PROFILE

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

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  • Posted on: 07/26/2021

    Macy’s should have stayed local

    Cannot speak to the other banners rolled into Macy's but here in Chicago, the Marshall Field’s location were never the same. Could I specifically point out the differences? No, but no one I spoke to about the impact felt the stores were the same. I went from being a great place to shop to being just another department store.
  • Posted on: 07/23/2021

    Will an enhanced rewards program turn Gap’s customers into ‘lifelong loyalists’?

    Gap combining all its brands' loyalty programs into one makes sense for Gap and its customers. It will lower its cost of running the programs and doesn’t require its customer to be a member of multiple programs. It will also increase the likelihood that more of Gap's customers will shop at its other brands.
  • Posted on: 07/22/2021

    Should retailers reconsider bringing their HQ staff back to work?

    Previously the only place for a HQ staff to work was in the office. There were some outliers such as people whose job required them to be on the road or with clients who could go into the office one day a week, for meetings, etc. Then came the pandemic and we learned that with today’s technology, many if not most HQ staff functions could be performed remotely. Going forward I believe some form of hybrid system will be the norm for many headquarters. The delta variant may delay its implementation, but I don’t foresee most companies going back to requiring everyone to work in their offices every day.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2021

    Have indie bookstores found answers to counter Amazon?

    Amazon’s marketshare will continue to outpace its rivals for some time to come. Whether we like it or not it has several key advantages over the indie bookstores. Some of these are a huge selection, pricing policies, and that customers who go there to buy something can easy peruse its book selection while there.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2021

    Can facial recognition outlast its bad press?

    As with any customer facing tech (no pun intended) there are pluses and minuses for both the retailer and the customer. In this case I believe the negatives for the consumer far out weight the pluses. That being said if a consumer knowingly agrees to allow the retailer to use facial recognition that is their choice, but I don’t believe any retailer should assume that all customers are willing to participate.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2021

    Is the Walmart/Justice tie-up a harbinger of more retailer brand partnerships?

    For Justice this is a way to get to brick-and-mortar retail without the cost and time it takes to open stores. The same is true for others. What they gain is a large presence quickly. What they lose control of is actual shopper experience. This is a tradeoff I expect more brands might make after seeing the impact the pandemic had on brick-and-mortar retail. While the brand would lose sales it would not be burdened with the ongoing cost of the stores.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2021

    Walmart exec says robots will seriously speed up DC-to-store supply chain ops

    Walmart’s investment in robots will help it in two labor intensive areas – its DCs and its delivery process. There is a severe commercial driver shortage in the U.S. and making deliveries more efficient may allow Walmart drivers to handle more in the same timeframe.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2021

    7-Eleven expands mobile checkout to thousands of U.S. stores

    7-Eleven's roll-out continues the trend of the c-store industry meeting the changing needs of its customers. The ability for its customer to select how to pay for their purchases will be welcomed by many of its franchisees and their staff and their customers. It will take longer than a year for mobile pay to be table stakes in the c-store given the industry structure. Almost 100,000 of the industry's 150,000 locations are owned or operated by retail companies of one to 10 stores. That segment of the industry will need their technology suppliers to develop customized or white label apps for them to use.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2021

    Can a Tesco exec school Amazon on physical retail?

    Mr. Hoggett brings a wealth of real-world experience at a number of levels in the B&M retail. Two questions will impact his and Amazon’s success. Will Amazon allow him the freedom to make the decisions necessary and can he avoid thinking that U.K. and U.S. retail is the same?
  • Posted on: 07/07/2021

    Has Lego built an unforgettable retail experience for kids and adults?

    My answer is yes, the timing is right. Things may change, but right now people are anxious to get out of their homes and this Lego flagship store with all the experiential offerings it offers can be a destination for the family. Can it work elsewhere? Again, my answer is yes -- but. The but is that this looks like a very expensive site and as such would require significant customer traffic make it profitable. I can see a limited number of similar sites in cities that attract tourists and have a sizeable population within a reasonable driving distance.
  • Posted on: 06/30/2021

    Is fast food going too slow in reopening for dine-in business?

    QSR drive-thrus were the dominant choice for customers before the start of the pandemic. Once they were forced to close their dining areas many, if not most, added curbside. This provided customers with two choices that did not require going into the location and standing in line to order and pay for their food. Customers liked this and so did the QSRs. For restaurants it meant their staff did not have to spend so much time cleaning their dining areas, etc. Customers liked it because they did not have to leave their cars. I do not foresee the QSRs or their customers reverting to in-store dining with a few exceptions.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2021

    Are refillable containers the next big CPG thing?

    Given a choice between an effective recycling program or refillable products, I believe the U.S. consumers would choose recycling. Unfortunately there are several issues with many current recycling programs running including their being poorly run and/or requiring recyclables to be placed in different containers by type. However I believe one of the greatest things that result in recycle programs being less successful than they could be is consumer apathy. If consumers are too lazy to properly recycle then the chances of them embracing refillables is quite low.
  • Posted on: 06/24/2021

    Will chatbots take over as personal shopping assistants?

    My short answer is, please let me talk with a human being. I find chatbots today need to be asked a specific question in order to get the answer to what is being asked. Use the same words in the wrong order and they get confused. One of the first things I try to do is find a phone number for the retailer or other service and call it.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2021

    Forget digital first. Stores first, digital second is the future of luxury retail.

    The importance of the in-store experience certainly varies depending on the retailer. For LVMH selling luxury goods there is no question that it is more important than most. They are catering to a clientele that expects to be treated a certain way in a physical environment that reflects their lifestyle, which cannot be replicated online.
  • Posted on: 06/22/2021

    Does retail have an answer for its jobs problem?

    Basic tenet – if you want good people, you need to treat them good. The definition treating them good has evolved over time and now includes but is not limited to a competitive wage, a regular schedule posted far enough in advance that it offers a chance for them to plan, a non-hostile work environment, and benefits. In many cases this means moving to more full-time positions. In other words: seeing employees as an asset, not an expense.

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