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,, 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.

  • Posted on: 06/24/2022

    Is the metaverse opportunity getting any clearer?

    Retailers should approach the metaverse the same way they should approach cryptocurrencies – very carefully. While there may be some benefit to being a first mover in this space there are risks that run well beyond money. What retailer wants to be known for making a big bet on a technology that isn’t accepted by its customers?
  • Posted on: 06/16/2022

    Should analytics drive category planning?

    The guys, and they were mostly guys, who led the merchandising departments in the 1980s, '90s and 2000s are retiring at a fast clip right now. These seat-of-the-pants managers relied on their experience for most decisions and used data to rationalize those decisions only when needed. I still remember seeing stacks of computer printouts in the corners of buyer’s offices and asking if they were ever used to support any kind of business process. The answer was routinely no. Now, with the advent of easy and convenient dashboards that enable merchandisers to conduct accurate “what-if” research, the corner has been turned and data analytics is ruling the roost. There is still a need for the art of merchandising, especially when it comes to big decisions relying on an acute understanding of buyer behavior, but analytics will have a role there too.
  • Posted on: 06/10/2022

    Could better technology have averted the supply chain crisis?

    Immediately after the 2008 financial meltdown spurred on by sub-prime loans, dozens if not hundreds of start-ups were launched to address both the base causes and the regulations enacted to prevent it from happening again. These technologies, along with others that pre-dated the crisis, are collectively called FinTech and have dramatically altered the course of the financial services industry. I’m not going to judge for the better or worse. In the aftermath of the massive supply chain disruption (really a series of large interruptions), there will be a similar explosion of start-ups with the same goal of addressing both the base causes and any regulations enacted to prevent it from happening again. Flexport is just one of a few dozen already gaining traction in the world of logistics. There will be many more.
  • Posted on: 05/31/2022

    Why are retailers struggling so hard to balance inventory?

    Several retailers have strategically decided to hold more safety stock in fast consumables and apply a lot more analytics to anything seasonal or with a short shelf life. On the consumables, this is a good strategy until it isn’t, especially when interest rates and variable costs rise. Using AI and the like will make the forecasts for seasonal product better but still far from optimal due to a continued adjustment by consumers to the new economy. What’s the old saying – demand forecasting would be a breeze if you took shopper behavior out of the equation.
  • Posted on: 05/18/2022

    Should Apple have killed the iPod?

    Frankly, I’m surprised it took Apple this long to make this move. For those who miss the fact you can disconnect with the iPod, you can get an older iPhone with more space and capabilities for about the same price as the Touch.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2022

    Is Hy-Vee’s highly public corporate restructuring prescient or something else?

    I certainly hope that Hy-Vee’s internal communications plan for disseminating this information was more thought out than the external one. Starting with discussions on what the intended end-state is for these moves, Hy-Vee’s HR department should have painted a picture that the strategy will result in more opportunities for the people losing their positions and that the retailer is committed to making any transition as painless as possible. Once there was buy in to the plan, Hy-Vee could have announced the move as something positive, using the thousands of dollars spent on the advertorials to support the change or donate to food banks if the recession actually comes. Without a solid internal communications plan, this exercise looks a bit like airing dirty laundry in public.
  • Posted on: 03/07/2022

    Do indie grocers need a big tech upgrade to compete with chains for customers?

    While I agree with several of the opinions that independents are more innately in tuned with their shoppers, I do worry about the next generation of operators. My grandfather knew who his best customers were in each of my family’s stores and, more importantly, what kept them coming back. Today, there are simply too many customers, too many products, too many promotions and too many other responsibilities for owners and managers to retain this knowledge AND be able to act on it when appropriate. I’ve often said that if a tech company could create the insights my grandfather and his peers had and deliver it at the store every time, that would be real retail magic. For more than 30 years, I’ve been going to conferences and expos looking for it. Still haven’t seen it.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2022

    Why has Kirkland Signature been so successful?

