PROFILE

Jennifer Bartashus

Senior Analyst, Bloomberg Intelligence

Jennifer Bartashus is a Senior Analyst specializing in food retail, mass merchants and packaged food companies for Bloomberg Intelligence. She has 25 years of financial markets experience with prior roles in global strategic operations.

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  • Posted on: 01/24/2022

    Why is user generated content missing from physical retail?

    As stores become more experiential, a greater integration of user generated content is inevitable. When shoppers are in discovery mode, things like reviews, styling tips, etc. can play a bigger role, and are likely where the growth in bridging the gap between in-store and online will happen, at least initially. If you're talking about a more transactional type of trip where you want to get in and out -- say a grocery store -- UGC may still be further away.
  • Posted on: 01/21/2022

    Will airbags calm fears about driverless vehicles?

    At the end of the day, home delivery is about convenience, and autonomous vehicles may not yet meet that bar. Right now, delivery brings your items to your doorstep (and for some retailers right into your home or garage). Autonomous vehicle delivery helps solve driver shortages but, for consumers, it translates into having to be available at a very specific time to go outside, use your phone or a code to open up the vehicle, and retrieve your items - at least for now. That's not necessarily aligned with how some consumers define convenience. As the "cool factor" of having an automated vehicle bring your delivery fades and usage becomes more commonplace, we will have to see if consumers continue to embrace it or demand other options.
  • Posted on: 01/19/2022

    Will Microsoft’s Activision deal open the metaverse up to enterprise tech?

    As more people explore metaverse platforms, an entire spectrum of new opportunities is emerging, all of which will be reliant on rapidly evolving technology. The metaverse - which could be argued will be the next generation of gaming - may be powered by the cloud. The deal to acquire Activision Blizzard seems to fit well into Microsoft's growth prospects, including enterprise technology.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2022

    Are retailers getting closer to nailing last-mile delivery?

    Customers don't know how hard it is to create a seamless delivery experience. Expectations are high, which makes any deviation from those expectations harder to manage for retailers. Blending disparate data sets to offer end-to-end transparency from order to delivery is one of the biggest challenges retailers face. Optimizing the last-mile is really only feasible if the ordering and fulfillment process is streamlined. Technology can help find the cheapest cost-to-deliver for retailers but having that order ready and waiting is crucial for a seamless handoff.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2022

    Can the metaverse solve retail’s returns challenges?

    In a virtual world it is hard to envision people using accurate avatars of themselves rather than a version of what they wish they were. Retail stores in metaverse landscapes like The Sandbox, Somnium Space or Nifty Island are still nascent. As for using 3D-rendering technology via phones and apps, there are use cases but the challenge is to make it simple and compelling for consumers. Will some customers see the benefit of doing an accurate body scan to virtually try on clothes? Sure. But until there is a real incentive for the consumer to use it, it is difficult to see the returns landscape changing. Right now the returns issue is more of a retailer problem than a consumer problem. Retailers have focused on making returns easier - which is now a headwind to changing shopping behavior to reduce that burden. To force a change in behavior, retailers may have to do new things - like offer free returns only on items tried on virtually, or extra discounts for using the technology.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2022

    What tech must restaurants put on their menu of services?

    Technology should be a supporting role of a meal, not the main focus. Technology that eases friction and makes the overall dining experience more enjoyable is key. Leave it to the customer to decide where they want to use technology to enhance their experience. It also depends on what type of restaurant it is - technology may be critical at casual dining chains but have little place at fine dining establishments. Digital menus, ordering or payment may appeal to some, but not all, so restaurants need to be able to serve tech-minded individuals as well as those who aren't. After all, it is a service industry. Nothing is more frustrating than needing something (a refill, napkins, the check) and not being able to find your server. Tech can help with that. Put some of that power to control the experience in the hands of customers and everyone benefits.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2022

    What is America eating in 2022?

