PROFILE

Kai Clarke

CMO, COO American Retail Consultants
Kai Clarke Charlotte, NC 28278  kaiclarke@gmail.com  LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaiclarke/ GLOBAL VP OF SALES AND MARKETING, TECHNICAL COO AND MANAGEMENT EXECUTIVE / COO, CMO CRADLE TO GRAVE MARKETING EXPERTISE / 3PL LOGISTICS OPTIMIZATION EXPERT / AMAZON GURU Results-oriented revenue and profit driven, global CMO with an MBA and a strong eCommerce, logistics, architectural and LED lighting, consumer products and eCommerce background. Proven road warrior and Amazon guru, skilled in establishing and managing new global divisions with $200 million profit and loss responsibility, including cradle to grave manufacturing, product planning, forecasting, logistics, tracking and analysis modeling. This includes managing, creating and overseeing digital, SEO, social media and online marketing (lead prospecting, lead generation, follow up, networking, social media, Nielsen, IRI and customer service). Marketing leader with a strong technical aptitude including expertise in consumer product design (CPG), manufacturing, logistics, Import / Export, architectural lighting and fixture sourcing, eCommerce / Amazon and retail sales, and marketing and channel development. Practiced leader in strategic direction, data mining, international product sourcing, leadership and new business planning. Exceptional clarity in situations where resources must be altered in a self-sustaining growth structure Management Strengths include: • Consultative and solutions-oriented leadership across entire organizations in over 100 markets • Leading successful small company, start-up and business turn-arounds from $5 million to $200 million • Growing top line revenues through rapid new product creation, global OEM/ODM manufacturing, marketing, branding and positioning by building teams with balanced communication and execution including full web and mobile technology marketing as part of the end to end go to market strategy • Knows when to strategize, when to manage, when to escalate and when to execute • Developing global teams to achieve rapid revenue and profit growth in Europe and Asia exceeding 50% • Brand equity development and new market penetration managing 260+ people in over 37 countries • $200 MM+ P&L Management with a bottom line focus and the ability to operate at a strategic level • Contract, sub-contract and strategic alliance negotiations throughout our supply chains saving 18+% • Global logistics and account management to grow business throughout Asia (40%) and Europe (50%) • Extensive travel throughout Europe and Asia over the last 20 years, including living part-time in China over the last 8 years as well as many years growing up as a military brat in Europe. PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE AMERICAN RETAIL CONSULTANTS, CHARLOTTE, NC 2014 – Present Private, Retail Consulting and Operational Consulting Firm, Founded in 2014 in Los Angeles American Retail Consultants, Inc., an American based company that helps establish Chinese companies including architectural lighting and LED fixtures, consumer electronics, CPG hardware manufacturers (and all international companies) create USA focused B2B, B2C, retail, Amazon, eCommerce / Online, distribution sales and marketing, management, development, and consulting company of retail hard goods, CPG, electronics, and consumer products. VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES & MARKETING AND CMO (Reports to CEO) (Direct Reports: 3 Country Managers and 3 Marketing Managers) Responsible for the P&L development and execution of commercial strategy and tactics as part of the multi-million dollar American marketing, sales, logistics, and operations of several international initiatives. Focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our customer’s LED and architectural lighting operations, processes, and logistics from cradle to grave including overseas manufacturing and domestic sales. • Elevated KPI revenues to 44% year-over-year growth using strategic direction and operational maximization, with a strong emphasis on reducing expenses while establishing leadership in target markets and fostering technology engagement platforms • Created new partner growth of 84% for 2013 leveraging Internet, Amazon B2B and B2C marketing initiatives, defining our new corporate focus and set priorities, establishing objectives, plan and allocate resources, lead execution, and results management • Reduced overall costs by 32% by creating mid-range business plans and yearly budgets, while establishing corrective expense action plans and achievable KPIs. • Identified 61 new commercially viable market activities, reducing COGS by 6%. Sourced new products to diversify our product portfolio and partnering opportunities, including sourcing new products from new partners in China, and Continually developed superior P&L results by leading global teams to optimize business performance and market development focusing on strategic web, software, and partner marketing activities. • Elevated key BU revenues to 28% year-over-year growth (product and Import / Export sourcing) using strategic direction and operational maximization, with a strong emphasis on reducing expenses while establishing leadership in target China markets. • Identified and created new retail branding, packaging design, EDI, digital, and content marketing and partner efforts for all retail eCommerce / Amazon, electronic and LED products in each of their diverse channels including Wal-Mart, Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes, Walgreens, Graybar, Target, Costco, and other key partners. VIRIBRIGHT LED LIGHTING http://www.viribright.us/ CHARLOTTE, NC 2016 – 2017 Private, Electrical/Electronic Manufacturing, 11-50 Employees, Founded 2010, HQ: Corona, CA Viribright is a division of Matrix Lighting Inc., which is a subsidiary of Matrix Holdings Limited. Matrix Holdings Limited was established in 1979 and has been listed on the Hong Kong Limited Stock Exchange since 1994. Matrix