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

  • Posted on: 10/24/2016

    Should Bass Pro retire the Cabela’s name?

    Bass Pro has to carefully evaluate all its naming options. The process should be business- and not ego-driven. Bass Pro has the right to pick whatever name format it wants, but then will either enjoy the benefits or suffer the consequences depending on its choice. The process it uses to communicate the “why” will also be important to the very loyal Cabela’s customer base.Here in Chicago we have seen several iconic names disappear after acquisitions. The article mentions Marshall Fields, another was Dominick’s supermarkets. Neither shopping experience was ever the same.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2016

    What follows all-day breakfast at McDonald’s?

    The introduction of all-day breakfast gave McDonald’s a nice year-over-year boost. However, when comparing sales to the first year of the introduction producing sales increase gets much harder. Customers are now very aware of the menu change and the sales increase from the change has occurred. Now sales comparisons are based on two like menus.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2016

    Smartphones drive increased e-mail usage

    The Adobe survey results regarding email are not surprising. Many people have access to their cell phones far more often than they do to their desktops (if they even own one) or their laptops. Plus, many never turn them off.This difficulty for marketers is where to draw the line between communicating often enough to be effective versus becoming a pest. As noted in the article another element in this complicated equation is that some personalization is regarding as a good thing, but too much it “creepy.”Max is definitely right that whatever messages are sent need to be adapted for the small screen.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2016

    Should in-store associates help online browsers?

    My quick research indicates that Saks uses a commission based compensation model. Nothing I read indicates that they receive a commission if the online chat results in a sale. This is a disconnect that Saks and other retailers have to determine how they want to address.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2016

    Will others follow Walmart’s lead on manager pay?

    Smaller-format retailers may not have the luxury to raise all their managers’ salaries to $47,500 to avoid the new overtime rules. As Robert stated they then are forced to change their manager compensation model to hourly, plus overtime to arrive at the same pay.The increase for Walmart was slightly more than 2 percent for a new manager running a large format store. Not exactly earth shattering. Especially when a Time news story in July, 2014 stated “the National Bureau of Economic Research found, Walmart store managers make an average salary of $92,462 per year." Great publicly for Walmart at a negligible cost.What is lost is the status that comes from being salaried. This may be simply internal in the manager’s mind, but it does exist.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2016

    Will greeters make Penney a more inviting place to shop?

    Why is J.C. Penney testing in a two-hour window between noon and 2 p.m.? Perhaps become someone thinks people on their lunch hours are going to rush to the mall to buy something. Or perhaps they believe as malls morph into food halls that people coming to eat at the mall might have some time to wander the mall. Other than those weak theories I can think of no reason for selecting those two hours.As other have indicated this isn’t really a test. The scale and scope are not sufficient to measure consumer response. Instead what J.C. Penney has done is taken people from un-staffed stores and asked them to spend two hours away from their work.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2016

    Will limiting incentives make Amazon reviews more credible?

    The short answer is yes. The longer one is Amazon is likely the first place most people turn to when using the internet to look for items they wish to purchase online. That means the information, including the reviews, that they find there can influence them to continue towards making the purchase or continue researching alternatives. This places Amazon in a unique place in the internet purchase process.Initially consumers trusted the reviews because why would someone write one that wasn’t true? As the importance of internet reviews grew so did the temptation to create false ones (good and bad). In some case these were done by the manufacturers, but as Amazon worked to eliminate those a new source arose -- reviews by professional reviewers. I use the word "professional" loosely, but these reviews were written by people paid to write them. Now we have “soft professionals” who were not paid cash but receive discounts, etc.Amazon's latest attempt to get honest reviews should increase the credibility of the reviews posted. However my expectation is that some sellers are already working on ways to game the system.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2016

    Will customers give Amazon the keys to their smart homes?

    My reaction is: you want me to do what? While there may be some very trusting people out there I doubt that there are enough to make this concept account for even a small portion of Amazon deliveries.There have been numerous recent news articles about how hackers have accessed all types of IoT home devices. If hacked, this process would not only provide potential access to sell a package that has been delivered but possibly access to the home at other times.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2016

    Could heat mapping be an equalizer for brick & mortar?