    As an attendee of most of the PLMA shows over the past 25 years, I would frequently see Costco buyers on the floor and in the educational workshops. They always had a set plan for what specific products they were looking for and it would change each year. This gave me the impression that there was a master plan somewhere in HQ with a roadmap of which items in the different categories Costco was targeting that year. They would also look for the latest trends (Keto, gluten-free, even CBD) and try to source those. Unlike Walmart, which was more a pack mentality at PLMA, the Costco folks split up and met back to report their findings. Given all of this, I’m not at all surprised about their success.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2022

    Is Foxtrot primed for major expansion?

    I visited the Georgetown/DC store recently and I don’t see it as a competitor to traditional c-stores at all. If anything, it will take away customer attention and market share from the likes of Starbucks, Pret a Manger and Au Bon Pain. It is an interesting shop with good quality items, but it is more than a bit overpriced (this is likely due to the upscale location in Georgetown). If they get the assortment-value paradigm right and match the store to the neighborhood, it could work. However I still remember Tesco’s attempt to turn convenience retailing on its side with Fresh and Easy, and we all know how that turned out.
  • Posted on: 01/19/2022

    Are retailers’ returns concerns coming to a holiday head?

    There were at least three times the number of booths at the NRF show this week dedicated to return management solutions as in 2020. Some very interesting sessions on the topic too. And at least two of the keynote speakers addressed it, so it is a big deal. I even heard a anew term – bracketing, where shoppers buy several sizes with the intention of returning all but one. This is not going away anytime soon and is something that could make or break a digital retailer.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2022

    Walmart says it’s ready to deliver groceries inside 30 million American homes

    For years I (and others) have been relating the analogy of the milkman in this space to describe the challenges of last-mile delivery. Most of us born in the '60s or before remember getting milk delivered to our homes once or twice a week. Gradually, however, shoppers began buying their milk and other dairy products from supermarkets and convenience stores, and the milkman was delivering to fewer and fewer homes. At some point, perhaps when only one-third of a neighborhood was buying from the milkman, it was no longer profitable for the dairy to continue the service. Walmart clearly sees a return to a customer penetration level that will ultimately make the InHome program profitable. Not sure I see this happening in 2022, but Walmart really doesn’t play the short-term game.
  • Posted on: 12/29/2021

    Would grocers benefit from ghost kitchens?

    Years ago on this site I suggested that a specific grocer going through some very hard times close every fifth store and turn it into a commissary and delivery hub for the remaining four. That company is long gone but the idea has been bolstered by several current trends, including dramatically increased online purchasing and retail foodservice demand. The ghost kitchen would pair well with an automated hub and spoke fulfillment center, taking advantage of both real estate and supply efficiencies. It will happen.
  • Posted on: 12/22/2021

    Do Americans now prefer strip center shopping?

    There has been and will continue to be a move toward integrating non-retail outlets into strip malls. These include medical clinics, gyms and even temp office space and hotels. This all amounts to a reshaping of the traditional strip mall into a more comprehensive “community” of services for a much larger audience.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2021

    What will it take to build a better shopping cart?

    My first job at my dad’s supermarket was control/bagger, spending the day combing the lot for stray baskets. This was before the days of corrals and well before the motorized cart movers. On a typical Saturday, I’d handle well over 300 carts. Oh how I yearned for any technology to help me with those baskets! There are two trends that will address this issue in different ways. The first is the move to automate the fulfillment of packaged goods will mean the cart of the future will mostly contain fresh and prepared items, so it should be smaller and dedicated to carrying products in random weight bags and containers. The second is the increased desire for convenience, so the cart should incorporate the checkout process including weighing those random weight items and managing payment.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2021

    Will superfans influence more Americans to ‘thank heaven for 7-Eleven’?

    Influencer marketing is a small but quickly growing element of retail marketing. Companies ignoring it now risk being in the same place retailers ignoring social media 10 years ago were – playing catch-up.

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