Holdings Ltd. has factories in China and Vietnam with a total of over 20,000 employees worldwide. VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES AND MARKETING (Reported to President and Board) (Direct Reports: 1 Director and 1 National Sales Manager. Sales force of 35 in the USA) • Created 28 new SKUs with firm targets and objectives for both the online/Amazon and traditional marketing and sales organizations embracing a strategic top-to-top marketing effort aligned with market requirements. • Worked with over 85 LED distributors, brokers and key account category managers to cross-merchandise, promote and build our Viribright brand worldwide at accounts like Walmart, Amazon, Graybar, WESCO, Consolidated Electrical (CED), Ace, Do it Best, Best Buy, Lowes, Orgill, Home Depot, True Value and Costco. • Identified and optimized our new Internet, eCommerce, Amazon, B2B and B2C marketing initiatives to reduce inventory by 45% in the first 6 months by defining our new corporate focus while setting priorities, establishing objectives, planning and allocating resources, lead execution, and results management resulting in new partner growth. • Improved sales by over 30% in our top 25 accounts through sales team coaching, mentoring, collaborative problem solving and goal achievement to realize a coordinated Viribright marketing position MIRACLEBEAM PRODUCTS, INC. LOS ANGELES, CA 2006 - 2014 Private, Consumer Electronics & Products, 100+ Employees, Founded 1992 VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES AND MARKETING AND COO (Reported to CEO and Board of Directors) (Direct Reports: National Sales Manager, 3 Regional Managers, Sales force of 85, 2 Marketing staff and China Sourcing Office) Living part of the time over the last 8 years, from my second home in China and the remainder of the time from my base in Los Angeles, my global focus was split between managing our China based LED lighting and fixtures and electronic hardware manufacturing, USA online and traditional LED and electronic sales, logistical and FDA focused marketing operations from multiple locations in both China and our USA headquarters every month, to maximize our profitability by managing, and leveraging the company’s resources and assets to grow Miraclebeam’s share of the LED and CPG markets. • Exceeded 20% revenue growth over the last 8 years by creating and implementing a national architectural lighting and LED / Laser/ CPG electronics, eCommerce, channel distribution, and logistics strategy. Improved product quality in our Chinese Partner’s LED lighting and electronics factories and restored our client Import / Export service levels to world-class FDA standards. Maintained and improved operational and financial performance of the company for our retail partners in branded (OEM) and house-branded (ODM) products. • Increased client growth (60%+) in 15 different product categories assessed LED/Laser market opportunities, competitive research, trend analysis and evolving global product needs to develop a business growth plan, based on gaining LED and Laser market share through new product research and development, and client growth (60%+) in 15 different product categories and through the sourcing, licensing and manufacturing of over 400 new SKUs for major retailers including government (GSA), Wal-Mart, Amazon, Sears/K-Mart, Kroger, AAFES, Walgreens, Fry’s, $.99 Only, Petco, Petsmart, Publishers Clearing House, True Value, Do It Best, Ace, OSH, Family Dollar, Big Lots, Meijer, 7/11, etc. • Reduced budgets by 9% through the maximization of our corporate LED and Laser logistics, automation and operational efficiencies to support annual growth plans and improve earnings including LEAN manufacturing and warehousing, and Import / Export development, while providing tracking initiatives for continuous and never-ending improvement (exceeding FDA standards), which were globally communicated, supported, and remotely managed • Saved over 6% by forecasting annual capital expenditure projections/submissions while actively overseeing our purchase order and accounts payable processes resulting in savings of 6% COMPACT POWER SYSTEMS (CELLBOOST) LOS ANGELES, CA 2003 - 2006 Private, Consumer Electronics, 50 Employees, Founded 1999 Vice President of Sales and Marketing- COO (Reported to Board of Directors) (Direct Reports: Marketing Director and National Sales Manager, International Sales Manager, 25 Sales Reps and 12 Marketing Support staff) As Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and COO of this $50 million, entrepreneurial-focused team, my key focus was on providing direction and leadership to our financial, operational and management teams to ensure short and long-term revenue growth and profitability. • Created over $17 million dollars in new revenues in both OEM and commercial channels (Cellboost) while increasing store distribution from 10,000 store fronts to over 80,000 store fronts with partners like Fox Entertainment, Disney, Time Warner, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Circuit City, Best Buy, Radio Shack, Staples, Office Depot, K-Mart, CompUSA, 7/11, AAFES and others. • Produced sustainable and ongoing financial cost reductions of over $200,000 per quarter while elevating service quality, manufacturing and customer service through six sigma best practices and ISO (9001, 9002) implementations • Responsible for the strategic direction of all aspects of an organization's operational policies, objectives, and initiatives, while attaining short- and long-term financial and operational goals • Decreased warehouse inventories by over $1 million in 2005, lowered logistical costs by over $200K, while increasing product turns. • Designed, introduced, manufactured and marketed 16 new items in 7 new categories (OEM and retail), to provide a broader product base for increased revenues while establishing our full web and mobile technology marketing as part of the end to end go to market consumer and carrier strategy • Developed relationships with 10 new marketing partners in 2003, and