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: 07/26/2016

    Why has retail’s transition to data-driven enterprises been so arduous?

    I have near-weekly meetings with retailers and have been asking this question for over a year. Their answer is remarkable: while nearly all have multiple analytics packages, they are silo'ed by department, without a master plan for execution or vision for what could be accomplished. It's hard to accomplish something without a plan.
  • Posted on: 07/25/2016

    7-Eleven makes history with consumer drone delivery

    Raise your hand if you think that customers will be getting drone deliveries of $1.69 Slurpees. ... I didn't think so either.Cool publicity stunt, but certainly not a sustainable business model. I'll be interested in hearing what my fellow panelists think a successful model looks like.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2016

    Will consumers buy subscriptions for Tide from P&G?

    Dollar Shave Club didn't win because of its DTC model, it won because it has a superior product that costs much less than mainstream brands.Do we really think that consumers are going to be dealing with manufacturers of the 400+ different products they keep in their homes? While certain products make sense for regular home delivery -- think: diapers -- DTC isn't going to be the dominant model for household purchases, now or ever.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2016

    What does it take to compete in an off-price retail world?

    Anne Howe is right -- retailers have trained consumers to shop for the lowest price. The question is how non-discounted retailers (think: Abercrombie & Fitch, or Eileen Fisher) will elevate the shopping experience for the customers who don't like the idea of shopping at TJMaxx or Marshall's. With the shift in customer loyalty, enhancing the store experience is going to be very important.
  • Posted on: 07/18/2016

    Pokémon Go showcases potential of augmented reality in retail

    I attempted to negotiate the streets of New York on the day the game was released, and had the bizarre experience of seeing New Yorkers walk too SLOWLY.I don't see AR being a success in apparel retail, but at Toys "R" Us? GameStop? At furniture stores? This could be huge.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2016

    Are retailers ready for the next wave of cyber scams?

    This is so very frustrating. Each holiday season we have a new round of retail cyberattacks, followed by hand-wringing about how retailers need to do a better job of protecting key data assets. And we're about to enter another cycle.Until boards of directors decide to fund true data protection efforts, we're doomed to watch this happen over and over.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2016

    Walmart counters Prime Day with free shipping, no minimum required

    Prime Day is a successful public relations vehicle. Retailers who want to counter it would be smart to come up with their own publicity stunts rather than aping Amazon's moves.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2016

    Do robots make sense for online delivery?

    Everyone knows that driver-less vehicles are coming, but the economics of having jalopies like these delivering $11 meals is improbable at best!
  • Posted on: 07/11/2016

    Will drop-off points boost online sales?

    We've been talking about this for years. When I worked in the oil industry decades ago, there was a lot of talk about using gas station real estate for dry cleaning drop-off and other purposes. That said, we haven't made much progress yet, and the reason is that the business model is still unsettled. It will be interesting to see if this approach sticks.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2016

    Do retail marketers have an appetite for data science?

    Retailers will happily tell you that they're behind in terms of data science. Most retail companies have multiple analytics engines, usually siloed by department, and no clear vision of what they'd like to do with the oceans of data points they maintain. It would be a huge step forward if the industry could define what successful analysis could ultimately do.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2016

    Are out-of-stocks driving shoppers online?

    Make no mistake -- out-of-stocks are the chief culprit for store closings. Stores will never be 100 percent in-stock, and customers are getting seriously spoiled by easy online access to just about anything at any time. Stores will need to create compelling experiences and make it simple for customers to order online while they're in the store.
  • Posted on: 06/30/2016

    Can retailers sell anything without sales?

    Remember the horror when customers figured out that in order to run sales after Ron Johnson's tenure, J.C. Penney had to first raise prices?There are plenty of retailers (Aldi, Forever 21, Apple, Trader Joe's) that never run sales, and don't have to, but they have unique products. Retailers are going to have to figure out how to sell commodity items without slashing prices.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2016

    Walmart promotes and takes heat for ‘Made in USA’ goods

    Consumers are sensitive about this issue ... they'd prefer that more items be made here, they'll react badly to mislabeling and they're upset that U.S. companies can skip out on taxes by moving their "headquarters" to a P.O. box in Dublin. Retailers that misrepresent the overseas origin of products will face the wrath of the customer.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2016

    Once e-tail only, ThinkGeek expands brick-and-mortar presence

    We're seeing the new look of retail -- fewer stores that are more engaging. There's a Rent The Runway store in Georgetown where customers can check out the fit of various designers before renting. Imagine how this trend could affect traditional mall retail by having fewer stores with immersive customer experiences.
  • Posted on: 06/22/2016

    Does Publix have an unrealistic share of Florida’s grocery market?

    Let's face it: Publix is the happiest place on earth. Safeway will have to set standards never before attempted to best Publix's selections and ultra-friendly and engaging staff. Are they up to the task?

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