PROFILE

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.

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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!
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  • Posted on: 10/18/2018

    Will rising costs throw a wrench in e-commerce operations?

    I actually believe the current level of value offered to shoppers, in general, is unsustainable. Virtually all SG&A costs are rising, including labor, so retailers will either have to build these COGS into their selling prices and/or they will have to once again break out items for surcharging, such as shipping.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2018

    Should ‘best by’ dates expire?

    We have got to ensure food safety as food-borne illness is on the rise. Poor product rotation is still an issue in both food stores as well as restaurants. So I'm not certain there is a quick fix to the current challenges of sell-by dates without impacting food safety. I say store-level and restaurant kitchen product rotation training and execution is key for now.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2018

    New c-store concept is high-tech inside and out

    I think any new store concept that pushes beyond the age-old traditional store format, regardless of product category, is a GREAT thing. Department stores, supermarkets, etc. really still look the same way they did 100 years ago. And that's no exaggeration. Just look at old movies and photos. We still have cans of beans and racks of apparel lines up and down aisles. I love when an operator challenges the status quo.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2018

    ‘Frictionless’ is the annoying word of the year

    "Frictionless," "seamless," whatever. Bottom line, if you're a retailer, make the shopping journey PAINLESS for the shopper. Do a gut check every week by shopping for something on your own website and see how ugly the experience is.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2018

    Does anyone pay the full retail price anymore?

    Guess what? You discount your goods and shoppers will expect you to do so going forward. Is this a surprise? Today, our culture has only grown toward the need for getting a great price on everything. Kudos to those brands that have refrained from this practice to retain full margin sales.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2018

    Cannabis-infused drink and food makers are high on grocery opportunities

    Regardless of which side of this discussion you're on, consumer demand drives product availability. At this point, there is a tsunami of dispensaries popping up across the country, and as soon as local governments approve these new CPG products, they will flow into stores by the truckload.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2018

    Is disruption coming to the alcohol beverage business?

    Like so many topics in these RetailWire discussions, this is yet another example of evolution. I do believe that producers will continue to push the envelope and "beg for forgiveness" as they migrate to direct-to-consumer commerce off-premise.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2018

    Re:Store concept mixes co-work and co-retail

    I like this effort. It could be the next revolution in retailing. This is a fast, flexible and attainable model for those entities struggling to get on a level playing field.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2018

    Will foodie culture save the mall?

    Malls need all the help they can get. As everything in life is cyclical, food courts, while significantly updated for today's tastes, are again a driving force to keep malls thriving. This is a natural evolution.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2018

    There may be benefits to adding uncertainty to rewards programs

    People play the lottery for similar reasons. I think experimentation here is great.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2018

    Why do retailers practically ignore existing customers to go after new ones?

    Very basic measures, like average transaction size, transactions per month and year-to-year change in these and other measures can help build better pictures of shopper value to the business. I have said for years that taking care of the customers you have is easier that attracting new ones. Also, why do supermarkets focus on the small-order customers with express lanes, while full-size $150 orders wait forever to be checked out? Basic stuff. Plenty of room for growth here. Not rocket science.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2018

    Is traffic a flawed measure of engagement?

    Traffic as a pure measurement has its inherent value, however some of the additional measures mentioned in the article help create a more complete picture of the shopper journey. We need to take the multiple components of modern shopper experience analytics tools that show the quality aspects of the individual shopper and derive insights that lead to productive actions for the retailers to make.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2018

    What would the nation’s strictest plastic ban mean for New Jersey’s retailers?

    As an ecstatic resident of NV enjoying the unmitigated freedom of unrestricted consumer choices in every facet of life, and where recycling is like the Easter Bunny & Santa Claus ... it doesn't exist. I do feel that retailers have done well in polar opposite states, like CA, from which I successfully escaped recently, by offering reusable shopping bags, and other accommodations to satisfy these concerns.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2018

    Retailers hate rewards cards and the swipe fees that come with them

    Well, until a retailer comes up with their own card that rivals the marketplace penetration of the big cards, or acquires a big card, interchange fees will be a cost of doing business. Customers like the perks from the cards too much to stop.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2018

    Is BOPIS best when it’s done outside the store?

    This is all about logistics and managing expense. Of course, customers would rather just drive by a big box outside and have their stuff dumped in the trunk. However, long-term viability has to take into account the last mile handling tasks and their associated costs. The retailers that optimize those the best first, will win.

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