created over 30 new SKUs including all roadmap, collateral and POP materials within each category PLANAR SYSTEMS, INC. http://www.planar.com/ PORTLAND, OR 2000 - 2003 Public, Computer Hardware & Digital Signage Technology, 201 – 500 Employees, Founded 1983 VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES AND MARKETING / GENERAL MANAGER OF COMMERCIAL MONITORS (Reported to President) (Direct Reports: 24 Sales people and 4 Staff) Recruited to start-up and develop a new commercial monitor division within the existing company. Responsible for new business revenues of over $80 million in sales, amid 3 years of company reductions. • Grew the business from concept to over $15 million in new revenues for the first year; over $60 million in the second year by defining our roadmap, creating OLED and LCD products to fill the channels and differentiating these targets by segmenting each market for key retailers and consumers • Developed 37 new commercial and OEM, SKUs and created all OEM, ODM, Consumer and Commercial sales marketing materials, product collateral, packaging and directed product and business development for the unit’s electronic and traditional OLED and LCD sales and marketing efforts. • Collaborated with industry leaders like Wal-Mart, Dell (OEM), MicronPC, CDW (OEM), Staples, Costco, Best Buy, Circuit City to create unique products, positioned to appeal to diverse channels, within each retail roadmap segment. ENERGIZER, INC. http://www.energizerholdings.com/ ST. LOUIS, MO 1999 - 2000 Public, Consumer Goods, 1,001 – 5,000 Employees, Founded 1896 DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL OEM SALES AND MARKETING (Reported to VP Sales and Marketing) (Direct Reports: 40 Country Market Managers, CMMs and Staff) Brought in to strategically re-define and reposition our corporate, global, OEM and channel, sales and marketing (e-centric, direct and distribution marketing) strategy. Responsible for over $108 million in revenue. Redefined our marketing team’s strategic planning processes and roadmap development to complement our key global alliance partner objectives. • Increased sales by over 11% in 1999. Established firm targets and objectives for both the marketing and sales organizations embracing a strategic top-to-top marketing effort aligned with market requirements. • Created $12 Million in new revenue in 2000 working with distributors, brokers and Fortune 100 Brand Managers to cross-merchandise, promote and build our battery brands worldwide at accounts like K-mart, Office Depot, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Circuit City and Costco. Key projects with Sony, Sharp, Black and Decker, Philips, GE, Stanley, Philips, Disney, and Mattel. • Achieved 6 new design-wins, created over $4 million in new business development revenue and increased product branding and revenues. Led Philips Pronto and Microsoft Toy energy design implementation from cradle to grave and marketed this to all corporate divisions. PROCTER & GAMBLE /GILLETTE/DURACELL, INC. SAN FRANCISCO, CA 1995 - 1999 https://us.pg.com/ Public, Consumer Goods, 10,001+ Employees, Founded 1837 GLOBAL OEM MARKETING DIRECTOR (Reported to VP OEM Sales and Marketing) (Director Reports: 37 Sales and Marketing OEM Country Managers) Managed our global OEM specialist marketing and sales teams, developing and cultivating new and existing products, major accounts and partnerships. Responsible for over $95 Million in revenue. Expert in new product creation, industry trade marketing, and retail trends, pricing, category practices, and product positioning. Created and marketed emerging solutions through competitive analysis, product definition, and the coordination of engineering, marketing, sales and design. Drove alignment and marketing initiatives across product groups and company teams. • Successfully secured 23 design-wins (hardware, software, service) involving global Duracell strategic partners in 1998. • Increased revenues by over $36 million in 1998, through new product differentiation in diverse markets. • Facilitated 11 Mobile, Medical, Handheld, Wireless and battery design-ins with the European and Asia Pacific global marketing teams while managing winning marketing projects worldwide. • Achieved over $95 million in new revenues in 1997. • Number 1 performer in 1997 by coordinating cross merchandising and new brand development with key partners in Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Costco, Kroger, Target, Staples, Office Depot and Home Depot stores. • Increased Shipments by 60% over an 8-month period and created 9 new design-wins in 1996. Created “Device of the Month” co-promotional campaigns with mobile and wireless devices from Disney, Philips, 3Com, J&J, Sharp, Toshiba, GE and Logitech. UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX –1999-2016 (PART-TIME) SENIOR UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR Part-time, active MBA professor, mentoring and teaching students in multiple disciplines in the Graduate School of Business. My desire and aptitude for learning and understanding of new technologies and concepts has required a traditional, as well as an Internet-based teaching style, since my classrooms are facilitated electronically “on line.” Areas of focus include Graduate Computer Science, Critical Thinking, Organizational Behavior, Marketing, Management and Communications. EDUCATION: MBA-Michigan State University / UOP: MBA – Marketing with emphasis in International Management, Finance, Organizational Behavior, Computer Science, 4.0 – Advanced Graduate Studies toward PHD. B.A.-Michigan State University: BA - Advertising Management-Minor in Economics and Mathematics Training: Executive Education in Global Supply Chain Management, Stanford University - GE Executive Training: Global Leadership Management Development; Xerox Advanced Selling Skills (DCVB, SPIN), Six Sigma Champion and Green Belt Fluent in English (native), French, versed in German and some Chinese
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  • Posted on: 01/21/2019

