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.

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b2b Solutions, LLC Web Site

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  • Posted on: 07/25/2017

    How should retailers reinvent the center store?

    There is a difference between shopping and buying. The changes proposed in the article lend themselves to buyers where heretofore the supermarket industry has concentrated on shoppers.There is one principal difference between the two. Buyers know what they want before entering the store and want to get to it and get out as fast as they can. Shoppers may know some of the items they need, but also find as they traverse the store that they find other items that they may want.I realize this is an over-simplification but I believe the concept is valid. I also think more people are shifting to the buyer side of the aisle (sorry about that). The industry will have to adapt or run the risk of continuing losing volume to smaller formats and the internet.
  • Posted on: 07/24/2017

    Do consumers want to be recognized across channels?

    The clerks at retail locations always seem amazed when they if they can have my cell phone number and or/email address and I say no. I don’t want them to invade my life. When I want you I know where to find you. I am sure I am not alone in this approach.I will admit there are some sites that I frequent to make purchases, but I use a third-party password app rather than having my information on their site.The best way for retailers to have a customer want to have a relationship with them is to have the relationship the customer wants.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2017

    Will facial recognition tech make for happier customers at Walmart?

    The short answer to the article’s headline is no, it will not make for happier customers if they realize that the facial images have been captured and held in a database.It is one thing to catch a shoplifter and offer them the opportunity to be scanned or prosecuted. That person had a choice. It is another to capture everyone’s image and link that to their purchases. What does Walmart then do? Alert the clerk who then asks the customer at checkout, why aren't you buying X or Y from us anymore?I agree with Mark that without an explicit opt in this type of data should not be captured. Even if someone were to agree to it, my concern would be that many negative things could occur. One thing that often happens is the company changes the terms of agreement (which unfortunately no one ever reads).
  • Posted on: 07/19/2017

    Is Donald Trump the reason Latinos are spending less at retail?

    Something not addressed that is very applicable to the U.S. retail stores along the Mexican border is the declining value of peso. In 2013 the peso was worth about $.075 and has been declining ever since. Today a peso is worth $.056/$.057. This is about a 25 percent decline. This represents a very small increase over its low point early in 2017.
  • Posted on: 07/17/2017

    Can toys raise J.C. Penney’s game?

    Define success. If success means toys resulting in a complete turnaround of J.C. Penney then the answer is no. If success means J.C. Penney might be able to generate more sales and profits with the space devoted to toys than what it is currently generating -- the answer is possibly.They should remember there is a big difference between selling toys during toy season (Christmas) and the remainder of the year. That being said, having toys throughout the year may better position them as a source for toys during the next holiday season.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2017

    Why do so many people love shopping at Ace Hardware?

    I cannot speak for Ace as a chain, but the local Highland Park Ace store has been my go-to for many years. Although smaller than the local Home Depot or Lowe's, it still carries an amazing variety of merchandise. The customer service is outstanding, whether it is a simple question of where I can find X or what I need to fix Y and how to do it.I do believe local ownership is a large factor in Ace’s ability to compete with the larger home supply/hardware locations. They seem to really care about their customers.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2017

    Should Walmart restrict carriers from working with Amazon?

    Walmart seeks preferential treatment from everyone. That should not be a surprise. The question is the nature of what that entails.IMHO there is a big difference between saying we don’t want data that relates to our business on AWS and we don’t want you hauling for us if you also haul for them. One is justifiable and the other is not.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2017

    Are scheduling mandates good or bad for store associates?

    I agree with you on all points. Some retailers' scheduling practices take advantage of the employees. On the other hand, retailers have found the forecasting is, at best, an inexact science. I'm not sure of what the answer is but I know it is not more regulation.
  • Posted on: 06/30/2017

    Does Blue Apron’s ‘meh’ IPO spell trouble for meal kit services?

    Trial leads to adoption -- sometimes. Blue Apron's investment in marketing is designed to induce trial. As Phil pointed out the real measure of success is repeat business.My expectation is that people will try it but will quickly find that the concept is far better than the reality and their use of Blue Apron and other meal kit suppliers will fade. It is likely that there will be a core group of users but not one large enough to sustain the number of meal kit suppliers in the market.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2017

    Has CVS gone too far with its health kick?

    CVS has taken a strong position to be seen as the place for health. However other than cigarettes, Walgreens sells the same items. CVS was the first drug store that placed a large emphasis on c-store type items because they drove traffic and margins. The movement of the same items to less convenient locations within the store doesn’t change the mix of items the store carries but it may change the mix of items it sells.Walgreens was late in adopting that positioning but has continued to hone it to drive traffic and sales as the prescription business continues to move to home delivery options. If this trend continues it will impact CVS sales and their bottom line.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2017

    Will Target’s answer to Prime Pantry help it outdo Amazon?

    Target Restock will not win back many customers from Amazon Prime but it may keep others from joining or using their Prime membership to purchase items that they can get from Target. This move is what happens when something that was once a "needed to win" becomes a "needed to play." Even if it is not successful you can anticipate that other retailers will try a similar approach to hold onto their customer base.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2017

    What happens when you put a c-store on wheels?

    Interesting concept but I expect it to be a long time, if ever, before a self-driving c-store becomes a reality. Technical issues aside, the video carefully showed one driving down an empty street. In the real world you would have to "call" the store to your location and then wait for it to show up. Then there are all the issues of having one trying to make a stop in an urban environment; problems such as simply trying to find a parking space for something that large.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2017

    Will putting a spotlight on associates help boost Kroger’s business?

    It you want your staff to treat your customer well then you need to treat the staff well. Kroger’s approach is an acknowledgement of the value of the staff to both the retailer and the customer. I believe this can resonate with current and potential customers.Will it entirely replace pricing as a reason to shop Kroger? Probably not. However it may reduce the emphasis on price for many shoppers.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2017

    Should brands ditch the slang?

    I find it difficult to believe that a long-time brand use of slang would be seen as authentic rather than pathetic. As the research indicates the acceptance of slang is driven to a great extent by the age of the audience. Its use by a startup aimed at Millennials might work but I don’t foresee anyone believing Macy’s as a brand is cool. They may sell items or even have items that are "cool" but the brand is not.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2017

    Did Amazon just patent tech that could end showrooming in its stores?

    Many of today’s comments are about the irony of Amazon patenting a technology that prevents showrooming. Look at it from their perspective. They now have a patent they control that prevents customers from using Wi-Fi to get to Amazon for that exact purpose. The underlying purpose may not to prevent showrooming in their stores, but to control a patent that can prevent Wi-Fi being used to do it in other retail stores.

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