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: 10/23/2020

    Can Gap prosper without mall stores?

    In 2005 Paco Underhill wrote the The Call of the Mall: The Geography of Shopping. In 2020 the title might be The Mall is Calling: But No One is Answering. The “A” malls malls might survive but the lesser malls are not likely to. Gap and other retailers need to find alternatives that work for them.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2020

    How crucial is last mile fulfillment to 7-Eleven and the c-store channel?

    One of the issues c-stores face is they typically have 3,500+ items. With that many items creating an app that is convenient for the customer to use is not easy. As you point out someone has to pay the cost of delivery, Either the c-store absorbs it or it has to be tacked on to the cost of the order. The final issue c-stores face is the pirating of their customers by the third-party delivery service. After learning what customers wanted from c-store and the store's pricing, etc. DoorDash opened it own DashMart to compete with c-stores. This is a variation of what Amazon does to its reseller.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2020

    Will Whole Foods draw more Prime shoppers with one-hour curbside pickup?

    My expectation is curbside will convert far more existing Whole Foods customers to that method of getting their order than it will generate new ones.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2020

    COVID-19 Essentials is a startup designed to end with the pandemic

    Many of the items that went mainstream because of COVID-19 are also effective in combating the annual flu. My expectations is masks may not ever be a year-round item but they will become a seasonal item from now on. As Brandon pointed out there are many retailers who have added them and other COVID-19 related PPE items to their standard stock. I would expect COVID-19 Essentials locations will have a short shelf life, at least I hope so.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2020

    Will Lowe’s customers ‘gift’ their homes for the holidays?

    As with others who have commented on the “Gifting the Home” line I believe Lowe's jumped the shark with the tagline. Do I think people will want to do more to make their homes seem like the holidays? Yes, assuming they have the funds to do so.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2020

    Retailers need to prep for in-store COVID conflicts

    I don't disagree with your final sentence about calling security. However for many smaller retailers there is no security person to call. They either can't afford to pay the cost for a trained security person/services or for whatever reason have elected not to do so. In my experience the former is generally the reason. One example would be the 140,000 c-stores, more than half of which are owned by independent operators.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2020

    Will Black Friday be the day customers buy IKEA’s environmental promise?

    We all understand the tie into Black Friday as a counter message to the obvious consumption it represents. I was surprised to read the U.S. was not one of the countries where the program was offered. As a Chicago Tribune article stated perhaps they are waiting for Earth Day to make an announcement that the program is now available in the U.S.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2020

    Macy’s is turning stores dark for the holidays

    The logic behind May’s and others testing using dark stores is very sound. You have an asset that is not making you money. Your choices for what to do with it were far more limited before COVID changed consumers shopping preferences. Today what was an unprofitable store due to be closed may be a mini warehouse that breaks even or makes money.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2020

    Is a new store concept the start of something big(ger) for Aldi?

    The trend towards fresh continues to grow albeit taking a hit when COVID-19 arrived and people wanted to pantry load. The issue for Aldi will be no different than for any other retailer. Can it increase sales and margin more than enough to cover the increased costs associated with operating the larger store? The focus on the success of fresh foods and its associated margins will be the key.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2020

    Has Walmart come up with an answer to Best Buy’s Geek Squad?

    With more people WFH, at home learning, home schooling, and social distancing driving up the sales of PCs, laptops, and tablets and all the peripherals, there is certainly a need for this type of service. Walmart will not only have a price advantage, but a location advantage as well. There are just over a thousand Best Buy locations compared to Walmart’s almost 5,000. The disadvantage is, will people have the same trust factor in Walmart as they do in Best Buy to handle any issues that arise?
  • Posted on: 10/12/2020

    Staples to accept returns from other stores

    Done properly, accepting returns for other retailers can be a positive for Staples. That means the process is easy for the consumer at home and in the store. Staples does not have control of the at home experience but is responsible for what happens at their store. In the store, done right means having a separate area that is easy to find. The location should be staffed full time by employees who have been trained to handle the return process. Generally third-party returns locations are in or towards the rear of the store making customers walk by other products on the way. This setup should result in additional sales for Staples.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2020

    Will a new round of panic buying empty grocery store shelves?

    The good news is that staples have long shelf lives. The bad news is that warehousing items that are not turning requires SKU rationalization as there is only so much space. It also decreases the return on inventory investment. There is no doubt the forecasted second wave will again test supply chains. The only good news is that suppliers and retailers have learned what items are likely to be impacted by panic buying and are already working to prepare for it. I have noticed that there are limits being imposed on purchasing certain items already so perhaps they were never taken off.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2020

    Can one site make men love, not hate, shopping online?

    My take on the difference between men's and women's purchase patterns is that in general: men buy, women shop. Like Gene, when I find something I like I buy more of the brand or, like my Stan Smith tennis shoes, I just keep buying the same brand and style since picking up the game a long time ago.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2020

    New Jersey hops back on the bag ban bandwagon

    Let’s start with the following disclaimer: I have no medical expertise and therefore I am not qualified to discuss the implications of single-use versus multi-use bags during this pandemic. My concern is not the use of single-use bags in general but the lack of locations to recycle them and, if not more importantly, people’s willingness to put in the effort to do so (some we do recycle in our household). Unfortunately, while the former issue can be addressed with reasonable ease, the latter cannot. The only alternative is to ban the use of single-use bags.
  • Posted on: 09/30/2020

    Holiday hiring ain’t what it used to be

    Holiday hiring patterns were based on the shopping habits of customers. As long as customers don’t feel comfortable shopping in stores there will be a smaller need for additional staff to wait on them and more staff needed for BOPIS, curbside, and shipping.

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