Ralph Jacobson

Global Retail & CPG Sales Strategist, IBM

Ralph Jacobson is the Global Consumer Products Industry Marketing Executive for IBM. He is responsible for marketing IBM Consumer Products Industry Solutions to clients in areas including business strategy, operations and the consumer experience.

Ralph has worked in the CP and retail industries for more than thirty years. For more than a decade, Ralph has consulted to more than one-hundred clients around the globe, from Shanghai to Saudi Arabia.

Originally Ralph began his professional career at the largest supermarket company in Chicago, where he worked in store operations and marketing for seventeen years. He is married with two sons and resides north of Los Angeles, California.

Other Links from Ralph Jacobson

Building a Smarter Planet Blog

Only 40+ years in the Retail & CPG Industries. Let's talk about your business challenges sometime soon! Maybe I've seen them before somewhere in the world, like Shanghai, Saudi Arabia or Bangalore!
  • Posted on: 10/22/2019

    Seven things store managers should do now to be ready for Christmas

    Great points in the article. I still believe point #2 "Walk the store..." is the most critical. Stay on the floor the majority of the time. Go into the backroom only as truly needed. Be on the floor to see needs as they arise.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2019

    What should retailers do when brands post fake reviews?

    I agree with Paula Rosenblum that shoppers are wary of review trustworthiness, especially if the quantity of reviews is low. Too many ulterior motives exist for literally anyone to write reviews today. I do see the opportunity for a revised metric or evolved review format on the horizon. We'll see how long shoppers put up with the uncertainty. For now, retailers must add in their own commentary, for shoppers to see, which addresses review data stewardship.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2019

    Nearly half of online fashion shoppers say social media inspired their last purchase

    Fashion is, of course, VERY subjective. So, why wouldn't other people's opinions drive a huge percentage of purchases, right? Like some innovative retailers are doing right now, I would leverage some real social influencers to drive your brand, right now!
  • Posted on: 10/18/2019

    Have Giant Food and Stop & Shop nailed ‘frictionless’ checkouts?

    After many fits and starts over more than a decade with different pilot programs, I do like the "bones" of this one a lot. In fact, I look forward to seeing my local store offer it as it does seem effective for shoppers.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2019

    Is e-grocery less convenient than shopping in stores?

    Grocery shopping is the last major category to really take hold online. Online grocery shopping has been in place since somewhere around 1989 with Peapod. We are a stubborn animal and old habits are hard to break. Although redemption has been historically low, can you believe how many of us still clip paper coupons? This will simply take more time. Overcoming some of the obstacles mentioned in the study will help, however I believe this is more of a behavioral challenge than a retailer service delivery challenge.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2019

    Will shoe swapping be the new shoe shopping?

    I think there's a measurable, not huge, but potential market for shoppers willing to give up their shoes, clothes, or whatever they don't want any longer for something new (new to them, anyway), regardless of the loss of the original investment. Good luck to this company.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Why are grocers still missing the mark with small food brands?

    Ugh. As someone who started in the grocery biz in 1976 (at the age of 1), I cannot believe how little this business has evolved. Seriously. Can you imagine a small laundry detergent brand trying to break into that aisle? LOL. Give it up!
  • Posted on: 10/10/2019

    Personalized promos add up to a ‘win-win’ for retailers and consumers

    Personalized pricing has been around for a long time, in the form of mass customization. In many cases, rewarding loyal customers with specific promotions. Now technologies exist to target individuals, both existing and new customers, to build a "persona" of that consumer and address that persona with specific promos that are hopefully relevant to the persona. I have seen this work, and it can be a compelling reason for the persona to shop your store.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2019

    Are legacy CPG brands just naturally digitally-challenged?

    The challenge is company culture. I work for a 100-year-old company that's leading the world in AI, Quantum and other innovations. We ain't perfect, however, I do think there are some GREAT [old] CPG companies that haven't let their legacies stop them from innovating. It's all about leadership.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    What if stores innovated like restaurants?

    This discussion leads me to suggest what I've been saying for literally decades: Don't be too proud to look outside your industry for best practices and innovation. Retailers should leverage some things that restaurants are doing, HOWEVER, restaurants could definitely learn a thing or two from high-volume retailers about swift checkout/payment processes. Some already are, in airports, for instance, where you can pay at your table via table-mounted screens, QR codes, etc. Also retailer could learn a bunch from the hospitality and airline industries about loyalty, right? Consumers stay with single air and hotel brands whenever possible, yet there is very little loyalty among retail brands.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2019

    Should companies have to pay you to use your personal data?

    I am all for more consumer choice and control of the shopping experience, including from a data privacy perspective. Sure companies are getting value from this data, so consumers being paid for that value is not by any means the craziest idea I've heard in this election cycle to date. On the other hand, I think consumers have always been willing to accept no compensation from brands, or far more commonplace, to pay to advertise brands. Who reading this article does NOT own an apparel product that has a brand logo plastered for all to see on it? Hmmm ...
  • Posted on: 10/01/2019

    Will new ‘stores of the future’ produce results for retailers in the here and now?

    Experimentation leads to innovation. Europe and Asia have been proving that for literally decades with stores of the future pilots. This is all good.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2019

    Do retail metrics need to be reinvented?

    Don't throw the baby out with the bath water! There are some great, useful metrics of the past that are still very relevant today. Adding the dimensions of newer statistics only increases the accuracy of the viewpoint.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2019

    How can retailers scare up more Halloween sales using social media?

    Let's get far more varieties of healthier treats for kids to satisfy parents, but keep them fun and tasty for kids.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2019

    Why do IT service outages keep happening at retail?

    I remember POS systems going down in the '80s. Of course this is nothing new. With today's increased quantity of systems in stores, as well as increased workloads for those systems, I'm not surprised the challenges continue. Bottom line, devise "mini-disaster" plans for contingent operations continuity in case of outages. There are guides online you can find with a simple search.

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