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: 09/28/2016

    Could heat mapping be an equalizer for brick & mortar?

    Data does not equal actionable information. Actionable information is of no value without understanding. Understanding makes you feel good, but is worthless without proper execution. Heat mapping is a data collection tool, and like any tool it has to be properly utilized to have value.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2016

    Can a revamped Office Depot compete with digital?

    I admit that I have been an Office Depot shopper for many years. Initially it was because the internet was not an alternative and since then because I actually enjoy shopping/browsing in a physical environment rather than on a screen. I like trying out a new office chair by sitting on it rather than trying to decided what looks good on a website. That being said, I also buy some items from the web, but not as much as I gather some other commenters do.Will their service approach work? I don’t know. I do agree with Lee that I am not giving up my local IT support shop for Office Depot's new service.As Peter stated, being the last one standing has a benefit. However, time will tell if that will be a sustainable strategy for Office Depot.
  • Posted on: 09/26/2016

    Will Walmart’s ‘restorative justice’ reduce shoplifting?

    The accompanying articles indicate some police departments estimate calls regarding shoplifting at Walmart as being down as much as 40 percent. By that measure the program would seem to have accomplished one of its goals. By reducing the number of calls it may lessen the pressure for Walmart to do more internally to reduce shoplifting.However, one of the links indicates that the Corrective Education Company who are providing the Restorative Justice program to Walmart is being sued for false imprisonment and overcharging alleged shoplifters. It will be interesting to see if in the long run this approach reduces the pressure on Walmart to lower the number of shoplifting calls to police or becomes another publicity disaster.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2016

    Will retailers be treated to a record-setting Halloween?

    As Paula indicated Halloween is a relatively “cheap” date. For the young kids it still has the allure it always did of dressing up and getting candy. Two of young kids’ favorite things to do.For some adults it is a chance to relive a fond childhood memory. For others it is a chance to party. It appeals for those in between for a variety of reasons including collecting candy (at least half the kids we get are what we used to consider too old for trick or treating) or just a another chance to socialize with friends.I don’t see this trend slowing down and expect at least moderate growth in Halloween-related sales.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2016

    Coming soon – a members-only store for the ultra rich

    This follows the list of the press releases that Guess sent out regarding their intentions in the c-store industry. They included the following:
    • Announcement in July that the Guess was seeking to acquire at least 1,000 c-stores in the next 12 months. To date, to my knowledge, they have not acquired any;
    • An August announcement that Guess had hired an architectural firm, which will design the new “upscale” convenience stores;
    • Another August press release with a conceptual drawing of what their new store would look like. The announcement indicated the stores would carry premium quality merchandise;
    • A third August announcement stating Guess had engaged an exclusive real estate broker and had in place a c-level team (none of which had c-store experience);
    • A fourth press release in August that said Guess was seeking “approved operating partners” to actually operate its c-store/fueling locations.
    • In September Guess announced it would open (at select c-store sites) Guess Brad stores with 20 tables per restaurant with only two chairs per table for couples-only dinning.
    After this “interesting” list of announcements, one major c-store trade publication indicated that while they would still run the press releases, they would do so with an editorial disclaimer. Since then, there have been no further announcements regarding Guess’s intentions in the convenience retail/petroleum marketing industry.I believe someone at Guess has been having fun with the trade press regarding the c-store industry and is now doing the same for the club industry.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2016

    Who will win the 2016 Christmas layaway competition?

    As noted 17% of shoppers use this method of purchasing products. That is a significant portion of the population, although I suspect the total of their purchases represents less than the percentage of customers.Layaway is the original enabler purchase methodology. It was replaced for most people with credit cards. However, for some it is still a way to manage their spending and control any debt they may have. I see it continuing to increase until the economy fully recovers and real unemployment or underemployment numbers drop.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2016

    Zappos and Meijer among retailers touting their corporate values

    The short answer is yes. Younger consumers make some, but not all, of their purchasing decisions based on their perceptions of the brand. Incorporating core values and culture in a brand’s marketing exposes them to new customers and reinforces them to existing customers.However, before marketing their corporate culture companies should make sure that values they are touting are truly incorporated into their corporate DNA. If not consumers will quickly see this approach as just another marketing effort.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2016

    Are you ready for Generation Z?

