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: 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.
  • Posted on: 01/10/2017

    Amazon, Hy-Vee and Safeway among retailers in USDA online food stamp test

    The rules governing what SNAP can and cannot be used for are reasonably clear. They were laid out to enable the purchase of a variety of food categories to ensure it recipients would not be using the benefits to make what were deemed unhealthy foods. It was also designed to protect SNAP users from retailers taking unfair advantage of them. One example would be delivery charges which unlike the products are not subject to as much competition.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2017

    Will PetSmart’s luxurious Pet Spa concept catch on?

    Offering some of these services in a PetSmart superstore might work but I don’t see this being a viable standalone concept for any significant number of locations. As Tom indicated, the concept’s best chance of success in is the major metros where there is the highest concentration of potential pet owners who might be willing to indulge themselves and their animals at a pet spa.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2017

    Are convenience stores in for a big year in 2017?

    I agree c-stores are looking for a good 2017. However, the c-store industry faces numerous competitive threats. The drug store chains are increasing their emphasis on their c-store offer. True, CVS stopped selling cigarettes, but Walgreens is getting back in the beer market.The same is true for the dollar store industry. They are positioned as less a treasure hunt than previously. They are now evolving more towards the c-store model only without gas. QSRs who previously treated drinks as an ancillary sale to their protein offer and now placing an increased focus on drinks sales, as evidenced by McDonald's current coffee campaign.Oh, and let’s not forget fuel. The past two years’ fuel margins have been more robust than in the past. Eighty percent of c-stores sell fuel. It typically constitutes two thirds the revenue of a site but only one third the profits. The last two years has seen the decline as a percentage of sales (the impact of lower retails), but a higher percentage of a site gross profit. The forecast for 2017 is for higher fuel prices and, although it is continuative, this will mean lower margins.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2017

    Should Costco raise its membership fees?

    We belong to Sam’s and Costco because each offers different items that we purchase. That and the fact that Sam’s does not offer fuel at our local location.I cannot speak for the value proposition for others but like most of the earlier comments, I don’t think a $5 increase in fees will deter any significant portion of joining or rejoining. That increase can be recouped in one to two fuel fill ups.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2016

    Amazon considers floating warehouses

    Perhaps fun to talk about but not realistic. I believe this is a case of someone sitting around one day with others and saying what if and then seeing if they could get the patent office to consider it. "Oh look, they did and we got a patent."We have enough issues already trying to determine how to ensure the drones we have now from causing havoc. Can you imagine what would happen if the air was filled with super-sized blimps and more drones?
  • Posted on: 12/29/2016

    GNC takes the day off to reset pricing

    The numerous prices for the same item certainly would create confusion in the consumer's mind. Three-fourths of their retail prices stayed the same or declined which should be positive for retail sales, but this is offset by the 30 percent decline in online same-store sales. It sounds as if the jury is still out on if the net result will be a positive or negative for GNC.
  • Posted on: 12/28/2016

    Will data-driven checkout get shoppers through the line faster?

    Like many, I started my career as a grocery clerk in a supermarket. I have seen many improvements in line management over time but, as the newspaper article indicates, in a supermarket customers still make their own decision about which line to get into. For systems like IndaFlow to work to their maximum effectiveness it requires consumer education.As Stephen indicated there are many things that can trip up the system. I frankly remain amazed by the person who waits until their order is completely rung up before locating their checkbook and beginning to write a check. With all their potential issues I love being in charge of my own fate and use a self-checkout as much as possible.
  • Posted on: 12/27/2016

    French retailer parodies Amazon Go

    Like Cathy I had some questions regarding the process. How do they know who you are or where you live? I know you don’t pay at the store but I didn't see any payment being made at all. All that being said, I thought the ad was a great way to capitalize on the publicity that has surrounded Amazon Go’s announcement.
  • Posted on: 12/27/2016

    Which spot gets your vote as the best U.S. Christmas commercial of 2016?

    Amazon Prime is the winner. Its message is one that resonates for the holidays and all year long.
  • Posted on: 12/22/2016

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge Goes Global: Week 4

    I’m with Max on this. Both spots fell short of supporting their brand and/or truly highlighting the products they sell. I agree Christmas is a great time to get together with friends and share a meal with friends and family but in neither case did the ad pull at the heartstrings.

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