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: 11/30/2016

    Will sales promotions be the death of department stores?

    He is right -- sales promotions need to be part of the mix but not the only way that department stores attract and retain customers. That being said, because a business model works for one retailer that does mean it will work for another. Nordstrom could certainly offer more sales promotions, but then would it still be Nordstrom?The dilemma all department stores face is that while they would like to wean themselves from the heavy use of promotions they run the risk of losing their customer base as long as their competitors continue to emphasize sales promotions. Can it be done? The answer is yes, but to do so would require repositioning themselves in the marketplace. That is not a short-term process (ask J.C. Penney) and would likely mean their stock would take a hit in the short run.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2016

    How badly will Macy’s be hurt by its Black Friday outages?

    Macy’s created a set of expectations it failed to fulfill. Never a good thing for a retailer to do. Can they recover? The answer is yes -- but ... The short-term "but" comes from those customers who made that purchase elsewhere. Those sales cannot be recovered.The longer-term "but" is, how will those that experience the website issues and those that are hearing about it in the press react this year, and perhaps even in future years? Once customers have lost faith in a retailer’s ability to deliver, it takes a lot of work to regain it.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2016

    Is Chobani smart to open cafés in grocery stores?

    Supermarkets want to be seen as more “restauranty” and devoting space to Chobani cafés helps them accomplish that. It does so without the supermarket chain having to make the investment, requiring the internal expertise, etc.The cafés will help change the consumer’s perception of the store and Chobani will get brand exposure that would be very hard to duplicate. Sounds like a win/win unless the cafés' sales don’t support the costs involved.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2016

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: J.C. Penney vs. Kohl’s

    Better than the last two, but not by much. Perhaps more at this time of year than any other, ads have dual purposes — sell more stuff and remind us of the spirit of Christmas. Both adds attempt to do that and both go one step further to make statements about items we might not expect to find in their stores.My vote goes to Kohl’s, but agree with Ryan that the hug at the end was an award scene.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2016

    Will table service be a difference-maker for McDonald’s?

    This may not help McDonald’s compete against fast casual and the better burger chains but it will be a point of differentiation against chains such as Wendy’s and Burger King. The process will allow customers to order at their own pace without the pressure of the line behind them. Getting their drinks will help shorten the perceived wait time. The ability to begin social interaction while waiting for the service will also be a plus.I admit I was surprised by the traffic and sales numbers mentioned given the majority of their sales are through the drive-thrus. I am assuming that was for all transactions and not just for those from customers who actually entered the restaurant.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2016

    Will hundreds of small stores produce big results for Target?

    As Mr. Cornell noted there is a lot of differences between operating their typical 100,000 square foot location and ones ranging from 20 percent to 45 percent of that size. One advantage is that Target brings a strong brand awareness to its smaller-format stores. However, with that brand awareness comes certain expectation include a wide variety of departments and a depth of selection that the smaller formats cannot fulfill.The consumer success side of the equation will be determined by Target’s ability to customize its mix to meet local needs and maintain its pricing strategy. Target’s success side of the equation will be met if it can adapt its supply chain to handle the smaller (and likely more frequent) deliveries, find a pricing formula that generates sufficient profit on lower total sales and still meet customers' pricing expectations.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2016

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Kmart vs. Walmart

    I agree with those who had said neither ad really shows any holiday spirit. I realize that the idea behind them is to sell more stuff so in that regard, I believe the Kmart ad does a better job. The Walmart ad does address an operational issue of their own making. Gee we know we don’t provide a fast checkout process, but hey we are adding helpers so you can get into line faster.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2016

    What should stores do about BOPIS abandonment?

    It depends on the retailer’s experience with the abandonment rates incurred. While this is a metric that should be tracked, I am not sure that it is by all retailers. Like many expenses until it reaches a certain threshold it will receive little to no attention.However, the best way to make sure it does not become a big expense is to set up practices and procedures early on. While I am not sure how it would be received by the customers, charging their credit card when the item is ordered rather than at the time of pickup should encourage more consumers to complete the purchase process. That way they would have skin in the game.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2016

    Will Macy’s parade spot connect with new consumers?

    Macy’s would not be Macy’s without its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. It is the way by which most of America first became aware of the brand. However, I am not sure the impact of the parade on all the typical metrics of brand loyalty, sales, etc. is measurable.
  • Posted on: 11/04/2016

    Should browser data be opt-in only?

    I am definitely in the opt-in only camp. If I want to then make a trade off for what the business or app offers OK, but in many cases consumers are not aware that their information is being tracked, to say nothing of what it is then being used for.A great question would be to ask how many people actually read what an app is collecting or accessing on a smartphone. I have and have declined to sign up for apps that want information I have no idea why they would need.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2016

    Will curbside pickup drive front-end sales at CVS?

    Curbside is a point of differentiation as long as others don't offer the same service. As such, the costs involved are likely out-weighed by the benefits. However, once other retailers in the same vertical offer Curbside it will simply become a cost of doing business that the retailer absorbs or passes on to the consumer. CVS should enjoy it while it can.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2016

    Will Patagonia win Election Day by sending its workers to the polls?

    While I applaud Patagonia’s move, I agree that this is not a movement that will catch on for retailers. This move fits with their positioning, creates good PR, and the lost sales will likely be made up very quickly. Unfortunately, my expectation is that if election day became a national holiday, the percentage of people voting would not dramatically increase.My expectation is that this election will have one of the highest voter turnouts we have seen in years. Not because people will have more opportunity, but because this presidential election has generated more interest than many in the past. Regardless of the outcome, my hope is that level of interest remains and more people will get out and vote in all elections.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2016

    Will checkout elves make Walmart’s customers merrier this Christmas?

    Smart move by Walmart for several reasons. The first of which is the publicity generated by the announcement. It has gotten a good amount of play in the media. The announcement positions any brick-and-mortar retailer who now does something similar as a “me too.”All of the components of the Holiday Helpers' positions will be welcomed by Walmart's customers. The stores’ volume precludes Walmart from using a single-line approach for queuing and even in non-holiday periods finding the shortest line is not always easy. The opening of additional cash registers will also be welcomed. The only possible negative is when a customer at the front of a line realizes they forgot something and everyone in that line has to wait for a Holiday Helper to go get it. Now if they can only get it consistently executed.
  • Posted on: 10/28/2016

    Can retailers overcome the challenges of urban deliveries?

    Most of the comments indicate the burden is on the retailers, but the actual delivery process in most cases involves a third-party delivery service such as UPS or FedEx. They are the ones who bear the burden of the last 50 feet. That being said, I know that the retailer will be the first place called should the delivery not show up.C-stores and others are working to create safe and secure delivery points, but as the discussion has indicated that will likely be only part of the solution.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2016

    Does talking to a human still matter?

    Interestingly you asked the same question with two different time frames -- inevitably and three to five years. My answer to first question is yes. In typical IT parlance, “given sufficient time and money it can be done.” The answer to the second is no. The time frame is too short. The best we can hope for is a question tree that results in shorter time to reach a human.There are many frustrating things about telephonic customer service today. The first is the AI question tree one has to go through to finally get to a person. The second is when you reach a person with whom communication is difficult regardless of their knowledge level.

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