PROFILE

Ron Margulis

Managing Director, RAM Communications
Ronald Margulis is Managing Director of RAM Communications, a public relations firm based in Cranford, NJ. RAM Communications provides media relations counseling, trade marketing and communications support to clients in the retail, transportation, manufacturing and technology industries. Among the services offered are media relations, information sourcing, speech writing, issue research and analysis, editorial and design analysis, newsletter publishing, presentation and video scripting, marketing brochure and training manual production, focus groups and meeting planning.

With more than 1,000 articles published, Margulis is also an accredited journalist. His writings on the food, retail, tobacco, information technology and transportation industries have appeared in Canadian Business, Chicago Tribune, Cigar Magazine, Computerworld, Convenience Store News, Distribution Channels, Executive Technology, FT.com, Food Arts, Forbes, ID, Sales & Marketing, Shipping Digest, Supermarket News, Washington Times and several other newspapers and magazines. As an editor and reporter, he has interviewed more than 50 CEOs of leading global companies and dozens of government officials including four US Cabinet Secretaries, the Governor of the Bank of England and the Treasurer of Australia.

Margulis has won numerous awards for his writing, has written more than one dozen industry reports/white papers and is contributing editor of three professional reference books. He has been quoted in several leading newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer and Smart Money, on topics ranging from technology to crisis communications, and has been featured on Bloomberg Radio, Talk Canada, Westwood One and National Public Radio. He has spoken at numerous business and academic conferences, and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Public Relations Society of America.

Margulis graduated with honors from George Washington University, earned an MBA in economics from New York University and studied journalism at University of London. The son and grandson of supermarket operators, he also completed a management training internship and meat cutter’s apprenticeship at Wakefern Food Corp. (Shop-Rite Supermarkets).

Margulis is married to Patricia Paul, an artist. They live in New Jersey with their daughter Elena. His recreational activities and hobbies include fencing (President, Westfield Fencing Club), hiking, skiing, reading, cooking and map collecting
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  • Posted on: 04/18/2018

    Honoring women

    It all starts with the acceptance that women and men are the same. The fact is that except for the Y chromosome men have, all humans are basically equivalent. From there, individuals and organizations must be blind to gender. I’m not suggesting co-ed restroom facilities, but just about everything short of that. The key is constant promotion and reward for a neutral gender stance on all business decisions and the simultaneous punishment for any hint of gender bias. The bottom line is that, woman or man, we’re all very far from perfect and we all need to work harder to ensure equal pay for equal work, workplaces that are free from gender (and race!) bias and a world where performance and the display of personal ethics trumps all other considerations.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2018

    Will Amazon or Walmart win the clash of the retail titans?

    Let me suggest who the real losers will be, and it’s not Walmart or Amazon. The middle-market grocers and big box retailers that haven’t changed their go-to-market strategy and value proposition in the last 10 years will follow Toys "R" Us to the dustbin of the industry. In grocery, there’s Food Lion, Acme and a few other Albertsons and Ahold banners. In mass, Sears Holdings and J.C. Penney are likely victims. Plus, several ecommerce-only retailers won’t make the cut or will be acquired.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2018

    Should retailers lower expectations around last-mile delivery?

    The leverage Amazon has is the $100 that more than half the families in the US pay for Prime each year. They were first, so the fee has become a utility. From a consumer’s perspective, she or he doesn’t need another fee for the same kind of utility -- no one will pay for two different electricity sources. That’s the real challenge other retailers face.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2018

    Walgreens focuses on healthcare services in new store format

    You have to wonder what role tobacco products will have in any new Walgreens design/merchandising effort. CVS has taken less of a revenue hit than expected since it dropped cigarettes and cigars. Plus a good chunk of the folks who previously purchased tobacco from CVS wound up quitting the habit and used cessation solutions purchased from the drug chain to do it, according to an analysis published last year in the American Journal of Public Health.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2018

    Should retailers emulate or differentiate from Amazon?

