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Cathy Hotka

Principal
Cathy Hotka & Associates

I'm actually surprised that 11 percent of retailers say they can handle cross-channel fulfillment.

Omni-channel is the burning platform facing nearly every retail company, particularly those who carry commodity merchandise. Whatever you call it, frictionless commerce across channels is a must, and the most compelling threat to some retailers' existence....

The reptile portion of our brain is hard-wired to LOVE free shipping. Target has weighed the extra costs against the perceived upside of spur-of-the-moment purchases. They've gotten a ton of free publicity as a result, and it's refreshing to see that once again Target is the big story of...

It may not have been a great idea for TRU to make these dolls available, but some other company should carry them, and fast. They'll sell like crazy. They'd be the ultimate office gift.

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The ultimate customized sandwich comes from Subway, which has a remarkably efficient way to move customers through relatively quickly, but it requires a fair amount of "real estate" in the store. Can the back of a McDonald's manage this?

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When it comes to loyalty programs at supermarkets, most of them are nothing more than "discounts" on artificially high prices. Adding more interesting benefits could be a winner. And Millennials are all about authenticity....

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Frictionless commerce.

This makes complete sense for Starbucks, which enjoys an affluent customer base and has a limited number of SKUs, and the requirement of personal interaction to deliver the beverage. It will be interesting to see what happens when this same customer expects an equivalent experience at a department...

My mother says that heading to the meat case in the supermarket is like going to the Smithsonian—you can look all you want, but you can't take it home.

Drought-related price increases and wage stagnation are a bad combination for customers, and for grocery chains. We're also living with the...

This is easily the strangest retail story of the past few days.

I'm sure there are people who'll appreciate this benefit. But for those of us who are older, who experienced real gender discrimination, there's a whiff of "don't get pregnant now if you want to keep your job" to...

The dirty little secret of outlet stores is that they're profitable. In my neighborhood, there's a Cartier, a Tiffany, a Saks—and a T.J. Maxx and a Nordstrom Rack. The economic downturn that battered the industry in 2007 also made discounting acceptable, even chic. I'll predict that customer behavior will...

This is one of those questions that confounds me.

Customers walked away from J.C. Penney AFTER stores were renovated and prices were reduced, when merchandise looked truly special and clutter was banished. Apparently they preferred the old days of tired-looking merchandise, calculating price reductions and holding paper coupons.

So what can...

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