Cathy Hotka

Principal, Cathy Hotka & Associates

Cathy Hotka has personal relationships with most of North America’s most influential retail technology leaders. Cathy Hotka & Associates is a different kind of retail IT marketing firm, leveraging close relationships with CIOs to assist technology companies, and working with retail CIOs to create thought leadership materials. The company was founded in 2002 and enjoys working relationships with many Tier 1 retailers and vendors.

Prior to creating the firm, Hotka created the CIO Council for the National Retail Federation, and staffed the American Petroleum Institute’s IT Council. She has worked on Capitol Hill and the White House, and has been recognized by Computerworld, CIO, Executive Technology, and the Wharton School of Business.

  • Posted on: 04/24/2017

    What customer service lessons can be learned from United Airlines?

    When I first worked in retail about a hundred years ago the mantra was "the customer is always right." The 90 percent of retail sales that happen in-store will increasingly be influenced by sales associates and the draw of the store experience. Don't drag the passenger from the plane, and work WITH store customers to give them what they want.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2017

    Will IKEA find success in standalone restaurants?

    The restaurant business is cutthroat and demands a lot of its people. A standalone restaurant is nothing like a convenience cafe within a store ... I hope the folks at IKEA have done their homework.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2017

    Has CVS crafted a promising new drugstore shopping journey?

    Great move. Customers who are used to copious amounts of information while shopping online find it jarring to have very little information in the store itself. Another issue is the microscopic type on small containers (like makeup). If screens are cost-effective, the new store will attract more business.
  • Posted on: 04/19/2017

    Can McD’s succeed with commercials that don’t mention its name?

    I'm with Dick on this one. It's going to go down well with its intended audience -- younger consumers. Expect a lot more interaction between digital platforms going forward.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2017

    Are consumers’ AI fears rational?

    The average consumer has no idea of what AI is or how it's being used. I'll guess that Pegasystems' findings reflect antipathy toward automated call answering that most people find unsatisfactory. Continued exposure to AI, and corporate transparency around it, should change opinions.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2017

    How should retailers use social listening tools?

    There are some really exciting new tools, like WayIn, that facilitate retailers' two-way discussions with customers. Social listening is going to be a powerful and necessary way to empower retailers to communicate with customers, not at them.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2017

    Should retail employees have board representation?

    How can it be newsworthy to appoint a board member who knows what it's like to work at a company?
  • Posted on: 04/14/2017

    What can marketers and tech firms learn from BK’s co-opting of Google Home?

    Do not put one of these devices in your home. The end.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2017

    Should the same-store sales metric be retired?

    Traditional same-store analysis has been out of sync for years, providing no way to measure sales influenced by mobile phones, cross-channel promotions, BOPIS and endless aisles. Kudos to Mr. Dennis for suggesting ways that the industry can better adapt.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2017

    Are daily deal sites obsolete?

    Groupon's days were probably numbered when it turned down the inexplicably generous $5 billion offer from Google. It now has almost unlimited competition, including from most metropolitan newspapers. Groupon should partner with an analytics giant to hone its algorithms and produce a more predictable outcome for clients ... but it might be too late already.
  • Posted on: 04/07/2017

    What will the fourth industrial revolution mean for retail supply chains and jobs?

    AI is going to cause a huge disruption in the job market and we as a society are not doing much about it. Our schools are going to need to adapt and our expectations of workers will have to change. With what will we replace these jobs?
  • Posted on: 04/05/2017

    Can SpartanNash use BOPIS to take personalization to the next level?

    There's plenty more on the horizon. I know of another grocer who's about to amp up multichannel efforts this year. Customers will expect it, and just a few years from now we'll be wondering what the fuss was about.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2017

    Will mobile order and pay-only stores improve Starbucks’ operational performance?

    Business models are changing as fast as the customer's imagination. Imagine what this same mobile order and pay model would look like for grocery stores. We're going to see a lot of trial and error as customers decide on their preferences and retailers respond.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2017

    Will personalized pricing end retailers’ use of dynamic pricing?

    Personalized pricing is the future. There's a new company, about to launch in retail with deep roots in the casino industry. Using them, retailers won't have to give away margin by reducing prices for everyone, and can treat the very best customers differently. One-size-fits-all leaves money on the table.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2017

    How can retailers foster staff enthusiasm for better customer experiences?

    Max is right. The retailers that are consistently voted the best places to work also hire grownups at adult wages and experience minimal turnover. If you value your employees, you'll pay a living wage and implement flexible schedules.

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