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: 02/24/2017

    Has Gap finally turned its business around?

    The changes in the apparel segment are swift and alarming. Those "everything must go" signs on BCBG Max Azria stores, not to mention the demise of The Limited and the rise of TJMaxx and Marshalls, tell the story. Gap is lucky to have the experienced Mr. Peck at the helm for this bumpy ride.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2017

    Is McDonald’s backpedaling on fast casual with a low-price strategy?

    Congratulations to McDonald's for understanding that its core demographic and the demographic for, say, Shake Shack are different. While McDonald's stunning success has fueled the rise of rivals, it's pointless for McDonald's to attempt to copy them. Truffle burgers don't belong at McDonald's, but $1 Cokes do. I'll predict success for these promotions.
  • Posted on: 02/23/2017

    Will a new TJX concept put more hurt on department stores?

    I'm lucky enough to live in an area that has a Marshall's and a TJMaxx. The merchandise is consistently interesting and compelling -- I just bought a $370 Tory Burch top for $20 -- and the store is always hopping, despite competition from Neiman Marcus and Saks nearby. This company knows how to merchandise ... any new concept they introduce will be a hit.
  • Posted on: 02/22/2017

    What tech tools do independent grocers need to compete with e-tailers?

    Independent grocers enjoy a high level of trust with their customers. The key for them going forward is to leverage technology that would allow them to adapt to the new ways that consumers purchase products. Omnichannel POS is an important step (there are several).Grocery, as an industry, has been responsive to changing dietary preferences; I predict that they'll adopt new technologies too.
  • Posted on: 02/21/2017

    Are Boomers being ignored by retailers?

    I'll dissent here. We Boomers have already set up our households and have all the furniture, housewares and clothing we need. We're in replenish mode only. It makes much more sense to appeal to younger consumers who will spend more than we will.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2017

    Lidl is ahead of schedule for U.S. store openings

    Test, test, Test. Tesco took its time coming here, did a lot of homework, and still failed. Lidl will want to absorb learnings from each store to refine that offering for American tastes.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2017

    Is Amazon the most innovative company in retailing?

    Thanks for the shout-out. Any organized effort to address existential issues in the industry won't come from its trade associations....
  • Posted on: 02/15/2017

    Is Amazon the most innovative company in retailing?

    Amazon thinks of itself as a technology company and very few other retailers do. It's time to stop pretending that incremental tweaks will help traditional retailers, and instead mount an all-out offensive to save the industry. That's the task, nothing less.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2017

    Will Neiman Marcus find gold with its women’s plus-size pilot?

    It's about time, but I'm with Ryan -- the name is awful. Would Neiman's roll out a selection for larger men called "Burly Chic?"
  • Posted on: 02/13/2017

    Should L.L.Bean ditch its legendary return policy?

    Wait -- you can return an item 40 years later? That just doesn't make any sense. L.L. Bean can retain a generous return policy without giving customers a blank check to defraud them.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2017

    Will a universal cart change online shopping?

    The concept may be interesting, but the execution will take forever. Retailers are still trying to integrate their OWN online and physical presences. I'd guess that a universal cart, enabling customers to purchase from other retailers, would be pretty far down the C-suite's priority list ...
  • Posted on: 02/10/2017

    Will in-home consults give Amazon the keys to the smart home market?

    Why did Apple fail to take the lead on this? The average person will need assistance to leverage all these new technologies (Dad won't be installing Bluetooth-responsive drapes this weekend) so an in-home consultation is the best way to drive sales and adoption. A big pat on the back to Amazon, and a significant missed opportunity for Apple, which could have leveraged the iPhone as the hub.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2017

    Why in-store merchandising has to change

    One common theme across segments today is that size matters, and giant stores (and malls) aren't convenient. Many retailers are experimenting with smaller-footprint stores to make the process of shopping easier. Grab-and-go is more important than ever ... look for more of it.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2017

    Did President Trump go too far with his Nordstrom tweet?

    Business is business. If the product isn't selling, you remove it from your stores, and no late-night Tweet from the dad of the face of the brand can change that. The man who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue should get back to work.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2017

    How good is ‘close enough’ when it comes to in-store inventory?

    Inaccurate inventory visibility is one of the issues that retailers need to address soon. There are studies showing that out-of-stocks (or perceived out-of-stocks) can be measured at 6 to 7 percent of sales, which is a huge number in a $4 trillion industry. Customers aren't as forgiving as they were before unified commerce. This should be at the top of the list for everyone.

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