    A wildcard here is the go-forward e-commerce plans of brands. Do they want to have 30 percent to 40 percent or more of their volume going through one company? They didn’t with Walmart and aren’t likely to want to be bound to Amazon. We heard some interesting strategies from several leading brands at Shoptalk last week and while the brands aren’t burning their bridges with Amazon they are looking for other channels so they can keep Amazon honest.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2018

    Will all retailers soon go cashier-less?

    More than the size of the retailer, the implementation of this technology will be governed by the retail vertical. Luxury and discount retail channels will have human cashiers longer than others due to the desire for interaction and upsell on the high end and cost on the low end. Middle market retailers like DIY/hardware, pet and select mass, grocery and drug are more likely candidates for early adoption because of customer demands for quicker service and the potential crossover with e-commerce.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2018

    Dick’s responds to Parkland teens – won’t sell AR-15s anymore

    Dick's and Walmart looked at the data and determined these actions won't materially impact their bottom lines in even the medium-term, just as CVS did when it stopped selling tobacco products.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2018

    Albertsons and Rite Aid combine to create food, health and wellness giant

    There are several ways to look at this merger in a positive light, including real estate and interesting store format potential, expanded health and wellness opportunities and sheer volume. But there are a few negatives, including geography (it doesn't give Albertsons full nationwide coverage) and e-commerce (neither retailer has a fully-baked offer).
  • Posted on: 02/05/2018

    Which commercial won the Super Bowl?

    Eli strikes the Patriots again and this time he’s not even playing! I enjoyed the NFL ad with Manning and Beckham for its originality. I’m sure I’m going against many of my fellow BrainTrust members with this one, but I found the Amazon ad anti-climactic.
  • Posted on: 01/22/2018

    Amazon Go goes live

    I visited the store with a few clients last month and peeked in to get a glimpse of the merchandising, the technology deployed and any customer engagement. We were impressed by the first two, as all the products we could see were well presented and there was frictionless checkout. On customer engagement, we had a hard time figuring out who worked there -- the people we thought were employees because they seemed to be helping other shoppers turned out to be shoppers themselves (at least they walked out with purchases). The one person who was clearly a store employee was at the exit and looked more like a bouncer than someone a shopper would ask for help from. Even given this potential hiccup, Amazon Go certainly is a game changer and the concept will be expanded in multiple forms.
  • Posted on: 01/19/2018

    Can Wakefern crowdsource away its out-of-stocks?

    It’s hard for me to believe this approach won’t be leapfrogged by more accurate technology that will link the planogram of the shelf with the transaction log data at checkout so the store system can alert management when stock needs to be replenished. I understand this may be a bit harder in fresh areas and with DSD products, but crowdsourcing seems like a stopgap solution to a problem that needs a more systemic approach.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2018

    Walmart CEO: ‘Retail is about change’

    The most striking point I took away from the session with McMillon this week was his statement that the feeling shoppers have after they've left the store, website or app is what determines how quickly they'll be back. He added that Walmart is now focusing on that moment, which seems like a big departure from the retailer’s traditional demand creation approach.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2018

    Will retail be woven into the fabric of the new, walkable suburb?

    Quick answer is yes, most retail channels need to look at formats suited to walkable suburbs. Even car dealerships and other channels that previously required acres of space may find benefit from having at least a showroom in these kinds of communities. For traditional mall-based retailers, you don’t have to look further than the success of towns like Westfield, NJ, which has attracted several of these kinds of companies plus many that are usually found in bigger cities to create a thriving downtown.
  • Posted on: 12/28/2017

    Will other grocers beat Amazon Go to the punch?

    The proper analogy here is with self-checkout, which didn’t give any retailer a true first-mover advantage. One retailer in the market will introduce it, then others will follow. There will be a lot of adjustments as customers either like it or don’t and operations work or don’t. Some retailers will pull the plug on the systems and others will expand them. Just like self-checkout.
  • Posted on: 12/20/2017

    Are shoppable recipes a bigger opportunity than meal kits?

    The key here is shopper analytics. Imagine what a turnoff it would be for a vegan to receive a recipe for chateaubriand or for a carnivore to receive a recipe with tofu and quinoa. Using loyalty card data or even market basket data for recipe information will help engage the shopper. Take that a step further with meal suggestions for special occasions and demographic sectors, and retailers will have a real winner.

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