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: 11/16/2018

    RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Best Buy

    Best Buy's ads are a more direct: "here is what we can do for you and those you are buying for." The Amazon ad doesn’t feature any specific gifts but focuses on the emotions of giving and receiving gifts. Its ad was more entertaining to watch and certainly to listen to. I'm not sure how you take a one and a half minute ad and trim it to the typical 30 second for TV. Both ads should appeal to their core customers. I believe the Best Buy ad will appeal to new customers because it illustrates how the human touch can assist shoppers in selecting the right gifts. For that reason my vote goes to Best Buy.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2018

    I don’t like Amazon as much as I did last week

    The Amazon horserace contest came down to a "Tale of Two Cites." Both of which committed more in support that the now split investment the company is going to make in either. Given Jeff Bezos newspaper ownership and a home in the area, the DC area should not be a surprise to any of the cities not selected. What was a surprise to all if the split in two that Amazon knew it was going to do for some time, but didn’t announce until it had finalized the winners. The losers in this horse race should but likely won’t learn that chasing a project such as this will always result in more losers than winners. In some cases, like this one, the winner finds the prize they won was not what they were promised or envisioned. Will that stop them from chasing others in the future? Likely not.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2018

    Is 7-Eleven using ICE to get rid of troublesome franchisees?

    Given the events and publicity that surrounded the Farrukh Baig scandal in 2010 7-Eleven might have had some right to be concerned that some franchises were employing illegal immigrants or otherwise violating labor laws. This may have prodded them to be more proactive in this regard. However, if it used those efforts to target franchisees who had sued them or protested their policies it is certainly a violation of the trust element in a franchisor/franchisee relationship.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2018

    Do grocery stores have a customer engagement problem?

    Customers don’t want products; they want solutions. Traditional grocery stores have always been about item/price. The meal solution was up to the customer to determine. Today there is the added success elements of engagement and healthy. The question for retailers is how much engagement they want, and it varies significantly by customer. I like to go in, get what we need and get out. I am not looking for engagement. However, others I talk to and see shopping not only enjoy engagement, they expect it. Other need to learn more about how to prepare healthier meals and are seeking guidance from various sources including their grocery store. Some store are prepared to offer assistance and others are not. Customers expectations have and will continue to change. Determining how to meet these changes will determine the winners and losers in the grocery industry.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2018

    Why do Millennials love private label groceries so much?

    Two drivers of private label products' appeal to Millennials are price and brand perception. As noted in the article they are to young to remember the quality perception of the white-label generic items. They are also too young to remember the power branded items held on the grocery marketplace. I started in the supermarket industry as a part time clerk in 1962. There was no question in the shoppers in our store's mind that private label was of a lesser quality. How else could they cost less? I remember my surprise as a food distribution student when we visited several plants and I saw the in many cases the only difference in the products was the can or jar they were to be packed in. Today retailers know that if they want their private label items to resonate with customers they have to put the same type of effort into their brands as do the CPG companies. Many have.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2018

    Why are Wall Street analysts so irked over Apple’s reporting changes?

    That the change does help Apple move the focus from its iPhone unit sales to its overall revenue is true. However, it also allows the company to disguise the impact that the ever increasing retail of its phones has on any decline in unit sales or unit sales growth. In my opinion the reason Apple had previously focused on iPhone unit sales as a key metric was that they had historically risen year after year and indicated their phones’ dominance in the smartphone market. With other brands building better and better products the public’s perceived distance with iPhones and other brands has declined at the same time the replacement rate of phones has slowed.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2018

    CVS’ new concept is about the health of its customers

    By incorporating the new/additional healthcare services into its existing stores CVS creates a stronger destination position. The caveat is the space required has to come from somewhere. This would likely mean less space devoted to c-store type items rather than the over-the-counter products. The result would be a location that is entirely or almost entirely developed to healthcare services and products with perhaps a little space left over for a highly curated selection of other items.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2018

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Kohl’s vs. Macy’s

    The Macy’s ad did one thing we have come to expect from Christmas commercials -- it was a feel good ad. However, it will do nothing for the brand (which was not mentioned) or sales. The Kohl's ad gets my vote with one reservation. Christmas is supposed to be about giving not getting.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2018

    Consumers say online recommendations are the worst

    To deliver personalized recommendations, retailers have to know a great deal about that customer and the objective of the current shopping occasion. I'm not sure how many customers want to share enough data to make that happen in the nanoseconds that recommendations are calculated and populated on the screen.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2018

    Will Goodyear roll over rivals with new Millennial-friendly showroom concept?

    As others have pointed out the new Roll concept has many positive attributes. However, that photo indicates a nice but apparently fairly small showroom. For those that don‘t elect to wait for their vehicle shopping elsewhere there appears to be few places to sit, no TV to watch, no coffee, etc. Hopefully that is a mock up rather than a real showroom otherwise it sends a message, "we really don’t plan on you staying here -- find a place to go while we change you tires."
  • Posted on: 10/22/2018

    Stores rarely ID customers before they check out

    The customer’s interest in being identified certainly varies by individual, by the value proposition for doing so and by what type of retailer they are at. The same is true for the retailer. There may be a great value in a retailer that sells clothing knowing about the customer who just walked in the door but far less for a supermarket. I emphatically agree with Neil that using technology to ID a customer has to be consensual, i.e., done via an opt in process.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2018

    Why is Burger King offering nightmares to go with its new sandwich?

    Define successful. If successful is getting people to talk about that crazy sandwich at Burger King, the campaign is already successful. The scary theme of the sandwich fits right into this time of year with Halloween right around the corner. If success is getting large number of customers to buy this specific sandwich time will tell. However, I can see this appealing to teenagers, especially teenage boys.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2018

    New c-store concept is high-tech inside and out

    There is a dangerous difference between leading edge and bleeding edge. The Choice Market concept is far closer to the bleeding edge than the leading edge. The average c-store customer is in and out of the store in three minutes or less. True having to wait for their vehicle to charge will lengthen this time but a 2,700 square foot location does not offer much space for sit down dining. Nor does it offer the room to have the selections of natural foods of Mr. Varsames' previous employers. Can it work? Possibly but only in select markets and neighborhoods within those markets such as the dense part of Denver described in the article.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2018

    Walmart and Advance Auto Parts join forces online

    It’s a triple. A win for Walmart, which get access to Advance Auto Parts' knowledge and after market parts without having to acquire the company; Advance's access to Walmart's customer base; and customers get the broader selection of parts and the services that offers.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2018

    Will anything change for Sears after Chapter 11?

    I agree with Paula. This is a tragedy. The beginning of the end was when Mr. Lampert elected to run the company rather than simply manage his investment in it. He fell victim to his own ego and it has taken what was an iconic business down to a point that it will not recover from. The rationale for Chapter 11 is it provides time to monetize the remaining Sear brands before shuttering the doors for good. It will be interesting to see if Sears sell off its brands to companies controlled by Lampert.

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