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: 09/26/2016

    Will Walmart’s ‘restorative justice’ reduce shoplifting?

    The dirty little secret about retail loss prevention is that the police don't want to respond to a call about someone dropping a package of steak into their pants. To the degree that Walmart can address the problem directly they win, and so do honest customers.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2016

    Will on-demand beauty services connect with Macy’s customers?

    The Pinterest generation is going to love this, and this is the kind of differentiation that mall retailers are going to need if they're going to maintain traffic.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2016

    What’s behind Zara’s crazy sales gains?

    Style.Our more casual workplace seems to have stumped some of our traditional outfitters. Zara has stepped outside the lines to create fashion that's a little more flashy (see the metallic pleated skirt), a little different (flowing striped crops) and a little younger (slouchy sweaters in interesting colors). Today's office worker wants something in her closet that doesn't look like everything else. She can find it at a reasonable price at Zara.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2016

    Coming soon – a members-only store for the ultra rich

    How will members prove their net worth? Tax returns? Clearly, Donald Trump won't be eligible.The GPMC will probably be wildly successful (look at the Starbucks Black Card) but should leave a bad taste in the mouths of those of us whose incomes don't exceed the GDP of small countries. Expect some backlash.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2016

    Is a trendless fashion industry killing Gap’s business?

    Even the most casual observer of fashion knows that there are always fashion trends -- a glance at the September Vogue will show hundreds of pages of them. One of Gap's issues is its insistence on selling the same items season after season. If you need striped tees or jeans, Gap is your destination ... but if you're seeking current fashion trends, you'll head almost anywhere else.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2016

    Unilever makes ‘purpose-driven’ deal for Seventh Generation

    One question here is whether the acquisition of Seventh Generation makes customers feel more positive about Unilever, and I've got to think the answer is no. Will the average customer be aware of the change?
  • Posted on: 09/19/2016

    Is digital defining the shopping experience?

    Herb makes some important points.The point isn't that people are glued to phones while shopping (they aren't). The point is that customers are accustomed to having access to instant information from digital devices. If your in-store technologies or associates can't provide instant information, customers could go elsewhere. Retailers should shop their stores through the eyes of the always-on information crowd and see where the gaps are.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2016

    When will AR and VR become “realities” at retail?

    AR and VR definitely have a place in retail, many years from now. The store operators who are coming to my Store Operations meeting next month say that they are most interested in the intersection of store and online, and until they get that right, everything else is going to wait.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2016

    Target holiday hiring points to changing HR priorities

    As retail tasks become more complex, retailers will be challenged to hire more sophisticated workers who'll cost more per hour. I think we'll see new employment constructs that go beyond traditional full-time or part-time employment, to attract better-educated people who don't fall into the usual buckets.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2016

    Will dedicated teams lift Target’s grocery business?

    I'll be the contrarian here. Target should get out of the grocery business, STAT. Target made its reputation on fresh, innovative merchandise that couldn't be found anywhere else ... Oreos and apples don't fit that bill and are commodity items that won't lead the company forward.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2016

    What does it take to earn Millennials’ loyalty?

    I'm with Max on this. Many "loyalty" programs have inscrutable benefits -- that grocery program is there only to save you from spending $9 for a box of cereal. There's a good chance that this more demanding generation will insist on transparency and meaningful interaction with the brand. Imagine the benefits to the retailers who think more creatively.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2016

    Will Lands’ End hit pay dirt on Amazon?

    The way to a complete Amazon victory is for every retailer to capitulate and surrender their sales channel to Amazon's. Here's another, and unfortunate, example. Who's next?
  • Posted on: 09/02/2016

    Can edible packaging help solve retail’s eco problem?

    Cheese wrapper sandwich? Bologna wrapper mousse? Cereal bag stew? I don't think these will be shown on the Food Network any time soon.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2016

    Schnucks bans solicitors from outside its stores

    Do Schnucks' executives actually think that their customers are threatened by the tinkling bell of Salvation Army volunteers, or Girl Scouts selling cookies or university students collecting diapers for destitute teen mothers? So much for the concept of grocery store as town square.
  • Posted on: 08/31/2016

    Abercrombie is abandoning teenagers

    Oh boy. Talk about an uphill struggle. Rebranding Abercrombie & Fitch would be a huge undertaking, fueled by abundant advertising and serious social media outreach. Pulling working 20-somethings away from H&M and Zara won't be easy ... I don't envy the people in charge of the campaign.

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