    What amazes the grandparents surprises the parents and is expected by the grandchildren. The rate of change from generation to generation has increased. Grandparents remember the shopping malls being built, the parents remember them adding new stores and growing and the grandkids will remember them being converted from places to shop to venues that were places to go to for entertainment, food and perhaps to pick up something ordered online. Generation Z may remember them as large empty structures.Brick-and-mortar retailers have to find a way to make themselves relevant to this latest generation who grew up in world where they can order almost anything and have it delivered in a couple days or even a couple hours. This means having a strong online presence (including their own site(s), social media, etc.) that relates to their target audience. They will be marketing to a generation that not only wants what then want now, but fully expects to get it.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2016

    Are robo-carts coming to a Walmart near you?

    Self-driving shopping carts cruising the store aisles and parking lot. What could possibly go wrong? Actually the list is fairly long. My expectation is the enthusiasm for this concept will diminish the first time a car and cart collide, regardless of who's at fault.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2016

    Should grocers back away from prepared meals?

    The convenience store industry has long provided a variety of foodservice items to its customers. Today far more are prepared on-site than historically when many of the products were items such as nitrogen-flush sandwiches. NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores) reported in its 2016 State of The Industry (2015 data) that foodservice contributed 20.9 percent of sales and 33.96 percent of the average store’s gross margin. Of this total a growing portion is food prepared on site.Statements have been made that preparing food should be left to those that concentrate on doing so. We have all read about the incidents in the past experienced by Taco Bell and, more recently, about Chipotle. Concentration on foodservice is no guarantee that incidents will not occur. As other have already pointed out, the key is food safety. It has to start at the beginning of the supply chain and be carried out through the sale.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2016

    Target holiday hiring points to changing HR priorities

    I expect seasonal hiring levels for store employees to grow slightly. As David indicated, the race for seasonal employees is on as the labor market has tightened.As evidenced by Target, more of the total seasonal employees will be working either at retailers' warehouses or processing and fulfilling BOPIS orders. This trend will continue to grow as more and more consumers gain comfort with ordering online.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2016

    Is a grocery price war inevitable?

    The typical reaction is to try to generate more dollar margins by growing sales. This only works if your competitors don’t follow suit. Historically that is just the opposite of what happens in the grocery industry.I don’t foresee the industry changing its approach during the current deflationary cycle. The result will be lower profits for everyone until, and unless, some drop out of the race either because they reposition to have pricing be a smaller portion of the retail strategy or fail and go out of business.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2016

    Will new retail associate roles drive Apple’s sales even higher?

    The people in Apple’s retail locations are no different than anyone else in their desire to get recognized for their abilities. Adding the three new senior positions allows them to provide upward movement at the store level.
  • Posted on: 09/02/2016

    Can edible packaging help solve retail’s eco problem?

    Many consumer products require both and external and internal packaging. I can foresee the internal packaging being something that might be accepted. However, I don’t see consumers being willing to consume external packaging that has been subject to all the exposure along the supply chain.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2016

    Has American Girl made a wise move into Toys ‘R’ Us?

    When a customer enters one of the American Girl stores they enter a different world. A world where they are immersed in the American Girl experience. Like many, I know people who when traveling to Chicago make a special trip to the Michigan Avenue store to buy one.When you enter a Toys "R" Us store you enter a large toy store engaged in the mass display and selling of a wide variety of toys. While it is a good store to buy toys, it is nowhere near the same type of experience. True the customer will still walk out the door with an American Girl doll, but the memories of the process will be no different than buying a bike or some other toy. From Mattel’s point of view they will sell more dolls but in the process will have denigrated the brand.

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