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: 11/16/2018

    Can Bernie Sanders force Walmart to raise its minimum wage?

    Bernie Sanders alone can't do anything. That said, for too long, huge corporations have engaged in self-dealing, putting short-term share prices over the well-being of workers. There's a persistent joke now that the unemployment rate is so low because everyone has two jobs. Let's treat associates with more respect.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2018

    Is last minute absenteeism playing havoc with retail store performance?

    Those factors are important. Another is the preference of some retailers to schedule workers on the fly without a predictable schedule. Stressed-out associates have high turnover and lower productivity. When retailers concentrate on the well-being of associates, they're rewarded with happier customers and improved revenue.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2018

    Is 7-Eleven using ICE to get rid of troublesome franchisees?

    Wow. Let's hope that 7-Eleven hasn't decided to ruin the lives of some of its employees by resorting to tactics like this. If true, this story would dampen my enthusiasm for picking up the occasional Slurpee...
  • Posted on: 11/13/2018

    Do grocery stores have a customer engagement problem?

    Some of this will depend on the size of the store. A smaller store with fewer employees can foster strong relationships with customers. A larger store with more SKUs can create excitement around trying new dishes. Regardless of the tactics, customer engagement is a must, and companies that can't find their own niche will find themselves irrelevant.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2018

    Will Walmart’s bring your own device policy work for it and its associates?

    Store associates prefer using their own devices over commercial devices that they perceive to be clunky and unintuitive. That said, customers may think that associates are goofing around on the phone instead of working. It's a small challenge, but should be addressed.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2018

    What are the omnichannel challenges facing e-tailers opening stores?

    If there was one message coming out of the Store Operations Council meeting this September, it was that operational details matter, and online retailers won't be aware of them unless they hire seasoned store operators. Seemingly minor questions like how to package picked merchandise and where to put it before delivery or pickup may sound simple, but aren't. It will be exciting to watch them tackle the learning curve.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2018

    Why aren’t women buying Amazon’s private label clothing?

    I agree with all my colleagues, and I would add that the unpredictability of sizing in women's apparel hinders new labels. What exactly is a "medium?" Until women have experience with Amazon's private label brands, and until they can find consistency in sizing, they'll favor more familiar brands.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2018

    Did Amazon just crush Target and Walmart’s free holiday shipping moves?

    Every other word in Target's new ads is "free" and that has to have an impact. The question here is what wins -- free shipping, or free-after-spending-over-$100-for-Prime shipping?
  • Posted on: 10/25/2018

    Can an Instagram-born luggage brand have staying power?

    This is a genius idea that complements Millennials' desire to travel and to share photos of their trips. Away products are expensive, but that's probably part of the mystique. Luggage as lifestyle -- who would have seen it coming?
  • Posted on: 10/22/2018

    Stores rarely ID customers before they check out

    The problem here is that most retailers are unable to provide a personalized experience, giving customers limited reasons to self-identify. Even CVS, which incents customers to plug in a phone number as they enter the store, still offers coupons for irrelevant products. We have a long way to go.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2018

    Why is Burger King offering nightmares to go with its new sandwich?

    They just might be able to pry some teenage boys away from their Taco Bell Triple Double CrunchWrap...!
  • Posted on: 10/16/2018

    Does anyone pay the full retail price anymore?

    Where I live, TJMaxx is across the street from Neiman Marcus. Guess which one gets the traffic?
  • Posted on: 10/15/2018

    Will anything change for Sears after Chapter 11?

    Knowing that he's profiting from Sears' spiral is so very depressing...
  • Posted on: 10/15/2018

    Will J.C. Penney’s new private brand connect with Instagram-savvy moms?

    You're right. Adopting an Instagram theme is a great move, but it will take a lot more than this to lure a significant number of Millennials to the store. Paring back the number of SKUs would be a start...
  • Posted on: 10/12/2018

    Cannabis-infused drink and food makers are high on grocery opportunities

    WHEN this gets going (not "if"), this niche will be robust. Interest is strong, there's a huge amount of investment underway, and customers are bound to be curious. We all will try it, right?

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