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: 01/19/2017

    Target gets creative help from Gen Z in new apparel line

    Younger customers value authenticity and this approach is a perfect way to appeal to them. If the approach is successful, younger customers across the country will weigh in as well.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2017

    Will Alexa become the voice of IoT?

    The NRF show is next week and we'll undoubtedly hear more their about applications in retail. While it's too soon to declare a winner in this space, there's no question that customers are going to be shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that these devices are gathering significant amounts of information about them. Before we get out too far ahead of ourselves, we should have a dialogue about customer privacy expectations.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2017

    Will 2017 be the year retailers start making their stores relevant again?

    Amen, sister. If retailers keep rearranging the deck chairs, they'll miss the obvious opportunities to gut the status quo and transform to meet customer expectations. And while they're at it, they need to boost IT spend by more than the 2 percent they're planning on.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2017

    What does giving up alcohol say about Starbucks?

    It seemed like a great idea at the time! But over time it became obvious that the understated vibe at Starbucks wasn't conducive to alcohol consumption. They should be congratulated both for trying new things and for pulling back when those things don't work.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2017

    What do Millennials want in store design?

    It's not just Millennials, it's everyone. People want a clean, focused, pleasing store experience. We've all visited stores where the music is too loud, the clothes are on the floor, and associates are distracted. This was acceptable in previous days, but there's a new normal now.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2017

    What will the sale of Craftsman mean for Sears and Stanley Black & Decker?

    The proud tradition that was Sears, Roebuck & Co. is now officially over. The one compelling reason to go to a Sears store was the Craftsman promise. Mr. Lampert's mission is now accomplished.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2017

    Will ‘Digital Day’ become a mainstay for Amazon?

    Retail has invented sales for millennia and Digital Day is just another example. I'll get more excited about it, though, when Amazon turns a profit.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2017

    How can retailers make online reviews more useful?

    I'll add another suggestion: publish the date the review was created. That negative review could have been written two years ago and the product or service might have changed materially since then.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2016

    Amazon considers floating warehouses

    Absurd. Apparently, bringing Cokes and snacks to sporting events via trucks is "so 2013."
  • Posted on: 12/29/2016

    Will online grocery gain traction in 2017?

    I'm not sure about the impediments to online grocery shopping, but I do know one selling point: Millennials without cars. Younger customers who take the subway and Uber to get from place to place want to have heavier items like milk and cat litter delivered (and the delivery fee replaces a car insurance payment). Delivery isn't for everyone, but for people who don't drive it's a godsend.
  • Posted on: 12/28/2016

    What does Alexa’s holiday win mean?

    "Alexa continues to get smarter every day." That's the opportunity, but also the potential problem. The presence of a listening device in the home may not seem like an issue to many Americans, but the moment it's hacked, and/or people realize what it's sharing, they may change their minds.
  • Posted on: 12/27/2016

    French retailer parodies Amazon Go

    I have procedural questions. In the hour between selecting items and delivery, are items refrigerated? Frozen? Is there a minimum purchase? There's a lot to like about the concept, but the execution is important, too ...
  • Posted on: 12/22/2016

    Should department stores talk less about Millennials and more about ‘heavy spenders’?

    All this is fine but it misses the point. The whole shopping trajectory is being turned on its head by customers who prefer shopping from smartphones to trolling malls, and who value convenience and transparency above all else. Retailers who think up new ways to engage with these customers will do very well.
  • Posted on: 12/21/2016

    Will fast beauty be the new fast fashion?

    I'm not at all sure about the concept of "fast beauty," but cosmetics have exploded in popularity thanks in part to better formulations, beauty chains like Sephora and Ulta, and the trend has been egged on by YouTube videos that have shown even the most timid how to get the smudged eye look. This will be a growth sector for some time.
  • Posted on: 12/20/2016

    If not creative directors or data, what can make Gap’s fashions sell?

    I don't know the answer to the question, which illuminates a problem vexing Gap for a decade. I'd recommend, though, that Gap issue a moratorium on some clothing items that have been in the store for that same decade -- pastel stripe sweaters, plaid shirts, boxy dresses and more. Gap needs to get out of its comfort zone and put some newer designs in the store ... banning the old ones is a start.

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