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: 08/24/2016

    Has Sears discovered how to profit from its softer side?

    Interesting idea and might work for some other retailer, but highly unlikely for Sears for all the reasons others have mentioned. This includes the mismatch between the concept and the current Sears customer profile, the likelihood that those who might be interested in the clothes would ever consider shopping in Sears, and their ability to provide a good shopping experience for anyone.My last trip into a Sears location was not untypical of what other have discussed on RetailWire before. Please forgive me for the length of this saga.I went to get a simple filter for a vacuum cleaner used to clean our cars. Once I located it I went to the counter to pay. The only counter that was staffed the clerk was tied up with a customer and it became obvious that this was something that would be continuing for some time. The closest other checkout had one person waiting already.After a few minutes I went back to the first counter and asked if the clerk could ask someone to come and ring the two of us out. We were joined by third person shortly thereafter we waited again for a few minutes. I again went and asked if we could not get someone to ring the three of us out.Again, waited for 5+ minutes and determined no one was ever going to come. By now there were four of us. I said I am leaving and sat my purchase down as did the other three. Went home, ordered a Craftsman filter from ACE and picked it up in the store a couple days later.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2016

    Will Target get wrapped up in fake sheet controversy?

    Target appears to have done everything right once it discovered the deception. It dropped Welspun as a supplier, contacted its customers and told them there were no safety issues, issued an apology and refunded the money. I would say they covered all their bases.The only problems they possibly face are the questions of why they did not discover the substitution before and how many other mislabeled products they might have on their shelves. Certainly with the issues they face in their grocery sales, having to acknowledge a mislabeled product is not a good thing.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2016

    Why is Apple dropping ‘Store’ from the name of its stores?

    Apple owns a unique positioning in the consumer's mind. Unfortunately, the word store implies a place where people try to sell you something. By dropping "Store" and adding their site’s location to the marquee they remove that connotation and add a sense of being local versus being part of a multi-billion dollar company. I am not sure the changes will make any difference to Apple’s legion of advocates.
  • Posted on: 08/19/2016

    Happy Meal fitness trackers are now an exercise in crisis management

    The issue is not that McDonald's fitness trackers may have caused a skin irritation. It is that it may have caused it on children. We are hard-wired to be extremely protective about our children and react far more strongly to something happening like this to them than we are to ourselves or other adults. As Bob stated, the failure was to do sufficient testing to ensure that the devices were safe.McDonald's response was very quick and appropriate. It will remain to be seen if it has any significant negative implications on the company. My expectation is that the speed with which McDonald's acted will minimize the impact, but hopefully ensure that they do more extensive testing in the future.
  • Posted on: 08/18/2016

    Is Walmart passing its crime buck to local governments?

    Walmart shoppers benefit from the lower cost of goods that their business model has generated. Their lower prices are a function of many things including their store operations model built on high volume and low overhead. The low overhead comes from paying the wages they pay and the number of people they employ and where they are deployed. Both of these are in the process of changing. It remains to be seen if the changes will have the impact on shrink they forecast or on their employees' lives that others have predicted.Their labor model has definitely left them vulnerable to higher shrink as noted in the article. Unlike many retailers their shrink seems to be strongly oriented towards their “customers” rather than their employees.The theft triangle indicates the shrink is the result of three factors: motivation, opportunity and lack of detection. Nothing Walmart does will change their customers’ motivation to steal. The changes they are making in their labor model might be able to impact the last two.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2016

    Is Target getting its grocery act together?

    Our local Target’s grocery area is too small to compete with the full-size supermarkets that surround it. It's fine to pick up a few fill-ins but not to do a weekly shop. (Do people still do that?) The traffic in the grocery aisles seems to be far greater than in the small perishable area.My suggestion for a test is a little more conservative than Dr. Needel's. Target should test getting out of the perishables business to determine the impact on the remaining grocery sales. True this may be a lower margin area but less labor-intensive and spoilage is far less of an issue.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2016

    Is brick & mortar ready to leverage in-store shopper data?

