PROFILE

Steve Montgomery

President, b2b Solutions, LLC

Steve is president of b2b Solutions, a consultancy that specializes in working with retailers and suppliers in the convenience retail/petroleum marketing industry. He has over 30 years of experience in top management positions in both entrepreneurial and large corporate business environments within the convenience retail/petroleum marketing industry.

After beginning his career as one of its franchisees, Steve served as President and Member of the Board of Directors for Dairy Mart Corporation. He then held the positions of General Manager for C-Stores and Manager of Convenience Retail Strategies and Programs for Amoco Oil Company.

He led Amoco’s efforts to develop and roll out their state of the art Split Second concept and to consolidate their various direct retail operations into a single entity. While at Amoco, he was also a member of its Retail Systems Steering and Facility Design Coordination Committees.

Steve has been actively involved with the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) since 1976. He is the only person to have been elected to its Retailer Board and Supplier Board of Directors.

He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural and Food Economics from the University of Massachusetts, and a MBA in Marketing from W. New England University. He currently serves as member of its International Business Advisory Board.

Steve is a frequent contributor to articles on the convenience retail/petroleum marketing industry and is a frequent speaker at industry functions. He has worked with NACS as a Program Director and Program Moderator on topics ranging Foodservice to the Non-Traditional Competitors.

b2b Solutions retail clients have ranged from single store operators to large multinational firms. These include such companies as Chevron USA Products Company, Crescent Oil Company, Exxon Company, USA, LG-Caltex, Lekkerland (Switzerland) Ltd., Mobil Oil Corporation, Murphy Oil USA, NACS, Pride Convenience, Inc., and Shell Canada Products Limited. Supplier clients include Coca-Cola USA, Food Concepts, Inc., Harmonic Systems, Inc., Kraft Foods, MGC Communication, Inc., and Westec Interactive.

Other Links from Steve Montgomery:

b2b Solutions, LLC Web Site

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  • Posted on: 02/21/2017

    Will acquisition of a mom and pop shop pay off big for Kroger?

    National chains have learned from experience that when they acquire a niche chain the best thing they can do is nothing. Supporting the acquisition by adding their expertise to back-of-the-house functions can bring benefits. Changing what made it a success is definitely the wrong thing to do.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2017

    What will Walmart gain from its Moosejaw acquisition?

    When the buyer states there will be integration on the back-end and doesn’t mention any other changes, they are trying to calm the fears that the employees and the customer base have about the changes that are coming.Once the acquirer completes the back-end changes it is very hard for them to resist making just a few small changes here and there on the front-end. They say, gee, those worked, let’s just make one or two more.The end result will be a Walmartized company. For the e-commerce side of Moosejaw’s business that might not matter too much but it will centrally impact their stores.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2017

    Will having the same buyers for online and stores work for Walmart?

    The process of combining the two buying groups should not be overly difficult. The basic job function is the same and the buyers have all been trained in the Walmart way.Walmart’s vendors will like the simplification of the sales process, but not the reduction in costs they will be expected to provide. Once any potential kinks have been worked out I would expect Walmart to seek a reduction in the number of buyers it employs.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2017

    Will in-home consults give Amazon the keys to the smart home market?

    I agree with Adrian and Tom on this. The installation of all these devices can destroy any semblance of privacy you have left in your home. As a long time science fiction fan I remember reading George Orwell’s 1984. At least in the book the people did not openly invite the omnipresent government surveillance.The press is constantly publishing stories about the hacks that are occurring to sophisticated systems. These internet-connected home devices are not hardened and offer a little resistance to anyone who wants to take control. We all know a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2017

    Will a universal cart change online shopping?

    I'm not one of the 2,000 users so have no direct experience the Shop.co, but I can certainly relate to the issues it is trying to solve. I detest websites that require that I create an account to purchase an item. Beside the hassle of completing the forms it means another website will be sending me emails I didn't ask for and don’t want. Yes you can unsubscribe but who knows who they shared your data with or sold it to?I agree with Cathy that getting this concept deployed in the real world will likely be a long process. As she noted, retailers have other issues they need to address and will likely want to capture the purchaser’s data themselves. However I, for one, wish Shop.co success.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2017

    Why in-store merchandising has to change

    There are a number of tools that retailers can use that reveal shopper patterns within their stores such as those from VideoMining. This, with market basket and department and/or SKU correlation analysis, can provide a good start in ensuring retailers properly lay out their stores.The object used to be keeping the shopper in the the store as long as possible. Today the focus should be on customer convenience.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2017

    How good is ‘close enough’ when it comes to in-store inventory?

