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: 07/11/2018

    Will Amazon team with third-party sellers as a Prime perk?

    The question for retailers is if the potential short-term gains in additional traffic are worth the long-term impact of Amazon using their proprietary customer data base for its own uses. To use an old adage, “if you lie down with a dog you get up with fleas," or in this case the dog walks away with your customers. My answer is no.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2018

    Are shoppers ready to pay to park at the mall?

    There is no question that there are customers who will pay for the privilege of parking close to the mall’s entrances. The fees mentioned are not onerous for many customers. I expect there will be other customers who will see this as a sign that the mall doesn’t want their business and will elect to shop elsewhere whether at another mall or online. I noticed that the article did not include any comment or feedback from the mall’s retailers. Knowing their reaction after the "pay for parking" program had been in place for a while would be informative and help gauge the future of this concept.
  • Posted on: 07/02/2018

    Amazon calls on entrepreneurs to help deliver its packages

    The logic behind Amazon’s new Delivery Service Partner program is very sound. It helps them control the last mile delivery process at a cost they control. I'm not sure that the value is there for the owner-operators of the service or how pleased their customers will be with it. As other have pointed out the process for both parties has lots of details that have to work right to provide the customer service Amazon has provided by UPS, FedEx and USPS. I'm not sure the math was meant reflect this but if a partner operates 40 trucks and can make as much as (interesting choice of words) $300,000 then if you operated one truck would you make $7,500? That's certainly not enough for it to be a full-time position. It will be interesting to see how this works out for all concerned.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2018

    Will Amazon’s PillPack acquisition disrupt the retail pharmacy business?

    PillPack's packaging of pre-sorted prescriptions has become even more popular as our population ages. Its purchase was a great move by Amazon but also a shot across the bow for every chain drug company. There's a lot of talk today in every industry about disruptors. Amazon’s continued entry into new areas makes it the greatest disruptor of all.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2018

    Toy City pop-ups look to fill the gap left by Toys ‘R’ Us

    Opportunity knocked and Party City answered the door. Is the pop up approach a replacement to Toys "R" Us? No, but it should allow Party City to gauge the size of the price. Longer term, the success of this approach will be determined in part based on whether Mr. Storch can resurrect TRU and if so, on what scale.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2018

    QuickChek takes fresh approach to convenience business

    Historically the convenience store/petroleum industry has had a limited number of destination drivers. They included fuel, beer, cigarettes and packaged beverage. C-store companies have learned that there can be a fifth destination driver, if done right, and that is foodservice. The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) reported that foodservice now contributes 22.5 percent of in-store sales and 33.9 percent of gross profit dollars. The industry’s changing emphasis has not gone unnoticed by the QSR industry which now sees c-stores as a legitimate threat to their business. This is evidenced by their focus on the thirst occasion as shown by McDonald's coffee and fountain drink standalone promotions. QuickChek has always been a great c-store chain but it is not alone with its attention to foodservice. Others included Wawa, Sheetz, Rutter's, QuikTrip and many other lesser known brands. All have realized that foodservice is a key component of the industry’s future.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2018

    Analyst: Prime perk could eventually double customers at Whole Foods

    Whole Foods may or may not still be seen as Whole Paycheck by most customers, but it is still higher priced than most of its competition. Being an Amazon Prime member has lowered the price point for its members but in doing so has moved Whole Foods closer to a club model than a traditional grocery store.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2018

    Dollar General pilots scan & go tech

    Scan & go has many of benefits of self-checkout and some of the same negatives. Customers are more likely to use it if they have a few items than when they have a basket full. This can be a benefit for both groups as it can shorten checkout lines and speed up the payment process for everyone. Bottom line there is no downside for Dollar General or their customers other than what Art mentioned.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2018

    To catch a Walmart return thief

    He just became the face of this type of crime. I expect that other retailers will use his image and story and ask their teams, do we have any of these? And how do we stop them? He made it harder to be identified by using his scheme across 1,000 locations. The only good news is that it is likely that the majority of people who engage in this type of activity don’t do it at this kind of scale. He was caught not by technology but by alert employees. I agree with Dave that technology could have been utilized but well-trained employees will always play a role in preventing this type of fraud.
  • Posted on: 06/18/2018

    Microsoft exploring checkout-less technologies

    Other options for this technology will be welcomed for all the reasons that have been noted. IMHO Amazon Go is, and will remain, a test concept. As it exists today it is not something that Amazon will be rolling out across the country. Nor is it ready for prime time as a product or service for Amazon to sell or lease to other retailers. Unless there is a major breakthrough in cost and/or technology it will be years before it’s more than a test. To be widely adopted it needs to prove it can work in larger formats, with more SKUs and a lower per-square foot cost.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2018

    Sam’s to open small concept focused on tech, fresh and grab-and-go foods

    This smaller format approach appears to be in direct conflict with the club business model. Sam’s, Costco and BJ’s build their business on collecting membership fees and generating high per-location sales volumes based on a large variety of products at lower per-unit prices. They were designed to draw customers from longer distances than traditional retailers. As others have noted this may be a learning lab to see if they can find a way to penetrate smaller markets or enter markets where finding the large lots their traditional format requires is not possible. I noted the announcement didn’t mention the site offering fuel. The lower cost of fuel has been a larger draw for club stores and is the reason some members join. It also has proven to drive trips as most consumers still fill up their vehicles once a week.
  • Posted on: 06/13/2018

    Will IHOP’s burger buzz translate into sales?

    What the campaign did is create additional awareness of IHOP. There was a wealth of articles, news reports, etc. that showed most people didn’t know what IHOP meant. They may still not know but the brand got publicity far beyond the cost of the campaign as evidenced by its being a topic for today’s discussions. Will it help them sell more burgers? That is yet to be determined.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2018

    Are chronic online returners only a few bad apples?

    Agreed. Who can blame someone who practices if it don’t fit, return it philosophy. Unfortunately, clothing, shoes, etc. manufacturer sizes may say they are the same but may not be or fit the same. This appears to be truer in women’s wear then men’s. In a B&M store there is a fitting room where someone can try different sizes. At home there is not. It should be no surprise that the return rates are significantly higher for DTC.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2018

    Too many meetings and reports undercut promos

    I agree. Regarding meetings -- when I worked for a major corporation, one of the oft heard statements was, meetings are up -- business is down.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2018

    Neiman Marcus results show the latest sign of department store life

    I agree with Paula about waiting to see if these sales are sustainable. Something to remember is, as there are fewer department stores, those shoppers who like shopping in them have fewer choices. The three mentioned in the article serve three different consumers and are some of the few left for each segment.

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