    Data does not equal actionable information. Actionable information is of no value without understanding. Understanding makes you feel good, but is worthless without proper execution. Heat mapping is a data collection tool, and like any tool it has to be properly utilized to have value.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2016

    Can a revamped Office Depot compete with digital?

    I admit that I have been an Office Depot shopper for many years. Initially it was because the internet was not an alternative and since then because I actually enjoy shopping/browsing in a physical environment rather than on a screen. I like trying out a new office chair by sitting on it rather than trying to decided what looks good on a website. That being said, I also buy some items from the web, but not as much as I gather some other commenters do.Will their service approach work? I don’t know. I do agree with Lee that I am not giving up my local IT support shop for Office Depot's new service.As Peter stated, being the last one standing has a benefit. However, time will tell if that will be a sustainable strategy for Office Depot.
  • Posted on: 09/26/2016

    Will Walmart’s ‘restorative justice’ reduce shoplifting?

    The accompanying articles indicate some police departments estimate calls regarding shoplifting at Walmart as being down as much as 40 percent. By that measure the program would seem to have accomplished one of its goals. By reducing the number of calls it may lessen the pressure for Walmart to do more internally to reduce shoplifting.However, one of the links indicates that the Corrective Education Company who are providing the Restorative Justice program to Walmart is being sued for false imprisonment and overcharging alleged shoplifters. It will be interesting to see if in the long run this approach reduces the pressure on Walmart to lower the number of shoplifting calls to police or becomes another publicity disaster.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2016

    Will retailers be treated to a record-setting Halloween?

    As Paula indicated Halloween is a relatively “cheap” date. For the young kids it still has the allure it always did of dressing up and getting candy. Two of young kids’ favorite things to do.For some adults it is a chance to relive a fond childhood memory. For others it is a chance to party. It appeals for those in between for a variety of reasons including collecting candy (at least half the kids we get are what we used to consider too old for trick or treating) or just a another chance to socialize with friends.I don’t see this trend slowing down and expect at least moderate growth in Halloween-related sales.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2016

    Coming soon – a members-only store for the ultra rich

    This follows the list of the press releases that Guess sent out regarding their intentions in the c-store industry. They included the following:
    • Announcement in July that the Guess was seeking to acquire at least 1,000 c-stores in the next 12 months. To date, to my knowledge, they have not acquired any;
    • An August announcement that Guess had hired an architectural firm, which will design the new “upscale” convenience stores;
    • Another August press release with a conceptual drawing of what their new store would look like. The announcement indicated the stores would carry premium quality merchandise;
    • A third August announcement stating Guess had engaged an exclusive real estate broker and had in place a c-level team (none of which had c-store experience);
    • A fourth press release in August that said Guess was seeking “approved operating partners” to actually operate its c-store/fueling locations.
    • In September Guess announced it would open (at select c-store sites) Guess Brad stores with 20 tables per restaurant with only two chairs per table for couples-only dinning.
    After this “interesting” list of announcements, one major c-store trade publication indicated that while they would still run the press releases, they would do so with an editorial disclaimer. Since then, there have been no further announcements regarding Guess’s intentions in the convenience retail/petroleum marketing industry.I believe someone at Guess has been having fun with the trade press regarding the c-store industry and is now doing the same for the club industry.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2016

    Who will win the 2016 Christmas layaway competition?

    As noted 17% of shoppers use this method of purchasing products. That is a significant portion of the population, although I suspect the total of their purchases represents less than the percentage of customers.Layaway is the original enabler purchase methodology. It was replaced for most people with credit cards. However, for some it is still a way to manage their spending and control any debt they may have. I see it continuing to increase until the economy fully recovers and real unemployment or underemployment numbers drop.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2016

    Zappos and Meijer among retailers touting their corporate values

    The short answer is yes. Younger consumers make some, but not all, of their purchasing decisions based on their perceptions of the brand. Incorporating core values and culture in a brand’s marketing exposes them to new customers and reinforces them to existing customers.However, before marketing their corporate culture companies should make sure that values they are touting are truly incorporated into their corporate DNA. If not consumers will quickly see this approach as just another marketing effort.

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