    Did regional constraints doom Shopko?

    Shopko failed because it wouldn't adapt to today's retail customer's needs. Adapt or fail should be the slogan every retailer lives by. Poor inventory management, and failure to compete on the Internet are both excellent reasons to for any retailer to use but in reality, it is just another business that cannot adapt and eventually perishes. The story is the same over the years, only the reasons change for each bankruptcy, whether they are regional or national.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2019

    NRF: Would digital experiences be even better with a human touch?

    This is often a solution looking for problem. Amazon is a great example of leading with digital experiences without a human touch. Their goal is to align products and services as effortlessly as possible in an online/digital environment. Why add a human touch to this when their audience is clamoring to eliminate human-based issues? Amazon focuses on what their customers want, and then solves this within the online environment.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2019

    NRF: Consumers prefer self-service, but associates still have a role to play

    Speed, speed, speed. These are the keys to self-service, and the majority of consumers know what they want, and simply want to get it and go. This has fed the self-service checkout, and the concept feeds the pay as you go retail concept behind the self-service retail store. It is not having an associate available to guide them, share information or slow down the purchasing concept anymore than it already has been. Sam Walton exposed this in his first store, where he made his goods available for the public to purchase (self-service), instead of having an associate get the product and intervene in the purchasing process, thus slowing it down. We have evolved much since then, but the concept remains the same. Amazon is making it even easier, faster and using a new interface with online purchasing that has one click buying. None of these requires an associate, and consumers seem to prefer it this way.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2019

    NRF: What’s the next step for omnichannel grocery?

    The Alibaba concept would work in urban centers in the USA, but that is about all. It is not set up for true omnichannel fulfillment with an automotive interface, nor a fully leveraged consumer interface that creates a purchasing environment centered around the consumer. Instead, we see this coming from the Whole Foods/Amazon model that also has a distribution warehouse behind it. Much of America has a need for a customer centric interface that can also be a warehouse and omnichannel fulfillment center and we see this in the Whole Foods model, not the Alibaba model. Using what we have to correct customer needs is our greatest problem at retail.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2019

    Will PepsiCo’s robots replace the pizza delivery guy on college campuses?

    No. Where is the increased customer service and customer presence using a robot? Not on college campuses, so why test there? This is especially sensitive where markets have less-mature audiences (read college campuses) compared to professional buildings. The place to start with this service is in large corporate buildings on corporate campuses (Apple, Cisco, Dell, Starbucks, etc.). Also, why are the foods being limited to healthy vs. non-healthy foods? Offerings should reflect the foods which reflect local demand and can offer the rapid turns that this model requires.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2019

    Will smart shelves work for Hannaford and its customers?