    Personalized nutrition is an area that could accelerate in 2022 and beyond. Growth in self-administered testing services (genetic, disease risk, sensitivities, etc) lays the groundwork. More people are looking for customized nutrition solutions to optimize their health. Initially products may be in the form of shakes and bars but could branch into more mainstream food products. Plant-based foods is still an area of growth. Though sales softened a bit in late 2021, interest and demand are likely to uptick again as restaurants begin expanding menus and limited time offers again. Beyond Meat nuggets at KFC is one example.
  • Posted on: 01/10/2022

    Has BOPIS lost its pandemic boost?

    Demand for BOPIS is like a pendulum - it has swung back to in-store shopping as there was a lot of pent-up demand to browse in person. Lots of things can swing the pendulum back - COVID-19 variants, weather events, consumer demand, etc. - but overall the use level will remain higher than historic levels. Improving the pickup experience - either by reducing wait time and narrowing or eliminating pickup time slots is important. Retailers need an infrastructure that can flex in response to demand. BOPIS is still more profitable than delivery for most retailers, so it may be worth keeping a steady stream of incentives or advertising to guide customers who don't want to go into a store to the more profitable alternative.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2022

    Will 2022 be the year of text-to-shop?

    Text-to-shop faces similar limitations as voice-driven commerce. It works for some uses, like reordering high-frequency items, but is less useful for discovery or bigger orders. Consumers still like to see images of what they are buying, which could hold back broad adoption. The first experience a shopper has with text-based commerce has to be really good - otherwise people will quickly lose patience. Nobody wants to go back and forth for too long via text to place an order.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2022

    Will Alexa get customers cooking with Blue Apron?

    It is unclear whether Alexa integration will generate incremental customers for Blue Apron. The cost of customer acquisition for meal kit services is generally high, and an Alexa user base may seem tempting, but the use-case scenario seems limited. Consumers have other resources they use more habitually to answer the "what's for dinner tonight" question. And as for cooking support, as others point out - existing recipe cards are pretty straightforward which probably limits the need for verbal step-by-step instructions.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2022

    Are Albertsons and Tesco too late for the retail media party?

    Loyal customer households drive insights, so Albertsons and Tesco, both of which have good loyalty programs, should be able to generate some higher-margin revenue with the service. There is a danger that retail media is becoming a more commoditized service as more retailers jump in. To be successful, some differentiation will be necessary - either in terms of customer base, aggregated data or history to drive use and revenue.
  • Posted on: 12/08/2021

    Will DoorDash win the ultra-fast delivery race?

    DashMart has a potential competitive advantage over the existing niche players if it can attract shoppers from an existing pool of DoorDash users, which could make customer acquisition costs lower. And DoorDash's core business helps provide financial stability to offset costs associated with rapid delivery. To win in rapid delivery, it will ultimately come down to having the right assortment of products, fees and ability to meet delivery windows consistently.
  • Posted on: 12/08/2021

    Will five banners work better than one for Wayfair as it begins to open stores?

    Individual banners can build local appeal, but you diminish the ability to leverage the strength of the parent brand. To succeed, each will need to carve out a unique niche with a strong brand identity and build customer loyalty. There can be strategic benefits to having one unified brand across digital and brick-and-mortar platforms, with advertising, the creation of private-label product lines (if desired), etc. Even with a single brand, there is still the ability to tailor assortment to local neighborhoods to drive appeal.
  • Posted on: 12/01/2021

    Did Cyber Monday hit its peak in 2020?

    The new reality is one of blended spending, which will play out across the entire holiday season. Spending is increasingly being spread out, with retailers offering compelling deals early in the season and continuing straight through to the holidays, which will support total retail performance this year. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great benchmarks, but are not the make-or-break of the season as they may have once been. With concerns about shipping timeframes this year, December could see more people headed to stores or using curbside or in-store pickup options.
  • Posted on: 12/01/2021

    Meijer offers teachers supply discounts beyond back-to-school

    Teacher discounts are a necessity that more retailers should embrace. Too many of our educators are supplying classrooms out of their own pocket. Offering a discount that is available whenever needed would help. As for the retailers, this really just builds goodwill and can help create loyalty.

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