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: 02/12/2018

    L.L.Bean ends its famous ‘lifetime replacement’ guarantee

    The key word in the question is “was.” Historically L.L.Bean’s policy was very important as it assured customers they were buying a quality product. Today the brand stands for quality and does not need the forever return policy. A one-year limit is very reasonable policy.It is unfortunate but there will be people who will determine that they can still game the system by using items for nine months and return them and buy replacements and do it again.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2018

    No joke – Walmart asks CPGs for higher priced products

    Walmart's desire to sell higher-priced items is a classic case of the dichotomy between what the retailer would like to sell and what the customer wants to buy. With e-commerce it is exacerbated by the added cost of shipping. Walmart may want to sell higher-ticketed items but that does not mean they won’t offer it at a lower price than their competitors. The question is, how long will it take before potential customers realize those items are available via Walmart.com?
  • Posted on: 02/09/2018

    L.L.Bean wants to know what you’re doing in its duck boots

    Great idea. I appreciate the fact the survey participants are willingly offering to participate. However I would expect that the survey will represent a small sample of their customers. My expectation is that the data contributors will skew younger and more brand loyal that the average L.L. Bean customer. My other expectation is that the number of participants will diminish over time once the novelty of providing data goes from something interesting to being just another thing I am supposed to do.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2018

    Will Office Depot’s BizBox become the go-to place for SMBs?

    Customers understand the value of physical products much better than the understand the value of “services.” When they buy a PC or a pen, they know what they are getting and its value to them. When they are considering a service they do not always understand the value. This often lengthens the sales cycle.This seems to be less true when the service is to fix something such as a PC, phone, etc. Office Depot’s approach allows them to engage with customers in person, which should help them complete the sale. Will it morph in to a service-only business? Perhaps, but not for some time.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2018

    What’s holding retailers back from making workforce investments?

    Many individuals in retail's senior management have been there for some time. They are familiar with what got them there and apparently many believe that what worked in the past will work today and into the future. The world of retailing changed with the advent of e-commerce and the availability of technology as a differentiator. In order to move forward it means investing in people and technology.The article mentions that retailers haven't changed because they haven’t had to. That is true. Retailers may not have had to in the past. Today the choice is clear; make the necessary changes or disappear.
  • Posted on: 02/06/2018

    U.K. group has big plans for U.S. after buying Kroger’s c-stores

    Kroger was one of the few supermarket chains that was able to truly be successful in its c-store business. How? It realized that c-stores and supermarkets may appear to be in the same industry, but they are not. It allowed each of its business units to operate without undue interference from its headquarters. It did begin consolidating some of its back-of-the-house functions to achieve economies of scale, but each unit had its own management team.Will EG Group do the same? Not so sure. They are already on the c-store business but c-store/retail fuel in the UK and Europe is different than here in the U.S. Most retailers who come to this market assume what works there will work here. Sometimes it does, but more often it doesn’t. The real question is will EG listen to its “local” management? If it does, it has secured a significant base to build upon. If it doesn’t, it invested a lot of money with an uncertain ROI.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2018

    Which commercial won the Super Bowl?

    There were more meh ads this year and several that were poor for one reason or another. The one I did stop and rewind so my wife could see it was the Diet Coke ad. I very surprised after all the discussions over the last few years of not using overly thin models that the young lady in the ad looked like a tall version of Twiggy. Perhaps the intention was to use a model that represented their tall thin cans, but the message it conveyed to young women watching was just wrong.
  • Posted on: 02/02/2018

    Is a Super Bowl ad worth $5 million?

    The hype for the commercials is only slightly exceeded by that for the game. In that regard they have an unusually high value. However I do question the impact of allowing sneak peeks at some of them before game day.Are they worth $5 million? Like Mark, I would like to see what the ROI looks like. It certainly would be interesting to be part of the group that is deciding to spend that sum of money for a spot. One likely justification is that the cost of the development of the commercial can be spread over all the other times it is used following the Super Bowl.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2018

    Robots are not the answer to store challenges

    Retailers are looking for a solution to address all the issues involved in operating at retail and robots are the flavor of the month. "It will all get better if we wait long enough and deploy enough technology" seems to be the mantra. Many retailers waiting for robots to be the fix will find themselves out of business.Retailers need to address their issues now. What that fix encompasses will vary but will certainly involve being able to meet the expectation of both the online and in-store shopper.
  • Posted on: 01/26/2018

    What will 7-Eleven do with all its new stores?

    The initial impact of the acquisition will be a reallocation/refocus of management in the integration of these stores into 7-Eleven's system. My expectation is that they will run a separate business unit for a period of time, but 7-Eleven will have to rebrand in order to gain any benefit of its current brand recognition. This means not only re-imagining the stores, but all their back-of-the-house functions. Definitely not a small undertaking. The issue will be, can it accomplish all of the effort required without negatively impacting its current operation?
  • Posted on: 01/25/2018

    Starbucks and Amazon go cashless in Seattle

    You won’t accept my cash; I won’t shop your store. Why? Because I am one of the millions in the U.S. who don’t have a credit card. I like to use cash for smaller purchases so I can control my spending, etc. Cash may not be King, but there are many retailers would be very happy to have you spend it their locations.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2018

    New store concept is next step in Dunkin’ rebranding

    I believe this is more an update than an upmarket move by Dunkin'. It includes moves that others such as Starbucks have already done. Dunkin' is playing catch-up and is wise to do so. Better late than too late.Will it make Dunkin' more competitive? Perhaps. But it certainly doesn’t make Dunkin' less competitive.
  • 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.

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