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: 05/12/2021

    Will going low lift up Bed Bath & Beyond’s sales and profits?

    Price does matter. When we talk about the importance of the customer’s experience we should not forget that price is an element of that experience. Bed, Bath, & Beyond’s recognition that a larger portion of its potential customers find its price points too high is a smart. It is even smarter for them to do something about it. The addition of these items allows its stores to compete with others with similar items at lower price points.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2021

    Can associate dress codes support in-store social distancing?

    I'm not sure, but I also thought it was unusual wording.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2021

    Can associate dress codes support in-store social distancing?

    What does formally dressed mean in a non-professional setting? Does a store uniform count if it is tan pants and a red shirt at a Target or a blue polo at Best Buy? I agree being approached by someone identified as a member of the store staff would make someone more comfortable than a person who is not identified as store staff. I also agree that if the person is wearing a mask the customer is more likely to be comfortable, but I draw the line at having to decode whether the store staff is more comfortable interacting with me at 12 or nine feet away.
  • Posted on: 05/06/2021

    Will a new subscription program make Circle K a daily stop for members?

    When Circle K purchased Stat Oil's retail assets, there was a successful annual subscription plan, although based on the IT cost, I doubt it was profitable on a standalone basis. Now sure, this one isn't either, but the KPI here is what it does to trips and their research based on the test indicates it has a dramatic impact making it a wining program. It also may get them off the one-price-for-all drink size competition that occurs every summer in the c-store industry. Would not be surprised to see other c-store retailers add a drink subscription program to their marketing.
  • Posted on: 05/05/2021

    Remote work is rough on big retail districts

    The equation is simple – less foot traffic equals less sales. Retailers dependent on foot traffic from office workers will have a difficult time recovering from the pandemic as long as the companies in the business district don’t require workers to return to their offices. Those located near businesses that embrace a hybrid schedule will likely see some of their business customers return on the days they are in the office.
  • Posted on: 05/03/2021

    DoorDash tries tiered commission structure to deal with restaurants’ complaints

    The winner in this tiered approach is DoorDash. All they have done is changed the formula to give them the same or possibly higher revenue by either lowering their cost or moving more of their revenue source from the restaurant to the customer.
  • Posted on: 04/30/2021

    Should retailers welcome vaccine passports?

    I understand the issue and potential requirement for travel across international borders. The issue will become one of reciprocity. You honor our vaccine passport and we will honor yours. However this will require that a system be in place to ensure the passports are valid. The same is true for states that require them for certain purposes. Requiring one for entry into a retail store or to be able to eat in a restaurant is another matter. The pandemic has changed how customers shop. It also has taught us that we don’t have to go into a restaurant to get their food or a store to buy their goods. For many of those who for whatever reason don’t want to get the vaccine they can continue to order delivery, pick up curbside, or order food online. Will requiring one act as an incentive to get the vaccine? For some the answer is yes but for many others it will be no.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2021

    Will retailers be rewarded for giving ex-cons a second chance?

    It is said everyone deserves a second chance. As the article points out, not everyone gets that chance. The company will get some benefits, but the greatest benefit accrues to the person they hire. They get a second chance at having a good life. A job makes a person feel valued, which is something everyone wants. Society benefits from having another productive person and the business benefits from having an employee who is truly thankful for having a job. This will likely result in increasing their loyalty to the company.
  • Posted on: 04/28/2021

    Do five-star ratings systems have a ‘positivity’ problem?

    I have more faith in the overall ratings if they are negative than if they are positive. I look at the ratings system as similar to what people say when the restaurant manager comes to the table and asks, how is your meal? "Good" is likely the response unless it is really not good because few people are willing to say it is just OK. I agree with Gene that if it has not received at least a 3.9 (fair) rating then it is probably not something I would buy.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2021

    Vaccinated Americans like getting retail thank you freebies

    Free has always been a great motivation for consumers to take action. For many their mantra was and still is, “if it's free, it's for me.” In this case the action taken is beneficial to the consumer and has long term benefits for Krispy Kreme in getting people comfortable in being back in their and other’s locations I believe if you are going to offer something as an incentive, it has to be something people want. Krispy Kreme did just that.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2021

    Will stock ownership work as a loyalty program perk?

    There are several reasons I don’t see this as being a winner. Cash has a known value and universal appeal. The amount the customer gets back may not be much depending on the value of the customer’s spend but they know and understand cash. Fractional share value may go up and may go down. To accumulate a few shares or even a single share will take time and fractional shares have no value on the open market. Add to this that to be able to sell it on the market you need to have an account.
  • Posted on: 04/19/2021

    Will American consumers push back against higher grocery prices?

    Retailers will try follow the traditional game plan of cutting cost where they can, SKU rationalization and trying to avoid raising prices on KVIs. The challenge will be that cost cutting will be hampered by increased wages coupled by changing consumer purchase habits that require additional labor on the part of the retailer. All of this will be taking place in an environment where the economic recovery has bypassed far too many people. I expect it will be a very difficult year.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2021

    Why are McDonald’s restaurants leaving Walmart stores?

    In the retail and QSR industries it was always about location, location, location. The rationale was simple. Location was a significant determinant for most retailers’ sales. Long before the pandemic, McDonald's learned that its customers were switching to a drive-thru purchase pattern rather than coming in for a sit-down meal. This combined with the impact of the changes in purchase patterns for Walmart caused by the pandemic doomed their stores inside most Walmarts.
  • Posted on: 04/07/2021

    Amazon goes shopping at the mall

    Converting underperforming malls to fulfillment centers has several advantages. They have the square footage needed, parking space for a truck fleet and are located in populated areas making many of their future deliveries local. The issue this process faces is that no one wants to live near a fulfillment center with the truck traffic and 24-hour operation they bring. I expect the trend will continue but, in each case, there will be strong local opposition.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2021

    Should Amazon open clearance stores?

    Dick, I remember when I first entered the business being told a similar phase -- the first cut is the kindest. Came in very handy when we took over a 700 store chain that was loaded with merchandise that none of the suppliers wanted back. We drastically reduced the prices and advertised the daylights out of it and very soon we had locations that had fresh merchandise the customers actually wanted to buy.

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