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: 03/15/2019

    Will Walmart’s new tablet burn into Amazon Fire’s market share?

    A key positive difference between the Walmart’s and Amazon’s tablet will be the ability to see and touch it in their stores rather than just read about it online. A key negative is that Walmart’s current foray into electronics is very limited and it is asking its customer to trust that it has the expertise to produce a comparable product. Amazon has a proven product in its Fire tablets. What the article doesn’t mention is the ONN tablet price. Priced right I see this as a potential winner for Walmart.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2019

    Will customer hosts raise the shopping experience bar at Walmart?

    It appears that customer hosts are a way for customers to return items in addition to the returns desk. If this is true, this should make the process faster. I say should because the staff at the returns desk handle returns as their primary job. This would make them more efficient in managing returns than a person who has to do this along with other duties. Another approach would be to add staff to the returns desk. It would have the same impact and does not require the customer to understand the change in their return process.
  • Posted on: 03/11/2019

    7-Eleven to take a page from Starbucks with a café concept

    The test is not of the Laredo Taco Company brand as it is well-known in Texas, but rather a test of if 7-Eleven can get the concept executed in a franchise environment. It is based on fresh tacos being made to order in the store every day. This requires dedicated labor and the understanding that this is not just another item but a whole new business. The same is true for the café concept. It is one thing to have server-dispensed beverages and quite another to have them made to order and served by the crew. All that being said, this is the direction the c-store industry is headed. You have to give 7-Eleven credit for testing concepts that are on the leading edge of that movement.
  • Posted on: 03/08/2019

    Has Dollar Tree gotten Family Dollar turned around?

    Dollar Tree has figured out a path that may lead to a turnaround of the Family Dollar unit. The combination of steps taken have shown improved results. The bigger questions are can the early results be duplicated across their network and if they do will it result in the evaluation of its Family Dollar stores even approaching what they paid for them.
  • Posted on: 03/05/2019

    Sexy isn’t selling anymore for Victoria’s Secret

    Victoria Secret’s parent company recently came under pressure to split Bath and Body Works and Victoria’s Secret into two companies because of the financial results reported in the article. Victoria’s Secret's issues started with its failure to change its product lines to reflect what the customer wanted. This includes a lower price point. As Ms. Stichter stated changing its position now will not be easy, but neither will a continuing decline in same-stores sales on a shrinking store base.
  • Posted on: 03/04/2019

    Will pairing nail salons with shoe stores be a good fit for DSW?

    Testing these services inside a DSW location would appear to have no downside and based on the early results certainly has a good upside. I applaud their go-slow approach to testing. It minimizes the risk and allows them to see what longer term impact the co-location has on their business.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2019

    How does dynamic pricing affect online purchasing behavior?

    Price shopping online has always been easier than doing it in brick-and-mortar locations. What dynamic pricing does is teach customers that there is another way to do it. Rather than searching many sites for a better price they can search a couple and leave items in their basket and see who offers the best discount. In essence the customer is running their own reverse auction and waiting to see who will offer them the best price.
  • Posted on: 02/22/2019

    Will the ‘c’ in c-stores soon stand for cannabis?

    The short answer is as quickly as the law allows. C-store retailers have been selling age-restricted products since their inception and are very familiar with the process to ensure they don’t violate the statues governing their sale. The real question is, will they be allowed to do so inside of their existing facilities? This is very unlikely, but more likely from a separate facility or an age-limited portion of their existing stores.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2019

    Where did Payless go wrong?

    Not being familiar with Payless stores, I asked my wife about the demise of Payless when the story broke Saturday. Her opinion basically matched Ray’s regarding the stores. They were not a place she wanted to shop for the same reasons he noted. The quality of the shoes had deteriorated to where they were worth less and warranted paying less. That being said she reiterated that she and most of her friends still liked being able to go to a store to see and try on shoes rather than ordering online and possibly playing the "not what I expected and return" game. I concur.
  • Posted on: 02/13/2019

    Can Whole Foods’ business afford higher prices?

    My expectation is those customers who started shopping at Whole Foods after Amazon lowered prices and touted doing so would see this as a bait and switch. The three steps to acquiring new customers is break their existing shopping habit, create a new one with you and then reinforce it. Amazon lowering Whole Foods' prices consisted of taking steps to get new customers and reinforce why existing customers should continue to shop with them. Raising the overall price structure will negate the impact of what they accomplished, and they will revert to being seen as Whole Paycheck again.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2019

    Product and promo knowledge won’t make the sale

    A great starting point is the sales person genuinely likes people and interacting with them. The old mantra of hire for attitude and train for skills is still valid today. Some people come to the job with the ability to recognize the cues being given off by the customers. For many others it takes training and time. Unfortunately, most retailers spend their training time on how to run the POS, handle returns, etc. and not how to read the cues given off by their customers.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2019

    Will AR change how people buy products from eyeglasses to wedding rings?

    AR will work well where size is not an issue. The apps mentioned allow people to try on without having to leave home or buy and try, then return. AR will continue to get better, and retailers will find additional ways to use it.
  • Posted on: 02/06/2019

    Farmstead taps AI to bring grocery prices down

    I agree with Dave that getting customers to order weekly in exchange for a discount is the real winner. When conducting third-party distributor RFP for chains there is no question the impact of other stores along those routes has an impact on the cost basis for the new chain and likely the existing chains the next time their contract comes up. Other factors such as drop size also play a strong part in determining the delivered cost. What Farmstead is doing is working to incorporate all these factors. The real difference is they are doing it for the end consumer rather than a retailer.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2019

    Walgreens tests tech that sort of recognizes you in-store

    My expectation is customer reactions will fall into two groups based on age. The younger customers will think this cool tech and everyone else will have reservations about the use of any facial recognition. If you have to explain what the tech isn’t doing to your customers, then you shouldn't be using the technology.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2019

    Which commercial won Super Bowl LIII?

    Like many I have become accustomed to football games where the action came from the team moving down field and scoring rather than three plays and out. The Super Bowl made a great case for the defensive side of the game but it lacked the excitement we have all become accustomed to. The same could be said for the commercials. I am not sure if we have raised our expectations to a level such that what used to wow us no longer does. Most of the commercials on the game might have been viewed as good to great if they had run any other time. All that being said my vote would be a tie for the NFL 100 Year Game and the Hyundai ads.

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