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: 11/21/2017

    Do retailers need a new approach to store brand marketing?

    The rise of grocers who carry store brands only -- think Aldi and Trader Joe's -- proves how powerful exclusives can be. Shoppers love good quality at a bargain price. Grocers and drug chains should take every opportunity to tout their own products for the values that they are.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2017

    Who will be left standing after the next retail shakeout?

    These three positions are useful, but there are others. Look at Amazon, Whole Foods, luxury eyewear stores and salons, which offer comfort and quality. There will be a lot of ways to win in retail, as long as the customer experience comes first.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2017

    Lowe’s and Macy’s join rivals chasing smart home opportunity

    There's going to be a huge market for smart home devices -- turning on the coffee pot when the alarm goes off in the morning -- but the average customer is going to need some assistance getting started. The retail companies that establish a beachhead here could be rewarded in the long run.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2017

    Omnichannel is just a term to describe everyday shopping

    Amazon and others are technology companies that just happen to sell merchandise efficiently by learning a lot about customers and their preferences. Until Main Street retail realizes it has to do this too, we'll keep seeing disproportionate competition.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2017

    Has Google solved the problem of long lines at grocery checkouts?

    What John said.Why are there always 10 checkout lanes and two cashiers?
  • Posted on: 11/07/2017

    Should Papa John’s drop its NFL sponsorship?

    Now that the alt-right has Papa John's to be its pizza of choice, I'm free to move my business elsewhere. Let's hope the NFL understands that its viewers don't all speak with one voice.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2017

    Why is it so hard to get retail associates to upsell?

    At a recent Store Operations Council meeting, we talked about the prevalence of part-time workers in retail. Several people present said that they don't hire ANY full-time workers. It's tough to incent behavior from someone who has to travel an hour to a job where they're working only four hours a day.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2017

    Can Kroger make a name for itself in fashion?

    Call me stuffy, but some brands don't work with unrelated concepts. Clorox shouldn't roll out a beauty line. Saks shouldn't offer automotive equipment. Out-of-the-box thinking is important these days, but some ideas don't deserve to be implemented.
  • Posted on: 11/03/2017

    Was Amazon scamming or searching for its HQ2 location?

    Paula's right. The amount of publicity this company generates for itself is breathtaking. We need to start playing along.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2017

    Walmart plans to party hardy throughout the holidays

    Party on, Walmart! The competition will pull out all the stops to ensure a compelling customer experience, and it looks as if Walmart will try to up the ante. Christmas shopping hasn't been a lot of fun but, going forward, it might be!
  • Posted on: 10/31/2017

    Is inventory or staffing the biggest omnichannel challenge for stores?

    Dave Bruno's right. Many stores were understaffed before shipping and fulfillment entered their sphere. The answer to the question of inventory vs. staffing is that both are in play and are critically important to a satisfactory store experience ... and there is much work to do.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2017

    American Eagle invites college kids to do their laundry

    Retailers at the Store Operations Council meeting indicated that they're trying anything and everything to attract customers, and "experiences" in the store are high on their list. Stores will never have the best prices or best inventory availability, so they have to provide something else. Given Amazon's penetration in the marketplace, it's time to embrace new ideas of all kinds.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2017

    Amazon to begin making in-home deliveries in 37 cities

    There are certain things you should just say no to: gas station sushi, eating the worm at the bottom of the mezcal bottle and letting a huge multinational technology company with no accountability have access to your home.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2017

    Will in-store clienteling aid Neiman Marcus’ digital push?

    Don't expect to see this program widely replicated. Success here requires extensive analysis of data, integration of disparate data pools and a highly motivated workforce. If customers respond favorably, it could be a game-changer for Neiman Marcus.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2017

    Consumers don’t trust what CEOs are saying

    I'll agree completely. And what's really galling to the average person is that the overt lies they're being told don't elicit any punishment. This is a huge problem for a democracy, and exceedingly damaging to consumer trust.

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