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: 01/22/2018

    Amazon Go goes live

    The “just walk out” technology is the sizzle of this concept. It seems to work with a limited number of items, but when the market basket gets larger it means the consumer has to be willing to handle not just the payment portion of the checkout process but the bagging as well. Some will like this concept (no longer having to decide which line will move faster, etc.) and others will not. Will it work in a format where the customer has a cart full of groceries? Doubtful.
  • Posted on: 01/19/2018

    Can Wakefern crowdsource away its out-of-stocks?

    I see this use of crowdsourcing as a stopgap between what is today and what likely coming down the road fairly quickly. As Stephen pointed out a single employee dedicated to identify OOS might be less expensive.Charles pointed out the future might be the robotic solutions being shown at NRF. Is it worth testing. In my opinion the answer is yes they are, but I would wait a while before rolling them out across a retailer’s network.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2018

    Will retailers go on the road with self-driving mobile stores?

    An idea ahead of its time. For mobile stores to work the entire autonomous vehicle issue has to be resolved. Issues will be resolved but in my opinion, not in the next five years. For a retailer to move forward before technological, legal, insurance, etc. issues are resolved would be risky.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2018

    Surreal to so real – Sam’s closes 63 clubs after Walmart announces pay raise

    At best the timing is unfortunate. It makes it appear that the increased pay for Walmart employees comes partly at the expense of those workers in the 63 Sam’s Clubs it is closing. While they are separate divisions within the company I would have expected a more coordinated process for the announcements. I am not sure what the time delay between the two should have been to lessen the yin and yang impact. Certainly at a minimum a statement that one was not the result of the other might have helped.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2018

    ICE raids 7-Eleven stores to arrest illegal immigrants

    The impact of these raids is hard to measure. There are undoubtedly other companies that if they faced the same scrutiny would be found to have the same issue. The real impact is if it forces companies to be more vigilant in their hiring process.
  • Posted on: 01/10/2018

    Whole Foods asks vendors to pay to play

    I find the term contributions ironic. A contribution is something you do voluntarily. Slotting allowances, regardless of how they are structured, are a play-to-play form of revenue generation.True this type practice has been around in the retail world for a long time but Whole Foods has portrayed itself to be a champion of locally sourced items. This will definitely have an impact on many of their current suppliers. Will consumers notice or care if they do? Maybe or maybe not. If they do, will the impact be significant enough to have Whole Foods stop collecting contributions? My bet is no.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2018

    Facial recognition software comes to loyalty

    It will be interesting to see how many customers opt in to this program. I would expect that among those who do there it be a strong age stratification with the opt in group being younger. If the CaliBurger program is successful, you are guaranteed that more retailers will try this approach. If it is not, then others will likely test but perhaps with less enthusiasm.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2018

    Amazon may put Alexa to work pitching brands

    Love your "Mean Time" metric.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2018

    Amazon may put Alexa to work pitching brands

    The ability to do something doesn't mean you should. What comes next -- an option to buy the devices in two versions -- with or without ads? Oh yes, the one without ads would cost more.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2018

    How steep are the barriers to smartphone checkout?

    Typically the online buying process on a smartphone is OK up to the actual purchase process. Then it often fails miserably. Information such as Max mentioned is hard to find and even harder to read on a smartphone screen. Customers don’t want to have to search to find this information. It should be part of the natural flow of the purchase process. Admittedly all of this is easier to do on a larger screen where there is more display area. If retailers want their smartphone conversation rates to go up then they have to find a way to do it in the space available.
  • Posted on: 12/28/2017

    Will other grocers beat Amazon Go to the punch?

    There is certainly an appeal to being able to buy and go as this technology promises. However, there are still areas that need to be addressed. Let’s skip the development and deployment of the basic technology and assume it works.The first issue is that customers must adopt mobile payment and the systems must accept all forms of mobile pay. The customer also has to be willing to accept face recognition as a condition of shopping. I expect this will be another one of the “age” things we have discussed before with stratification across the generations.Then come the handling of all the age restricted items. A definite issue for c-stores, dollar stores, supermarkets and other retailers who sell these items. Finally, the bagging process. This will have to be handled by the customers. As retailers have discovered, people are willing to do it at self-checkout because the orders are small, but with a basket of groceries it is not so accepted a concept.Can all this be worked out? Possibly-to-probably; but it will not occur overnight. The best thing retailers can do for today’s customers is ensure that they are properly staffed to checkout customers quickly and accurately.
  • Posted on: 12/27/2017

    How should Apple manage its throttling scandal?

    Crisis management is all about how you handle the issues. In Apple’s case I have not heard that the company has done any significant damage control. Had they announced that they were offering an update to slow down the phones to prevent the sudden shutdowns people might have elected to install it and thanked them for it. This could have made what turned into a negative into a non-event.Will the Apple faithful get past this? Of that I am certain. However, this combined with the lack of appeal of the iPhone 8 and the cost of the iPhone X does seem to indicate a trend of missteps for Apple. This may impact the phone purchase decisions for the rest of us.
  • Posted on: 12/20/2017

    7-Eleven goes omnichannel with mobile, BOPIS and delivery

    C-stores are about convenience. 7-Eleven’s test adds another layer of convenience to shopping at their locations. However, I agree with those that have stated their doubts about the app gaining widespread use for ordering ahead or delivery. The cost of delivery for small low-cost purchases generally makes them unattractive to the consumer. The idea of ordering ahead makes sense if ordering a made-to-order sandwich, etc. but for a roller dog and a Coke not so much. Good media buzz though.
  • Posted on: 12/18/2017

    Did Netflix cross the data-disclosure line?

    Netflix should have realized that most people watching don’t realize they are being watched. I realize the fact that Netflix suggests shows based on what you watch should have been a clue. However, that could be rationalized as it is for their benefit. Posting their viewing habits, even if meant as a joke, for Netflix’s benefit is crossing the line.
  • Posted on: 12/15/2017

    Best Buy’s gadget rental relationship didn’t get off the ground

    My answer -- small to none. As the article pointed out, the real value to the renter/owner for most gadgets is not the base item but how it is customized to meet the user’s needs. How many people are going to go through all the trials and tribulations of customizing their gadget knowing that they have a short-term relationship?The customization is what turns a gadget into my gadget.

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