    Under-promise and over-deliver has always been a good rule to follow at retail. Current practices are often just the opposite.Before a retailer promises that it has an item in store it should first have made the necessary investment in systems to ensure that its book inventory equals the real inventory. Even with sophisticated systems it is impossible to update store-level inventory in real-time. If the last item the person online is looking at has been selected by a customer in the store but not yet rung up, then inventory shows that it is in-stock (technically it is) but in the real world it's on its way to be checked out.Smart retailers would build a margin of safety into their inventory system. However, the economics of carry inventory are forcing retailer to keep the physical stock to near record lows. Perhaps the best that they can do is offer a guarantee that if it not immediately available at that location they will source it and ship it to the customer free.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2017

    What will lower Valentine’s Day sales mean for retail?

    When I first started in retail the owner of the company I was at told me something I never forgot regarding discounting. He said the first cut is the kindest. A very similar statement to what Ralph stated. I agree that if a retailer foresees soft sales for Valentine’s Day the time to discount is now. By moving early, they stand a better chance to capture the sale.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2017

    Walmart balances motivation across pay levels

    Wage compression is an unfortunate byproduct of increasing entry level wages. Certain roles are worth X amount of money to any company. It often seems unfair to employees in those roles that the new kids on the block are getting compensation that took them a long time to earn.Walmart is working to address this by offering a mix -- non-financial benefits and a one-time lump sum payment. With all the pressure on Walmart and other retailers, restaurants, etc. to raise starting wages this is an issue that will not be going away anytime soon.
  • Posted on: 01/27/2017

    Will drop shipping online orders deliver results for retailers?

    Drop shipping allows the supplier to have direct contact with the consumer and vice versa. Suppliers who do not currently have an e-commerce presence may soon learn that having one a good idea. This would be especially true after they build a customer list. Bottom-line, I agree with Ori. In this scenario, why is the retailer needed?
  • Posted on: 01/19/2017

    Will Walmart’s Scan & Go catch on this time around?

    Walmart Scan & Go allows the customer to avoid the dreaded checkout process by shifting the work to the customer. This includes scanning the merchandise and bagging it. It would seem to be an idea whose time has come.There are issues however. The first is the ease of deleting the item if after wandering down the aisle the customer decides they don’t want an item. The second is, if they are planning to buy a lot of merchandise, who do they want to handle the checkout process? Themselves or someone else?The final issue would be those who want to scam the process. It may be hard to hide an item the customer “forgot” to scan if they buy only a few items but if they are buying a lot and have them bagged then hiding a few items just got a whole lot easier.The door checker process is also easy if there are a few items. However if for some reason they question the customer receipt of their bagged goods, the customers behind them are in the same type of long line they were seeking to avoid.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2017

    Can AI resolve customer service disputes?

    The role of a customer service representative is to solve the caller’s problems to the extent that is possible. In my experience most are reasonably good at doing so. Could they use better training? Sure.However, as the Nexogy survey stated most of the complaints do not have to with the problem-solving capability of the representative but with issues in reaching one or the right one in a timely manner and with whom you can effectively communicate.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2017

    Penney CEO says stores critical to omnichannel push

    To fully evaluate Mr. Ellison’s strategy we would have to know more about the numbers he quoted. Both the 40 percent purchase rate for BOPIS and the twice-as-large purchases for returners sound great, but what are the actual sales and gross profit numbers? Hopefully he will not slow-walk closing the location until J.C. Penney reaches the point of no return.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2017

    How will Walgreens benefit from its FedEx drop-off/pickup deal?

    Walgreens had found a good use for the space currently occupied by its photo shop. Too small for its reentry into the beer and alcohol market but certainly big enough to handle FedEx pick up and drop off.This service may entice some of its competitors’ customers to visit their local Walgreens and with that comes the chance to convert them into a Walgreens customer. Great timing with the continued growth of “home” delivery and the customer desire for a safe place for their items to be dropped off.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2017

    What will more job cuts mean for Walmart?

    One thing I have learned in my years of retailing is that you can’t save your way to prosperity. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be seeking ways to be more efficient. With efficiency gains comes the opportunity to assess assets including human capital. Unfortunately, in some cases this means allowing people to become successful elsewhere.

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