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: 09/22/2017

    Hilton Honors members go shopping with points on Amazon

    Max, I agree. Likely one of the worst point-to-dollar value conversions available of any loyalty program.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2017

    Walmart’s Christmas plans do not include seasonal hires

    Offering its current employees the opportunity to work more hours during the holiday season helps Walmart, its employees and its customers. Customers get the advantage of store staff that has some history in working in their positions. Walmart employees get the opportunity to make more money and, although it was not discussed in the article, I would expect it helps lower Walmart’s turnover.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2017

    Will a new lunch menu make Starbucks a food giant?

    We advise clients in the c-store industry “own the morning, own the day.” However, to make that work you have to have a food offering for the other day parts. Customers are very willing to have bakery item for breakfast but not for lunch or dinner.What Starbucks is doing is working to capture that second meal occasion. Their success will depend on two factors. The food itself and their ability to turn the tables fast enough during lunch. This will not be as easy having worked very hard to be the third place, which in many cases means that after breakfast customers come in and work rather than eat. The result is very slow table turns. Grapping breakfast to go is one thing buy many people prefer to sit and enjoy their lunch.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2017

    Kohl’s to accept product returns for Amazon

    Kohl’s is trying to gain foot traffic. They are gaining, but it is Amazon’s feet. This is a further example of Amazon’s "foot in the door" strategy. The next step would be, "hey, this worked, let’s let Amazon customers pick up their orders here." Kohl’s should remember the Native American legend about the little boy and the snake.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2017

    Five skills every retail manager needs to succeed

    I have before that if you want good employees you have to treat them good. This incorporates the five points outlined. It does not mean simple being an employee pleaser at the expense of the company.There are good and less good points about promoting from within. Many have commented on the good. One of the less good is that the employees may have only experienced one environment. This may work well when that environment was one that utilized the five points and provided excellent customer service, but what if it wasn’t? Then what the company gets is more of the same.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2017

    Did this startup make a big mistake calling itself Bodega?

    The word "bodega" has been used as a brand before. One example is the BODEGA, a Boston retailer which offers a limited line of clothing and other items. This startup’s use of the word as their brand got them something they would not have gotten without it -- publicity. The long-term issue is not the use of the term as a brand, but the lack of the utility of their offer.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2017

    Kitchen 1883 may be a new platform for Kroger’s growth

    As Phil has pointed out there is a major difference between the cultures necessary to be successful in the retail and the restaurant industries. Both have some similarities. However one is primarily driven by providing access to items already sold to the consumer by a CPG brand, while the other relies on sales far more than simple availability. Each is difficult to do successfully separately -- doing them under one roof is very difficult. There are success stories of this being done in the supermarket world but very few.
  • Posted on: 09/11/2017

    Professor says price gouging is simple supply and demand at work

    I am definitely in support of a free market. However raising prices to the level reported on a temporary basis as some have been accused of before, during and in the aftermath of Harvey is not insuring supplies get used in "the most important ways." It is taking advantage of people’s desperation.Not the same thing but, I worked for Amoco Oil in Florida during the 1990-91 Gulf War. People lined up at our locations filling up their cars almost immediately after the war broke out. My boss who ran the eastern half of the U.S. immediately issued a rule that said no one was to raise the price of fuel. He said we do not take advantage of our customers. This is a rule everyone should remember.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2017

    Will CVS’ sales take off in airports?

    As Ron has already stated a great deal of the potential impact will depend on the pricing model. The cost per dose in an airport is likely the highest price anyone will ever pay. Having a captive audience lends itself to pricing abuses. If CVS elects to use a more realistic pricing strategy, then perhaps the small shops that sell the same or similar items will drop their prices. If this occurs, it will certainly dampen any potential sales CVS would have. All of this being said, the total sales from the kiosks is not going to have any significant impact on CVS’ revenue.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2017

    Is there a ‘right way’ for retailers to help in times of disaster?

    All the comments have listed the appropriate ways in which companies can react. The worst way is to turn what they are doing into part of a publicity campaign or, even worse, some sort of ad. I have to believe that no major company would be so foolish.Ryan is absolutely correct. What we are seeing is companies helping with the immediate needs. The question is, will they still be around to assist with the longer-term needs of recovery when the news cycle has moved on?
  • Posted on: 08/29/2017

    Are Whole Foods’ price cuts game-changing for food retailing?

    As several have noted the price drops simply brought Whole Foods prices in line with the market. In short this is, as Shakespeare wrote, much ado about nothing.You've got to give Amazon’s PR department great kudos for all the uproar. To use a part of a phrase from another Shakespeare play (Macbeth) -- it's "full of sound and fury signifying nothing." I do agree that over time Amazon’s impact through its acquisition of Whole Foods may have an impact on food retailing, but not in the short run.
  • Posted on: 08/28/2017

    Should Starbucks close its online store?

    Starbucks closed its online store and rid itself of a distraction. In the words of Willie Sutton, “rob banks because that’s where the money is.” The money for Starbucks comes from its stores and the grocery aisle not from selling cup, mugs, etc. It can get these items in the hands of its loyal fans by using third parties rather than having to handle them internally.
  • Posted on: 08/25/2017

    Are off-pricers discounting their online opportunity?

    As was stated in the article, the issue is inventory. Off-price retailers have a limited number of each item. To ensure sufficient online inventory off-price retailers might have to hold off displaying items in their stores with the hope that it sold online. Moving what didn’t sell online into their stores means store customers would be treated less favorably. The current business model works well. Should off-price retailers elect to place more emphasis on their online business I would recommend they do so very carefully.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2017

    Why don’t more retailers ‘get’ curation?

    This is a lesson every retailer should learn – it is not what you want to sell but what the customer wants to buy. I learned this in 1990 while working for Amoco Oil. We had developed and were building the first large format c-store operated by a major oil company. One of our competitors in Florida had several times the numbers of SKUs we carried, but consumer research showed they thought we carried more items. The difference was we carried what they wanted and it was easy to find. This is one of the reasons why the small format Targets have found success with consumers.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2017

    Will TJX’s Homesense repeat the success of HomeGoods?

    The excitement around Homesense can be attributed to the brand extension model that has worked so well for many brands. TJX’s HomeGoods is a known entity and, as the article points out, doing very well. Customers who like shopping there are predisposed to like Homesense, which uses the same low-price treasure hunt model. The changes in the category/product mix may provide enough difference so their existing customers base will shop both, but at different times based on their needs.

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