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: 07/13/2020

    Will Boomers and Gen X keep shopping online post-pandemic?

    First, there's no evidence supporting an end to this pandemic any time soon. Older customers, who are most at risk, don't seem to be in any hurry to return to stores. It's going to be important that retailers continue to innovate and become more agile to meet customers' needs.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2020

    Starbucks becomes latest retailer to make masks mandatory

    Safety first, period. It is Starbucks' responsibility to protect its baristas. Don't like it? Move on.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2020

    Retailers need way more fulfillment space to keep up with booming online sales

    I live a block away from a major shopping corridor and at least 40 percent of our stores are shuttered. There should be plenty of space for micro-fulfillment centers...
  • Posted on: 07/09/2020

    Will doctors prove a cure-all for Walgreens competitive ills?

    Not only is this a win for Walgreens, it's also a win for the communities these stores serve. particularly in areas with few doctors. Two big thumbs up.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2020

    How blemished are beauty retailers by COVID-19?

    The real problem for beauty sellers is that there is no end in sight for COVID-19. Our too-little, too-late response means that we could be having this same discussion a year from now -- with the only difference being that some of the players might have gone under.
  • Posted on: 07/08/2020

    What white people need to know

    Remember when all the decision-makers in retail were male? Bad idea. A diverse consumer base requires diverse leadership. Very simple.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2020

    Has the pandemic changed shopping behaviors forever?

    America's unique inability to contain COVID-19 means that shopping will be disrupted for quite some time. Retailers who can make customers feel safe, and who can provide numerous options for pickup, will do best in this very strange environment.
  • Posted on: 07/01/2020

    Anti-mask shoppers find themselves publicly shamed

    Retailers aren't doing the shaming -- mask-wearing customers are, and I'm all for it. No mask, no service.
  • Posted on: 06/30/2020

    Lululemon moves into in-home fitness with $500M deal for Mirror

    Stay-at-home fitness during a pandemic? Check. Smart brand extension? Check. Sticky? Check. If Mirror can offer continually updated fitness routines (content is important) this will be a winner.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2020

    Can Kanye West make Gap cool again?

    One of Gap's key challenges has been tired designs. Perhaps Mr. West can bring new life to the brand.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2020

    Will a smaller Macy’s be a better Macy’s?

    Macy's is doing a lot of things right, but there are societal factors that make apparel a low priority, including the pandemic and the resulting lack of child care. Good moves, but department stores and apparel face an uphill battle.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2020

    Retailers and brands make a quick pivot in the pandemic

    Communication is everything. Nordstrom telegraphs its concern for customers and associates by providing masks and hand sanitizer at the door. New signage tells customers the store is open and provides tips on how to socially distance. Tell customers you understand the situation, and they'll reward you with their business.
  • Posted on: 06/24/2020

    Getting your associates ready to reopen stores

    I'll add another: empower associates. Nothing about this time is normal, and situations are going to throw curveballs every day. Empower associates to step up and make decisions when needed, and over-communicate. Ideally, managers will be able to capture those associate innovations and relay them back to district managers.
  • Posted on: 06/22/2020

    Should retailers boycott Facebook?

    Faecbook's troubling decision to put profits over truth have put advertisers in a tough position. No one wants to present their product or service on a platform that shares lies and hatred. Facebook's hands-off policy worked in a more benign time, but in the era of deep fakes and purposeful untruths that policy needs to change.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2020

    Target wants to be known as the best place to work in retail

    Let's all agree that the skill sets needed for success are changing, and require a higher level of sophistication than was previously needed. Target's move elevates associates, encourages longer tenure, and helps deliver better service. Congratulations to Mr. Cornell for leading the way.

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