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: 04/20/2018

    Walmart ditching khakis for jeans in dress code test

    Dave I agree. My first thought was this could make it even harder to identify their employees. We have become a jeans culture. Jeans and a variety of shirts will make the their employees fade into the crowd. Second thought was something I learned a long time ago -- empowerment without educations equals chaos. Unless Walmart is very careful with its definition of what is and is not acceptable upfront (I suggest visual aids), they will find themselves sending people home to change, etc. This could turn what is supposed to be a benefit into a pain.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2018

    Who will fill the retailing void left by Toys ‘R’ Us?

    Toys "R" Us sales will be fragmented across a wide number of retailers. This may benefit the retailers, but not the manufacturers and/or toy customers. Toy "R" Us was a place people looking for toys knew they could find a very large selection of items in one place. With its passing, that is no longer true. Yes, Walmart, Target and a few others may increase their selection of toys, but it will still be just another department and not their reason for being. That is also true for other retailers who now seek to expand their selection or enter the toy market.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2018

    Will electric vehicles prove a bane or a boon for c-stores and energy drinks?

    As others have noted the basis for the article is suspect. Electronic cars are not suddenly replacing gasoline and/or diesel powered vehicles. C-stores have and will continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of their consumers. One of the changes that will lessen any impact on their customers' shopping habits due to the growth of e-vehicles is their evolution to a more restaurant-based format. The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) just released its 2017 metrics. In a press release they stated “Foodservice sales overall in 2017 were $53.3 billion, accounting for 22.5% of in-store sales in 2017 and 33.9% of gross profit dollars.” The category ranked number two as a percentage of overall merchandise sales. The c-store industry's emergence as a place to buy ready-to-eat foods has forced the QSR industry to consider them a competitor for share of stomach. It offers not only food, but a very wide selection of beverage and snacks. My prediction is that the c-store industry will remain a relevant retail force for a long time to come.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2018

    Is product discovery now the biggest pain point for mobile buys?

    Unless you are using phonetab doing product search on a phone is a very frustrating experience. Even then the screen is too small, and trying to enlarge the image of the item means you can’t see the other information, etc. Working on a PC with a large monitor is a far easier experience. AI may be able to makes the searching process easier but I don’t foresee it ever approaching the ease of doing the same search on a PC with a large screen.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2018

    Walmart slows push to add third-party sellers to its online marketplace

    While a few have succeeded at trying to be all things for everybody, for most it is a path to failure. Walmart may have elected to devote more bandwidth to its own brands and/or to determining what is working and not working with the third-party sellers it already has. The one thing that is certain is that it has a rationale for doing what it is doing. Electing not to openly share that with the world is a good business decision although the stock market may not agree.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2018

    Is Walmart building a tower of power with its expanding in-store pickup network?

    Making it easier for customer to do in-store pickup is a plus. My first thought as I started reading the article was that this will be far more convenient that having to traverse the entire store to find the pickup area located about as far from the front door as possible. However, as I read further I found Walmart is still using in-store pickup as an attempt to drive more in-store purchases. While I definitely understand the rationale, the question is, are they risking losing the customers who want to order online and have a very quick and convenient place to pick up their purchases? IMHO this may be a marginally better option than Walmart's current practices but certainly is not a game-changer for them or their customers.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2018

    Can MoviePass help revive America’s malls?

    MoviePass should have a positive impact on traffic for both the malls and their theaters. The questions are, how much and what is it worth? The answers to those questions will determine if MoviePass’ business model is sustainable. Its potential profitability depends on securing a portion of the theater concession sales and possibly from the malls themselves. For the theaters the question is, can they segment the sales for MoviePass users and non-users? If so, I would expect the concept of concession revenue sharing would become more acceptable. For the malls the ability to demonstrate any positive economic impact is far more problematic and doubtful. MoviePass will not reverse tide of movie streaming. The movie industry and, therefore, theaters fortunes are becoming based on a few big blockbusters such as Black Panther which are best seen on a large screen. Most of the rest can be viewed on a large screen at home without the hassles of driving to a theater and spending as much on snacks as on the tickets.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2018

    Retailers push to onboard tech talent

    Retail has never been thought of as having a lot of sizzle -- except for those of us who love it. This is especially true in the technology area. Historically those who were in IT were seen as people to do the bidding of the other more glamorous departments such as marketing. While times have changed, some of that legacy thinking still exists. Today retail is still not seen as very exciting by many, especially those with technology skills. If tech pros were asked if they would rather work for Oracle or Kroger, what do you think the answer would be? I think we all know. Retailers need to covey the complex issues they face to potential candidates. They also must elevate the viability of their tech departments by involving not only the CIO but others by including them in meetings, plans and execution of the business. It goes without saying that this also involves providing a level of compensation that is competitive.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2018

    Should retailers lower expectations around last-mile delivery?

    Consumers may benchmark other retailers against Amazon’s fast and free shipping, but it is difficult for other retailers to match both when they must generate a profit on the sale. Amazon has the unique advantage in that they don’t seem to have to make a profit as a retailer -- yet. As other have suggested, offer the consumers options for delivery times and cost -- letting them select what works for their wallets and need for speed.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2018

    Why are there so many employees in a cashier-less store?

    A cashier-less store does not mean employee-less. It may mean fewer employees and/or a change in their roles. In Amazon Go an employee was required in the wine section to ensure the person was of legal age. In a typical c-store that would also mean someone would have to assigned to handle the sale of tobacco related products. In those that sell gas there has to be someone who can observe that fueling area. The impact on other forms of retail may be greater where there are not laws that govern the sales process.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2018

    Starbucks shifts happy hour to invite-only

    This is Starbucks trying to expand their third-place concept into the evening hours. Lacking a food offer to attract a dinner customer they are trying to do so by offering discounts on their normal fare. For those that are Starbucks advocates this may have an appeal but, as Ian stated, they have other things to do.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    Former Walmart U.S. CEO raises prospect of breaking up Amazon

    Retailers may not like Amazon’s business strategy of using one part of the corporation to subsidize another, but is that terribly different than the use of zone pricing and using the profit from one zone to support another? Other retailers have employed similar strategies of owning non-retail business and using that income to support their retail operations.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    Do men and women still shop differently?

    What the research indicates is that the buying habits of men and women have not changed. What has changed is the technology both employ as a part of the purchase process. Where pre-store comparisons were once based on newspaper ads and catalogs they are now based on electronic devices.
  • Posted on: 03/28/2018

    Are Amazon lockers turning Whole Foods into a quick shop destination?

    Any increase in foot traffic is always welcomed by retailers. Whole Foods is no exception. However, converting micro-visit locker traffic to food shoppers may not be as easy as it sounds. That traffic came to Whole Foods for a very specific reason: to get their Amazon purchases and not to grocery shop. The short time they are in the store is indicative of their single-mindedness of purpose. I would expect the conversion ratio to remain small based on the assumption that much of this traffic had not already been Whole Foods shoppers.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2018

    Customers want to be left alone while shopping

    The survey (rightly or wrongly) indicates retail clerks are like many things in life; they only become important when needed. Ignoring the difference between what people say and what they do, most people would like to shop without interference. The difficult issue for retailers is determining what constitutes interference for each person. Further complicating this is that when assistance is needed is situational. Those buying commonly purchased items may not need or want any help but those but those truly shopping may need a knowledgeable clerk’s guidance.

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