    Will brick-and-mortar locations leverage more shopper data then they do now? Yes, absolutely. Will they ever have the level of data that online retailers have? Not likely.One of the many tools online has that brick-and-mortar retailers don't have is cookies that track not only what users did on that retailer’s site but perhaps others as well. I doubt any significant segment of the population will agree to allow that same level of data gathering on their behavior in brick-and-mortar stores regardless of what they are given in exchange.
  • Posted on: 08/11/2016

    Will happy hour deals bring Chipotle’s customers back?

    As Chipotle has discovered, there is no quick fix for a restaurant chain when you have had food safety issues. Earning back consumers’ trust requires some forgetfulness and forgiving by customers. I believe this is even harder for Chipotle as it positioned itself as being a place where you could trust the food because it was made fresh, locally sourced and all the other latest foodservice industry buzz words.Will it ever be able to get back on the fast track? Time will tell, but it appears that inducing trial (or retrial) with free food didn’t work so now they have turned to alcohol to see if reduced cost or free booze will make people forgive and forget.
  • Posted on: 08/10/2016

    The ‘McDonald’s of the Future’ leans fast-casual

    As Lyle stated, the move to fast casual is more than seeking a new foodservice classification, it is a fundamental change in the business model.Some examples: McDonald's has been shrinking its stores as the shift to drive-thru lessened the need for table space. This concept requires more space. The ability to customize the order, i.e. MTO, means a slower ordering and longer prep times. This impacts queuing as customers pay and/or wait for their items to be delivered. The list of changes required is long.None of this means McDonald's should not pursue changes in its business model, but it does mean that making these types of changes to its existing network would be a long, slow, and costly process, and one that its franchisees may resists.
  • Posted on: 08/05/2016

    Will labor scheduling upgrades make Walmart a better retailer?

    I agree with Chris that happy associates means happier customers. However, sometimes times the two will be in conflict. In that case what will the system do? My bet is that it will choose to make customers happier at the expense of the employees. This is no different than what a manager faces with the same data.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2016

    Could mobile scan and pay lead honest shoppers into a life of crime?

    With all the shrink concerns about self-checkout I was surprised that our local Sam’s Club had had installed several. However, it beat the typical long lines if you had just a few items.A customer could forget to ring an item. However, with Sam’s you always have that friendly checker at the door making sure you didn’t forget something.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2016

    Is Grocery Outlet on its way to becoming the TJX of grocers?

    The discount malls are full of branded merchandise that is not quite up to the normal standard of the brand or in some cases last season’s merchandise. That approach has worked very well for the things customers wear.It is another thing to eat something that might not meet the brand’s standards. Buying what we used to call “seconds” for your family to eat might fit a group of customers but I don’t see it becoming mainstream.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2016

    Are retailers missing marketing opportunities with gift cards?

    One of the reasons that people might not provide the recipient's email address is their concern that the person will be bombarded with emails from the store. Another is they may not know the recipient’s email address.In other cases, the gift card is being purchased from a display such as shown in the discussion where the card is being purchased from a retailer selling multiple cards. This makes it impossible to provide the recipient's email. One way to possibly get around this is to ask that recipient to register the card to ensure that if lost the retailer has the value recorded.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2016

    Dollar General grows where Walmart closes

    The most interesting aspect of Dollar General's acquisition of the Walmart Express locations is its move into fuel. In late 2013 the company first tried retailing gasoline as a test in Alabama. Didn’t hear much about the test and any of the actions that followed. However, this acquisition definitely puts them in the fuel business.The acquisition of the Walmart Express sites is significant because it positions Dollar General to be an even more effective competitor to the c-store industry. Ironically, should they grow their fuel business, it helps them compete against Walmart.
  • Posted on: 07/28/2016

    How should commissions work in the era of omnichannel retailing?

    As everyone has already commented, the short answer is yes. The questions are how and how much. To even begin to accurately answer we first have to be able to track all the ways consumers make purchases and which impact element in the transaction impacts the purchase decision.Few retailers possess the information systems to capture that data to say nothing of the skills to analyze it. Those that figure that out will not only have happy customers, but happy employees — a winning combination.

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