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: 01/07/2021

    Will meatless burgers moo-ve in on beef’s market share as prices fall?

    I think awareness is critical. Across the population of beef eaters, I would guess a small portion have tried meatless alternatives. The other point is proper preparation of the food itself. Many of these alternatives can dry out faster than beef, I have found. I think sampling in stores would be a great idea, within COVID-19 guidelines, of course.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2021

    Have retailers solved their long line problems?

    "Necessity is the mother of invention." Remember that? Smart leaders will continue to develop solutions to the crushing restrictions imposed due to the virus. It's happening at innovative companies as we speak.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2021

    How did QR codes go from DOA to killer app?

    Any new technology is all about generating compelling use cases. Online shopping took years to take hold... wasn't Amazon founded in, like, 1994 or so? I know I wasn't shopping online until at least 2000. Give the shopper a perk for using the QR code that makes sense for them, and adoption will happen.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2021

    Do retailers need to jump on the e-gift card bandwagon?

    This is yet another revenue stream for retailers of any size. Capitalize upon it!
  • Posted on: 01/05/2021

    Are local retailers ready to flex their omnichannel muscles?

    I've always felt that online presence can be the great equalizer. Online commerce gives small businesses a chance to "punch above their weight" against the big stores. Bottom line, make it painless for the shopper and the company leadership should personally "shop" their own websites and their competition at least weekly to improve its seamlessness.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2021

    Will store closings in 2021 beat last year’s record total?

    The sad fact that many really great multi-generational operators have already gone out of business due to absolutely no fault of their own. If mandatory closings and restrictions continue, it's anyone's guess on how bad 2021 could be for retailers. In most cases, the decision to stay in business is out of the operators' hands.
  • Posted on: 12/18/2020

    Can guilt-gifting and self-gifting save holiday selling?

    Guilt-gifting and self-gifting have been on the rise for years and they will certainly push this holiday season's revenues to new heights, I believe. Although I have no data to support this, my guess is that 50 percent of all Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc. purchases are ultimately gifts for the purchaser. Promoting these sentiments are yet another great message to shoppers regardless of retailer.
  • Posted on: 12/17/2020

    Is the pandemic pushing livestream shopping into the mainstream?

    Do I see a seamless, painless, convenient and fun way to shop online catching on? Yep. Retailers need to catch the wave.
  • Posted on: 12/16/2020

    Should c-stores go healthy for the sake of kids?

    I don't like that we're "picking on" c-stores in this article. Two points to make: 1.) All food stores should offer healthy choices to shoppers so, 2.) The shoppers can make decisions on their own without be told by the individual store how to live their lives.
  • Posted on: 12/16/2020

    It’s time for innovation or stagnation

    Adversity drives innovation to overcome that adversity, if allowed and encouraged. Remote work should not greatly interfere with that fact. Consistent, collaborative virtual team meetings with defined agenda and outcomes will always help move the ball to the goal line.
  • Posted on: 12/16/2020

    Are retailers facing a no-win decision in mandating vaccines for workers?

    Retailers can make strong recommendations to staff to get vaccinated however mandates are not the way to go, in my view, for multiple reasons. Those reasons include the fact that normal influenza vaccines are never required (nor other infectious disease vaccines), the potential for side effects of the vaccine for which the retailer may be held responsible, and staff's personal objections to vaccines in general, such as from those whom do not vaccinate their children, etc.
  • Posted on: 12/14/2020

    The scalpers who stole Christmas

    Whatever tactics the retailers attempt to employ, caveat emptor!
  • Posted on: 12/14/2020

    Is retail ready to distribute the COVID- 19 vaccine?

    Although the availability of existing vaccines in stores of many types (chain drug, discount chains, etc.) is well-established, as the COVID-19 vaccines arrive on-site, effective distribution to the consumer will be spotty in the early stages. Retail leadership needs to determine staffing needs not only to administer the vaccines, but also for the administration of vaccines. That means the paperwork, the in-store traffic flow, the execution of all the elements of the supply chain, etc.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2020

    How long will it be before robots replace humans in restaurants?

    As I [virtually] fuel my daily risk of "making friends" on RetailWire, I'll state that if you raise labor costs (the highest controllable cost beyond the ingredient costs) some 50% to the oft-suggested $15 minimum wage, do you REALLY expect the Moms 'n Pops to simply eat that cost without seeking long-term remedies? Everyone wants to do the right thing, however, this is all about the costs of doing business. So, surprise, surprise, expensive staff will continue to be replaced by automation under the guise (now) of contactless delivery.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2020

    Stores move to the front and center fulfilling customers’ expectations

    Leveraging stores for multichannel fulfillment was a self-fulfilling prophecy only accelerated by COVID-19. This is a good thing for consumers but also for retailers in that it maximizes underutilized and unproductive store space.
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