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: 11/16/2018

    Can Bernie Sanders force Walmart to raise its minimum wage?

    Stock buybacks help increase the value (and demand) for a stock. This has nothing to do with the minimum wage of an employee. The same goes for tagging CEO pay to a leveraged portion of the company's minimum wage. The real issue here is why the government has not increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour. In fact, the real problem is that the government has not increased the minimum wage to keep pace with the COLA adjustments of the rest of government, or the minimums that employees need to survive in the U.S. in many, many, years. The true issue is why the government has let the minimum wage remain so low, for so long, without increasing it to $15 per hour without doing anything about it; which is something that Bernie Sanders SHOULD be acting on ...
  • Posted on: 11/13/2018

    Walmart puts AI to the test in an in-store lab

    AI is not the game changer for retail and inventory management. Empowering consumers, and using all of the data available to the retailer (in even the most basic applications) are the keys to moving retail to the next level. To do this, retailers do not need AI, but need to apply simple automation, and trust. Staying abreast of store inventories, self-checkouts, and reaching out to the consumer are the keys to success here. Focusing on applying simple inventory and supply solutions to eliminate out of stocks, merchandise shelves correctly (which AI does not do), and price products appropriately (another non-AI function) are important.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2018

    What are the omnichannel challenges facing e-tailers opening stores?

    Nascent etailers who are opening up their first retail stores need to truly understand the differences between running an e-tail only model, and the added issues facing traditional brick and mortar retailers, as well as combining these into an omnichannel model. One is the immediate impact of returns and allowances on cash flow and inventory (there are no more "the check is in the mail delays to hide behind). Another is keeping a physical store clean, merchandised, properly staffed and easily promoted. Keeping the physical customer happy requires even more sensitivity and a customer service department that is experienced and trained with the right skills to ensure that customer retention is high. These are just a few of the issues which all retailers are familiar with, in addition to the merging of retail systems that record and report physical store inventory damage, shrink, OOS, improperly promoted and stocked inventory, etc. Having a team which is familiar, trained, and comfortable in the omnichannel world is perhaps one of the greatest immediate issues these e-tailers must face as they transition into the omnichannel world.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2018

    Why do landlords say they’re happy that Sears is shuttering stores?

    Losing a tenant, Sears or otherwise, is only beneficial in a tight market, which is not reflective of today's environment. The majority of leased space will leave the landlord with high up-front costs, loss of cash flow, and a tenuous short and mid-term future. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush is the saying which comes to mind here. Sears stores with old leases, or low-demand traffic appeal, are still better than no stores at all...
  • Posted on: 11/02/2018

    Walmart reimagines its big boxes as town centers

    This is a great move by Walmart to shift their store positioning to become more community focused. The key to maximizing the big box store is to fit it in well with the local community. This will require a dynamic positioning for many communities, since we often find communities which are in transition around large retail areas. Walmart will need to do its homework when it "reimagines" positioning their stores as town centers, and keep the location flexible for future changes as the local community shifts.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2018

    Has CVS found an answer to blunt Amazon’s move into the pharmacy business?

    CVS has certainly found an alternative to Amazon as the pharmacy business continues to change. However, Amazon is still lower in cost and faster in delivery. Also, CVS only needs to count the days before Walmart has their solution for this "in test" as well, and Walgreens will not be far behind. Amazon's entire model will only help create more customer loyalty and a faster adoption rate which CVS cannot compete with on a prescription/OTC program only (i.e. Amazon Video, Food, etc.).
  • Posted on: 10/30/2018

    Can Brandless deliver on its lofty goals in a pop-up?

    Brandless has a value proposition which can appeal to urban shoppers in large metro areas like NYC or LA, but I see this faltering when it comes to smaller, more competitive cities. Their price point is questionable for generic products, especially in the face of Aldi and Lidl, or aggressive house brands from Walmart or Costco. Testing their goals in a pop-up is a good idea, however they should focus on placement of these in different retail areas to compare and contrast performance of their model. Only then will Brandless truly have deliverables which provide data that allows them to determine the viability of their model.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2018

    Did Amazon wrap up Christmas in July?

    Amazon's Christmas in July probably did more to encourage back to school purchases, in addition to other purchases than just holiday purchases. The sheer number of holiday purchases done over the traditional holiday period will probably not decline by the same fraction of 40% that this article uses for its basis. Instead, we can probably see year over year increases, with no declines, which causes some questioning of the impact of Christmas in July sales events.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2018

    Should retailers respond to every consumer review?

    Yes, retailers should keep consumer reviews, consumer feedback and customer service as one of their mainstays of business. Ignoring this great opportunity to address issues, satisfy customers and correct business performance is a wasted chance for any retailer to win higher customer satisfaction, win more customers and correct customer performance issues. Which retailer wants to ignore upset customers? In today's online and omnichannel environment, this is even more important. Great communication means great business.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2018

    Can fashion bloggers become brands?

    Branding is becoming less and less of a factor in the purchasing decision as we have seen the growth of house brands over the last few years. Shifting the nomenclature to a more recognized fashion blogger's name is a good step to promote a new brand, but it may come at the cost of house branding. The true key to this success may still reside in pricing and product value rather than naming. Only time will tell for each brand in each category.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2018

    Does anyone pay the full retail price anymore?

    Americans are shopping for bargains because that is what America is built upon. Walmart, Costco, Target, Lidl, Aldi, are all discount retailers in their own right, and some have been around over 50 years! Why pay full price when retailers price match and we have a strong online presence available at any key retailer?
  • Posted on: 10/14/2018

    Cannabis-infused drink and food makers are high on grocery opportunities

    Change on this issue will be slow. Legalization conflict between state and federal laws is already an issue that will require true federal approval with state approvals following this. This is required of all other drugs and alcohol, and cannabis foods will require the same before national chains embrace any brand. Buyer beware is the code by which all stores have to follow when they decide to stock any non-federally approved drugs like cannabis.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2018

    Would biometric feedback shopping carts creep out Walmart’s customers?

    Parts of this patent, like speed-based weight sensors, make great sense. Others like pulse-reading technology threaten personal privacy and may end-up nullifying any possible uses this patent may offer. Distinguishing feedback from tracking and recording a customer's personal information will be a tremendous issue in the implementation of this patent. This alone might be enough to stop the usage of this technology in stores where customers are very sensitive about where they shop based upon personal preference.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2018

    Will Starbucks prosper or suffer under a hedge fund’s influence?

    Corporate investment is the heartbeat of success for American companies. How corporate boards manage their investors' involvement determines corporate systems and processes throughout their company, not the presence of one minor investor.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2018

    Gap sends its Visa cardholders to Amazon and Target

    This is an interesting concept that allows for financial symbiosis over competitive product positioning. It defies traditional marketing and the 4Ps,yet reaches for another reward. This might be worthwhile in some situations, despite the obvious.

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