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: 03/19/2019

    Anthropologie hopes to earn an A+ with new plus-size clothing options

    I continue to be amazed by retail's casual approach to sizes. If 68 percent of American women wear size 14 or above, why on earth don't they have ready access to whatever kind of clothing they prefer? Let's hope that some apparel company gets the formula correct, makes a ton of profit, and everyone else comes after them.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2019

    Will Walmart’s new tablet burn into Amazon Fire’s market share?

    Charles has the right point -- it's all about experimentation. You have to wonder, though, how Walmart will balance the upside against the low margins in hardware, the constant imperative to innovate, and the drag of product support. It may be disruptive, but lucrative? I doubt it.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2019

    Will an IPO help Levi’s conquer the world?

    It's tempting to consider a massive cash infusion, but the rigid requirements of The Street will hamstring Levi's' creativity. This company is investing in some cutting-edge technologies that could push the business forward, but will investors demand a slow-down?
  • Posted on: 03/12/2019

    What does innovation mean to retailers and brands?

    Innovation has to be an every day imperative. Look no further than Payless ShoeSource to see what happens when innovation takes a back seat. It has to be a part of the job description for every title, at every level. This is the new retail reality.
  • Posted on: 03/11/2019

    Will Costco’s new $15 minimum wage hurt or benefit the chain?

    Treating store associates with respect and paying them a living wage is important both for Costco and for other retailers. Happy, loyal employees minimize hiring costs and enhance productivity. Let's hope that many others follow suit.
  • Posted on: 03/11/2019

    Will other cities follow Philly in banning cashless stores?

    Whether retailers like it or not, every paper bill says "this note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." We can't, as a society, decide to exclude certain portions of the population from everyday commerce; we run the risk of exacerbating an already-stark divide between the haves and the have nots.
  • Posted on: 03/07/2019

    Do retailers need to reevaluate their omnichannel strategies and tactics?

    Great column, Ron. In 2019 the customer not only expects an omnichannel offering, but a seamless one. It's table stakes. Retail winners have been piloting for years to amass learnings and determine what works best for them. Any retail company that is on the fence about this has already lost.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2019

    Retailers take on massive legacy system challenges one module at a time

    In order to compete going forward, retailers need agile and adaptive technologies, which means leaving behind the technologies that took years to deploy. CIOs are ready to make the change; retail boards of directors should give them that ability.
  • Posted on: 02/28/2019

    Brands see voice ordering as more opportunity than threat

    In its current form, voice ordering poses a threat to both brands and retailers. Voice platforms enjoy complete autonomy with no checks or balances. Consumers have no guarantee that the product they specify, from the retailer they request, will be honored. Do we really want to put the future of commerce in trust to Amazon and Google?
  • Posted on: 02/27/2019

    Will security concerns handicap IoT devices?

    Talk about the Wild, Wild West! Every day, customers are deploying devices that then report back to the manufacturer and third parties, often without the customers' knowledge. Organizations like EPIC that look out for consumers should engage with retailers to help them understand the risks and be transparent with customers.
  • Posted on: 02/26/2019

    Will a curated marketplace strategy be an online game changer for Target?

    Curated cheap chic is one of the reasons Target has been so successful. When customers can find a gorgeous hallway mirror for $39, they'll come back again and again. Smart merchandising and careful selection can only enhance Target's reputation, and attract new customers.
  • Posted on: 02/25/2019

    Tide to roll out laundry cleaning service nationwide

    P&G has been testing this for several years, with success. This could be a huge hit with "I need it yesterday" Millennials, and an entrance into other services, like dry cleaning. Brands are thinking out of the box ...retailers should, too.
  • Posted on: 02/22/2019

    Will the ‘c’ in c-stores soon stand for cannabis?

    The quick answer is that nearly everyone will want to sell cannabis, but c-stores are perfectly positioned, for multiple reasons -- convenience, safety, and experience selling age-restricted products. It should be interesting to see how they position munchies-related products like Twinkies and chili dogs, too.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2019

    Samsung brings its own ‘Experience’ to first U.S. stores

    The real opportunity here is the IoT focus. There will be millions of households that want LED lighting and connected appliances, but will need assistance in choosing and deploying them. Smart move.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2019

    Will Amazon’s decision to bail cause a New York backlash?

    There's clearly more to the story than we know; it's amazing that Amazon took its ball and went home so quickly. Now we can have a discussion about giant companies that pay no federal income tax, and there are plenty of them. Why should America's plumbers, dental hygienists and waiters subsidize these companies?

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