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.

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b2b Solutions, LLC Web Site

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  • Posted on: 05/29/2020

    Is purposeful giving an answer to retail’s inventory glut?

    As noted in the article there are several benefits of purposeful giving. Lower cost of disposal, creates good will for the brand and helps people in need. Other benefits include maintaining a brand’s pricing position in the market and clearing the way for new seasonal inventory.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2020

    Retailers focus on making safe spaces for customers and associates

    Whatever requirements and procedures the retailer has elected to put in place should be clearly communicated to the customers. This includes on social media, their website, at the entry to their locations and inside the store. It would be great if there were guidelines established by the CDC but every retail location is different. Retailers must take responsibility for ensuring the safety of their employees and customers.
  • Posted on: 05/27/2020

    Is Walmart about to become the king of online resale retailing?

    It might initially sound like an odd couple deal but it brings advantages to both companies. Each has established itself as a place for price conscious customers and with this the arrangement brings value to each company. Walmart get access to brands that otherwise would be not available on its website and does so at price points that will appeal to its existing customer base. thredUP gets access to Walmart’s very large value focused customer base and its customers get free shipping for orders $15 dollars less than thredUP offers with no restocking fee.
  • Posted on: 05/26/2020

    Should Apple and other stores require shopper temperature checks?

    There is a big difference between requiring your employees to have their temperature checked and requiring your customers to do the same thing. I fully understand the rationale and support it. However, while the push back from your employees may be minimal it is likely that won’t be the case from some customers. An example of the customers' reaction might be similar to their reaction to the requirement to wear a mask when shopping in a store. There continue to be many articles about customers who refuse to wear a mask and even become hostile.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2020

    Was the $3.3 billion Walmart spent on Jet.com worth it?

    Did it pay off financially? The answer is determined by how you keep score. Did it as a standalone business makes financial sense? The answer is no. If on the other hand you change the way the returns are measured to include how it helped transform Walmart's business and prepare for the future the answer is definitely yes. That was true even before the pandemic.
  • Posted on: 05/20/2020

    Will face masks be a lifeline for apparel retail?

    Use or toss – is that a real question? There is a need for masks and these, and other companies, have material they have paid for and can’t use for its original purpose so using it for making masks is the logical and right thing to do. Will masks save the companies? Likely not, but it may make people aware of their brand and perhaps let them acquire new customers.
  • Posted on: 05/19/2020

    Wegmans breaks price increase news to its customers

    As I have said many times, the customer's perception is the reality retailers have to deal with. Prior to the arrival of COVID-19 grocery shoppers saw the aisles full of customers and knew how much they spent on grocery and rightly assumed supermarkets had high sales. To them high sales meant good, if not, high profits. They didn’t read the trade press or have investments in the publicly traded companies so they would have no idea of the thin margins supermarkets operate on. Explanations at store level or in the press are likely to have little impact on the consumer acceptance of any price increases. In-store signage can convey the new pricing to the customers. Frankly I doubt they care why the price has gone up, only that it has.
  • Posted on: 05/18/2020

    Would an Uber/Grubhub merger be good for restaurant meal delivery?

    This only makes sense if the underlying economics for food delivery work. There have been many articles written about the companies mentioned losing money and hoping one day that they can do enough volume and/or that there are changes in the model to allow them to make money. This merger could be good for the restaurant delivery business but bad for the restaurants. There have been articles about the cost to the restaurants that utilize third-party delivery services especially if the customer contacts them rather than placing their order with the restaurant directly. An example would be in Chicago where the Mayor got involved and mandated all their receipts list all the fees and other charges. I expect more people will become comfortable with curbside pickup service. I have seen improvements in how this is being handled by the restaurants we patronize, plus it is a chance to get out of the house.
  • Posted on: 05/13/2020

    Is it safer to shop at farmers’ markets than in supermarkets?

    Is one safer than the other? That depends on two factors. One of these is, what is the supermarket or farmers' market doing to provide a safe place to shop? Just as important, or perhaps even more so, what are the customers doing to protect themselves and other shoppers?
  • Posted on: 05/12/2020

    What has made Walmart a shutdown star?

    Other retailers can learn many lessons from Walmart’s response to the pandemic. The real issue is, can they implement them? For many the answer will be no simply because they lack the resources to do so. Those resources include the number of Walmart’s locations and their financial resources. The locations provide a large and well-located number of sites for BOPIS that no other brick-and-mortar retailer can replicate.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2020

    What should retailers do about social distancing renegades?

    Retailers’ staffs are in harm’s way in a manner they have never been before. I agree with all those who agree training is a must but store employees must also be given the tools to back them when it comes to enforcing social distancing. Having the requirement for a customer to have a mask to enter the store posted gives the employees the “right” to ask the person to leave if they refuse. Training can prepare the employees with the manner in which to do so.
  • Posted on: 05/06/2020

    Customers ask Wendy’s, ‘Where’s the beef?’

    Out-of-stocks in retail have never been a good thing. However today people are more willing to tolerate and forgive them because of the pandemic. If you go into a supermarket you see people accepting that their favorite soup or whatever isn’t in stock.They understand the world we live in today and are far less likely to change stores or restaurants on a permanent basis because of an OOS.
  • Posted on: 05/05/2020

    Will free listings elevate Google Shopping?

    Consumers' awareness of Amazon is something that all e-retailers must contend with. An interesting piece of research would be what percentage of consumers were aware that Google Shopping existed. In addition to this effort to secure more retailers, Google will need to undertake an effort to greatly increase awareness of its shopping site.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2020

    Will Walmart’s customers pay $10 more to get deliveries in two hours?

    Walmart was built on having a lower retail price for its merchandise. Having a delivery cost that will range from a total of $17.95 to $19.95 seems outside that model. People may be willing to pay it during this pandemic but once it is over so may be this service.
  • Posted on: 05/01/2020

    There go the profits. Amazon to spend $4B on coronavirus response.

    The money Amazon is spending is an investment in its future. It wants to reinforce its position as the leading e-retailer when the pandemic becomes less of a factor in our lives. To do that it has to keep its employees safe, make sure the most needed items get where they need to be quickly, etc. Like with all retailers there have been some mistakes made but think where we would be if Amazon had not existed during this crisis.

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