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: 12/04/2019

    Will Grinches steal Christmas from America’s front porch?

    The retailer drop-off/pick-up points are a win-win-win for the retailers (opportunity for impulse shopping), shippers (less stops to make, saves costs) and consumers (secure package holding). This has got to increase as online shopping skyrockets.
  • Posted on: 12/04/2019

    Do independent liquor stores need a rehab?

    Independent liquor stores suffer the same challenge that other food and beverage retailers of all sizes do. They haven't fundamentally evolved their merchandising to keep up with today's consumers. They are literally arranged the same as they were 50 or more years ago. However, grocery stores typically look the same. This is all about merchandising for today's shoppers.
  • Posted on: 12/04/2019

    The holiday season promises many unhappy returns for retailers

    Great insights, Paula! I can't add a thing.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2019

    Why are brands so bad at identity resolution?

    This should be nothing less than a sledgehammer-to-the-head-wake-up-call for retailers. It is inexcusable as we head into 2020 that this is still lagging at most retailers. There are straightforward technologies to help ensure a seamless shopper relationship, and those retailers that are still struggling need to investigate the tools available today and get this done. Now.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2019

    Mobile jumps out as retailers get a mixed start to the holiday season

    This is the natural evolution of retailing. I'd guess no one is surprised by these findings. As convenience increases with the learnings of each season, this will only evolve further in this direction.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2019

    Will 2020 be the year retailers digitally transform their supply chain ops?

    Great read, Patricia! I think there will be more movement toward these technologies, however I don't see mass adoption in 2020, an election year. I do see the hockey stick curve happening in two years.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2019

    Big things are happening as Small Business Saturday turns 10

    The more I see bigger retailers partnering with local shops (and it doesn't happen in a lot of places, yet) the more I see the sustainability of small stores and big stores in the same markets. I have seen big stores feature the local retailers with in-store promotions, and that drives a ton of local goodwill.
  • Posted on: 11/26/2019

    Can retailers take a bite out of organized retail crime?

    This is nothing new, but it is definitely growing. Both internal and external theft can be mitigated via some newer security measures, including leveraging technologies like IoT, AI and others. The physical presence of uniformed security staff in-store never hurts.
  • Posted on: 11/26/2019

    Will IoT reinvent the supply chain?

    There are several uses of IoT in production right now, beyond physical asset management. One company is leveraging IoT in the helmets of workers to monitor health and safety, and to notify the worker and management if the worker is under too heavy a strain while they're on the job. The possibilities of IoT is endless.
  • Posted on: 11/25/2019

    Private label foods need work

    I question the first line in the article, "...chains like Trader Joe’s." Umm, there are NO chains like Trader Joe’s. They have proven that PL can work in ANY category. Period. Other retailers just find excuses. That's why Trader Joe's is so compelling for shoppers.
  • Posted on: 11/25/2019

    Is secondhand gifting a holiday disruptor?

    When does it go from being "vintage" to just plain "used"? I think people are open to more types of gifts than ever before. I also believe this is one more opportunity for retailers to jump onto.
  • Posted on: 11/25/2019

    Why is Sephora paying associates to leave shoppers alone?

    Hey, I like the option! Nothing's going to be perfect when the public is involved, but I like the effort!
  • Posted on: 11/21/2019

    Kroger brings the farm closer to the table

    Since at least the 1980s, maybe earlier, the grocer I worked for in Chicago featured "Super Sweet Corn" during the peak season, available in-store within 24 hours of harvesting from local farms. It was always a big hit. This is a great idea and can really jump on the locally-grown trend shoppers like to see. If my grocer could make that happen 40-ish years ago, logistically, I cannot believe we couldn't do even greater things today.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    CBD and plant-based meats are the next big things in store brands

    Promote the benefits of the products better. Traditional human carnivores need a bit more enticement to make the leap to plant-based proteins.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2019

    Are Americans ready for a DTC shopping holiday?

    I agree with Brandon Rael that the shopper doesn't see nor care about the fact that they're buying DTC. Focusing on one "holiday" for this group of merchants may actually limit their audience and addressable markets. There are great examples of DTC Brands that have been successfully selling for 15+ years, and they should leverage the innovative retailers' techniques for driving profitable growth.

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