shopify store and now rule the industry.

To keep it local, this is also happening in Israel. The most loved local brands and designers were rooted and still are on Shopify’s platform.