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: 03/07/2019

    Do retailers need to reevaluate their omnichannel strategies and tactics?

    Yes. Disruptive business is a key to survival and omnichannel marketing is part of this. As technology continues to change our expectations, we must adjust our business models, expectations, systems, processes and procedures to reflect this. Amazon is clearly leading this disruption, and others are pushing to adjust. As this model changes and morphs to include omnichannel marketing in each of its disruptions, the business marketplace must adjust itself to survive and the retailers who comprise each category must adapt or perish.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2019

    Retailers take on massive legacy system challenges one module at a time

    As technology continues to change, and our expectations and perceptions along with it, it is simply not reasonable to expect that a company-wide change, embracing a different technology, process, system or procedure can be implemented each time. Moore's Law continues to rule, as does the plethora of software systems to address peripheral issues within the retail universe. This alone mandates smaller changes within the sea change of retailing that many retailers address on a regular basis. When we start looking at larger scale shifts, these demand greater human and financial resources to implement (and check, train and replace) whether these are software, hardware or just physical layout issues within a technology. In the end, smaller is better. Controlled implementation is a requirement. Company-wide change is difficult, if not impossible, within a short period of time.
  • Posted on: 02/28/2019

    Will FedEx’s robots help retailers solve the last-mile delivery challenge?

    This is a prime example of a solution looking for a problem. Slow, cumbersome robots are not the answer to the last-mile delivery challenge. They cannot outperform traditional delivery vehicles (bike/car/person) with a person while maintaining superior customer service, timeliness, and heightened customer response to non-traditional issues (blocked entry ways, pets, weather, alternative delivery locations, etc.) This isn't a scalar problem, but instead a perspective that should be addressed. In other words, making lots of solutions will not solve this problem, but instead using a different approach might.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2019

    Walmart says ‘goodbye’ to greeters and ‘hello’ to controversy

    This is contrary to one of the core beliefs of Sam Walton, and how he wanted his stores to be presented to his customers, and I have met Sam Walton. He would be turning over in his grave that this decision was impacting employees as well, as the initial presentation of the store to the consumer as soon as they entered. Walmart management has clearly forgotten this core belief and how this has helped make Walmart the retail giant it is today. Shame on them!
  • Posted on: 02/25/2019

    Should district managers be held more accountable for store performance?

    Since most retailers try to promote their DMs and RMs from within, the same performance work ethics, empowerment and structures are usually (loosely) in place. Organizationally, empowerment comes from the top, but systems and processes require full management buy-in and these are usually available at all levels, even if they are not implemented at all levels. Accountability should be a multi-level KPI and the bonuses which come with these should be tied to the metrics upon which they are measured.
  • Posted on: 02/21/2019

    Will robotic fulfillment centers reshape Kroger’s business?

    Maybe. It may help in the short term, but in the long term Kroger needs to drive their own fulfillment centers and the hardware, software, logistics and savings that this will offer. Having a third party do this, might negate any savings which Kroger might realize.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2019

    Samsung brings its own ‘Experience’ to first U.S. stores

    Experiential standalone stores are generally a losing proposition, especially when compared to Samsung's current retail presence and store within a store at Best Buy locations. Increasing their current retail presence seems smarter, extends their reach and exposure, and makes their partners truly partners, instead of competitors. Samsung has to consider all of this, but most importantly that they are not Apple, and this is not 2002.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2019

    Will Amazon’s decision to bail cause a New York backlash?

    Pulling out of New York was not Amazon's original intention, but the result of so many residents saying that the city and state were abusing their tax dollars attracting HQ2. Everyone loses with this, but there is so much that we, the public, do not know. The backlash has already started (verbally), but that is all there can be, as no action was ever done. This will be tomorrow's fish wrap soon enough.
  • Posted on: 02/11/2019

    Are apps and voice assistants the keys to e-grocery adoption?

    No. e-Grocery adoption is not a resounding success because we don't think of it as a better retail option. It is not because of the poor usage of the technologies to empower it, but instead the need for this. This is a solution looking for a problem where one does not necessarily exist. Most people prefer to go to the grocery store and buy their products, and their dollar "votes" reflect this. Apps and voice assistants are available and the consumer spending habits clearly demonstrate that they are not desirable ways to grocery shop. Consumers clearly prefer to choose their own bananas, cuts of meat, vegetables, etc. Also, attaching minimum purchasing levels (minimum orders) does not give e-grocery any help.
  • Posted on: 02/06/2019

    What will Angela Ahrendts’ departure mean for Apple’s retail business?

    This departure shows that Apple is not ready for the next step. Naming your HR leader to also lead retail sales in a transformative time for both Apple and the technology that has changed their company is not a well thought-out plan. Apple needs their HR team to focus exclusively on HR. They need a dedicated retail team, lead by focused retail management to move forward with their retail and store strategy for the future. Combining this leadership is just too much for one person, and a poor decision on Apple's part. Where is the retail experience that Ms. O'Brien brings to this function of Apple?
  • Posted on: 02/01/2019

    Shopper technology opportunities are the focus of FMI Midwinter

    The true question here is really, does having a brick and mortar presence give grocers a true advantage that their online only competitors do not have? Perhaps this is reflected more in what problems will shopping technology solve, from an online only perspective, compared to an on-ground brick and mortar perspective. There are certain advantages like convenience, but this is not a category changing mantra at this point in time. Instead it reflects some things which consumers prefer, but not enough to be a sole focus of a category. Caution with placing importance on technology to solve all of our issues should always be used when examining the opportunities which technology affords the grocery industry.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2019

    New Foot Locker concept is powered by local culture

    This move takes away much of the foot traffic that Foot Locker enjoys in a mall. It requires that these standalone stores become destination locations, rather than ancillary ones, and this requires a different business model that drives sales from customers specifically looking for a Foot Locker. It is great that they are involved with the local community, but it requires Foot Locker to be in the real estate end of the business, and this will be a drag on future earnings.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2019

    Which retailers deliver the best customer service?

    When we look at retailers and customer service, our view should be product non-specific. A great retailer gives you great customer service independent of the product you purchased. Amazon doesn't give me different customer service when I purchase a $2,000 notebook vs. when I purchase a $5 dog bone. The same holds true for Nordstrom, Whole Foods, Amazon, Home Depot, and many others. There may be individual exceptions, but all of these retailers are world class with their customer service.
  • 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.

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