Fifty's Simon Shaw on Digital Retail, the UK's Data Reform Bill, and Neeva's European Expansion

On this week's episode of The MadTech Podcast, Fifty CEO Simon Shaw joins Ciaran O'Kane and Rachel Smith to discuss research suggesting retailers feel unprepared for the challenges of digital retail over the next 12 months, the UK government's decision to "rethink" its proposed GDPR replacement, Neeva's expansion into Europe, and more. 


Fewer than half of retailers believe they can manage digital operations over the next 12 months

What does this research suggest about retailers’ move towards digital in recent years? How can retailers increase their preparedness for the next 12 months?

New research from insights firm Incisiv has found that retailers and brands feel unprepared for the potential challenges of digital retail over the next 12 months. 

The research found that fewer than half of retailers believe they can manage all elements of their digital operations effectively into 2023. Thirty-nine percent of retailers surveyed are concerned that their current store fulfilment platform is insufficient for their anticipated growth, while 40% lack confidence in their personalisation platform. Additionally, 42% are concerned about their product catalogue and 43% about their content management systems.

These concerns follow serious investments many retailers made into commerce and fulfilment capabilities as a result of the pandemic, during which time many content and campaign management were under-prioritised.  


UK pauses data reform bill to reassess GDPR replacement

What does this suspension suggest for the future of the UK’s data regulation? How do you anticipate the government will distinguish this legislation from GDPR?

The UK government has paused the progress of a bill drafted earlier this year to replace legislation implemented by the EU. The Data Reform Bill, which included numerous amendments to rules around gaining consent for online tracking, collecting data for scientific research, the use of public sector data, and more, was projected by the government to save businesses more than £1bn over ten years.

The Bill is now on hold while the cabinet, reshuffled by prime minister Liz Truss, reassesses. Michelle Donelan, newly appointed secretary of state for digital, claimed that the finalised legislation will be “replacing” GDPR, a law Donelan described the UK as having “inherited” from the EU. Donelan also suggested that a “simplification” of the UK’s data protection legislation would spur economic growth by enhancing businesses’ profits.


Neeva launches in Europe with tracking free, ad free search

How effectively will Neeva rival Google in Europe? Do you think that Neeva’s growth in the US will be replicated in the European market?

Search engine Neeva has rolled out operations in Europe, offering an ad-free and tracking-free alternative to Google. The company began operating in the US in 2021, amassing over 600,000 monthly users in the region and successfully raised USD$40m (~£36m) in Series B funding round the same year.

Commenting on its move into Europe, Neeva CEO Sridhar Ramaswamy said, “The internet should be your private corner of the web instead of a barrage of ads, SEO spam and irrelevant information,” adding that the company is “reinventing search by giving users control over sources; providing accurate and transparent results as well as private and customised experiences without the influence of corporate bias, tracked around the web.”