    Controlling store inventory and pricing better is a great concept, but smart shelves are just one way to do this. Smart shelves are an expensive way to capture information, which could easily be captured at the check stand and through regular inventory updates. To pay and manage the costs for smart shelves is simply too much. Smart shelves are an expensive solution looking for a problem. Instead, Hannaford should focus on better pricing, inventory control, eliminating out-of-stocks, time-to-market, maximized product offering, and product placement.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2019

    Pier 1 seeks yet another turnaround strategy

    Pier 1 needs to cut stores, cut products on the shelves, and cut pricing. Their offerings should only represent their best product in a category that combines pricing with positioning that leads a category. There should only be 1 of these. Inventory should be tightly controlled and staggered roll-outs for new SKUs should be considered where possible. Only the best stores with the best sales should be kept and the rest sold off. Cut costs, cut employees, cut stores, cut inventory should all be the primary mantra of Pier 1.
  • Posted on: 01/02/2019

    Whole Foods to expand nationwide to drive Prime Now growth

    This is a great position for Amazon to be taking. The more Whole Foods stores there are, the more food stores (read brick-and-mortar) to tie into placing another distribution center in a new location. These are only positives for Amazon, since they already have share of eyeballs and share of market on the front/virtual end. Now they can add a physical tie-in to this on the back end. This only has more positives for Amazon -- why not do this?
  • Posted on: 12/27/2018

    Kroger’s private label hits get their own store-within-a-store

    Making their private label products a destination location is a double-edged sword. The placement of private label SKUs next to nationally branded SKUs has always provided a hint of recognition and sales lift. It also allows for category bleed between the house brand and the national brand when they are placed next to each other. Placing all of the house brands in one location discounts this and makes it more difficult to consider a house brand when shopping for national brands. Who will go to an entirely different part of the store to purchase a SKU, when you are right in front of the category section?
  • Posted on: 12/26/2018

    Delivery drivers land on Santa’s Nice List

    No. A thank you note or gift is not reflective of the status of third-party carriers and how they stand compared to in-house carriers. In fact, most people are not aware of who their delivery driver is for most of their packages. Nor do they care. Customers are concerned with the timeliness and condition of their packages. No more. No less. This is what delivery services are tasked with doing, and reflects the expectations of both the customer and the client. In the future, we can expect to see a continued competition between all of the delivery services as cost of delivery continues to be a concern.
  • Posted on: 12/17/2018

    Will porch pirates ruin Christmas?

    This is a concern, but represents a very small portion of the total e-commerce cost of doing business. The cost is a shared burden between the delivery service and the shipping service, although many logistics companies are now requiring a "release" or secure shipping area to be specified for more expensive packages. Also, "fake" trackable boxes are often mixed in with real packages in locations where this kind of theft continues to represent a growing problem. This often catches the thief and stops this behavior from perpetuating itself. Requiring a signature from the household or a neighbor's household is a very strong way of solving this issue.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2018

    Have retail store associates fallen into a hypnotic state?

    Continued repetition of tasks promote hypnotic-like states. Using many of the tips in the article will certainly help avoid boredom, especially cross-training and role playing in the store. Using an early morning huddle to share experiences and set expectations. Keeping associates on their toes and challenging them in different ways are keys to avoiding a hypnotic state.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2018

    Walmart: Floor cleaning robots will give associates more time to serve customers

    Of course the inclusion of scrubbing robots in stores will positively affect Walmart's customer service. The real question is, how much will this cost and should this cost instead be spent on enhanced customer service training and hiring more employees? It appears that robotic technology is quite expensive, but perhaps less expensive than hiring another worker. So long as this is true, having a robot help clean up aisles is a positive step forward.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2018

    Drugstore/grocery pilot is two-thirds Walgreens and one-third Kroger

    Dedicating one-third of their space to a Kroger Express concept is a smart test for Walgreens to measure how fill-in grocery purchases can impact the Walgreens consumer, as well as how it impacts grocery purchases at local Kroger supermarkets. Mixing and matching consumers will provide for a new target market mix that Walgreens is not seeing, as well as a new purchasing dollar spend. Great move and test by both Walgreens and Kroger!
  • Posted on: 12/04/2018

    Walmart gives associates a tool to deal with out-of-stocks

    This tool is a great application that will empower Walmart associates to help customers right on the retail floor. By driving business back to the store, and by helping the customer out immediately, this tool heightens customer service and serves as way to better handle out-of-stocks. Bringing the product to the customer through Walmart.com avoids losing the business to another competitor and keeps the customer satisfied. This is a great problem solver for Walmart.

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