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: 09/21/2018

    Nike expects sales to take off with launch on

    There has been discussion about brand dilution when selling on the marketplace or on Amazon, but Nike's decision to join apparently renders it moot. When a brand as distinctive and recognizable as Nike agrees to make itself available through this platform, other companies will follow suit.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2018

    Amazon tries to deflect political attacks

    I'll posit that most of politicians' attacks on Amazon are politically motivated. That said, it's indefensible for giant companies to pay a wage so low that the government has to feed those workers. In 1974, I was working for a government agency and making roughly what the minimum wage is today, 44 years later. We have to fix this.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2018

    Are Aldi’s customers who you think they are?

    Despite the quality merchandise and low prices, shopping at Aldi can be a challenge. Customers who want to stock up have to buy by the case, or bring their own containers. The closest store may be 10 miles away. Home delivery would not only make shopping easier, but might encourage customers to purchase much more. As I said yesterday, I don't think home delivery is table stakes for every grocer -- but it might be a boon for this one.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2018

    Will competition force all grocers to offer free store pickup?

    Neil Saunders is right. There are inescapable costs to having store associates pick, pack, refrigerate and freeze grocery items for pickup. Those costs will either be recouped through fees, or by raising prices for everyone. Customer pickup is not table stakes in 2018, yet.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2018

    What will a ‘new standard for green retail’ mean for Starbucks’ results?

    Starbucks has been a champion of sustainability, including offering used coffee grounds to composters. Customers will applaud this effort and will challenge other outlets to try to do the same. And if "cost effective" evolves into actually saving money, others will certainly follow.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2018

    Gap CEO says retailers not turning in-store data into action

    I've been asking this question at dinner discussions for many years, and have never heard a retailer answer "yes, we do a great job at using data from stores." One reason is that nearly all communication is one-sided, from corporate to customer. We need to develop better protocols to capture what's happening in the store, and monetize it.
  • Posted on: 09/11/2018

    7-Eleven gives football fandom an AR boost

    7-Eleven now has serious competition from Wawa and others, and anything they can do to increase stickiness and boost the customer experience can move the needle. My friends at 7-Eleven are excited about AR's possibilities.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2018

    It’s no more ‘burn, baby, burn’ for Burberry

    "Stefano Ricci also earns a tax credit for destroying stock." That's part of the problem, but widespread consumer backlash against the kind of wasteful practices we've seen in the industry can act as a counterbalance. Retailers and design houses know that customers are watching.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2018

    J.Crew makes the jump to Amazon’s marketplace

    Nikki is exactly right. And now is the time to reinforce that brand through extraordinary execution in the store.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2018

    Will a bot soon be taking your order at the drive-thru?

    I'll be the voice of dissent here. We're on the verge of having to have a national discussion about what happens when technology takes over the jobs of fast-food workers, long-haul truckers, and others. What will society do for the people displaced by this?
  • Posted on: 09/05/2018

    Will a new beauty concept help CVS pull shoppers from Sephora and Ulta?

    CVS is doing a lot of things right, and beauty is a growing category for men and women. CVS isn't taking on Sephora's personal touch or Ulta's services; instead, they are acknowledging their competition and stepping up their game. We would expect no less.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2018

    Is Amazon a major threat to Trader Joe’s?

    Customers go to Trader Joe's for unique items, a quirky vibe, and speedy checkout. I was in a Trader Joe's earlier this week and there were loads of people in the store. If I were running Trader Joe's I wouldn't be worried about Amazon, at least not now.
  • Posted on: 08/28/2018

    Publix pioneers an easier way to see the doctor

    Every parent has faced the situation of a kid feeling unwell on Friday evening, and unable to reach a doctor until Monday. This new service from Publix should work well in certain situations, if the liability issues can be resolved.
  • Posted on: 08/27/2018

    REI finds an audience for used gear

    REI is joining Play It Again Sports and other outlets successfully selling gently-used merchandise. Because it works for others, it should work for REI, which enjoys a strong brand identity and consumer trust. Congrats on the new business model!
  • Posted on: 08/24/2018

    Will Kroger’s ban mean the end of plastic bags in grocery stores?

    Thank you, Kroger. We in DC have seen a noticeable downturn in river pollution after the city council mandated a 5 cent charge per plastic bag. Customers will applaud Kroger's leadership and the community will be better for it.

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