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: 02/26/2020

    Will fulfilling third-party vendor orders give Walmart an edge over Amazon?

    Walmart faces two customer challenges. This first is that in order to secure customers for WFS it must be seen as a viable alternative or at a minimum a supplement to Amazon. The second is that is must secure consumers. Failing to do either will mean WFS will be relegated to an also-ran.
  • Posted on: 02/25/2020

    Was Burger King smart to showcase moldy Whoppers?

    The is no question that the moldy Whopper ads drew a lot of attention. It has been reported on most, if not all, of the news channels. The question is, did the ad itself draw attention or did the message behind it? It's not a very scientific poll but, based on people I spoke to, the message was lost in the graphic way the Whopper aged.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2020

    Should grocers just say ‘no’ to big CPG brands when it comes to shelf decisions?

    The underlying issue is, whose store is it? Is it the retailer’s store or simply and outlet for the category captain’s brands? We have always encouraged retailers to take control of their shelves and inventory. The problem in the c-store industry at retail is not slotting fees per se but that the cost of some items is tied to contracts that dictate the amount of space, the number of SKUs and where they are located. This is especially true in the coolers.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2020

    Consumers hate paying for shipping more than just about anything

    What will happen is free shipping will grow faster. What retailers should make happen is grow order online and pick up in-store. The hard thing about pushing that approach is customers are becoming used not only to free shipping but very fast delivery. Tough combination to compete with.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2020

    Why are so many organic grocers landing in bankruptcy court?

    Classic marketing strategy asks, who are your target customers? What are their need states that you are going to fulfill? What is their consideration set to fulfill those needs and what are your points of differentiation? The target customer base may not have been as substantial as anticipated and/or the need for organic foods at the price points offered was not as large. However I believe the underlying issue was the that the point of differentiation dissipated as other food retailers got into the organic game.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2020

    7-Eleven tries out an Amazon Go-like store

    For cashierless checkout to work in a c-store there are legal and other obstacles that will have to be overcome. One is the question of how to handle age restricted items such as nicotine delivery devices and alcoholic beverages. Another is all the rules and regulations regarding fueling. Today there are rules in place that require a cashier to have sight lines to the dispensers and access to an emergency shutoff switch. The systems will also have to be able to handle foodservice items. The final consideration is the cost to implement and maintain the technology.
  • Posted on: 02/06/2020

    Did Barnes & Noble engage in ‘literary blackface’?

    My response would be duh. Did no one bother to check to see that what they said they were doing and what they actually did weren’t the same? As with many things, the concept was great but the execution was poor. For Barnes & Noble to judge a book by its cover was inexcusable.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2020

    Retailers share how they make the most of their trade show visits

    Pre-planning your time is the single best approach. This can include allocating time to attend the seminars and preparing yourself to hit the floor running. You should have predefined goals at every trade show and, if possible, arrange specific times to meet with selected exhibitors.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2020

    Aerie looks to role model ambassadors to drive change

    The ambassadors Aerie has selected are real and should strengthen its brand message. They are representative of a wide cross section of its customer base. With proper messaging, they should be seen as aspirational.
  • Posted on: 02/03/2020

    Is Amazon’s speed killing the competition?

    Speed kills and in this case Amazon’s speed of delivery is killing the competition. The speed of delivery may not be the only advantage of being a Prime member but it is certainly something that makes a member more likely to look to Amazon first once they use it. For many items I would much rather go to the store and see, try on, try, or touch an item than order it from Amazon and run the risk of not liking what I bought, but for known items the one-day delivery is certainly the deciding factor in my selection of Amazon for fulfillment.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2020

    Is hot food the ingredient Amazon Go has been lacking?

    Ken if they want c-stores to adopt this technology they have to prove it can handle hot food and significantly lower the cost. The National Association of Convenience Stores reported the the average sales area for c-stores built in 2018 was 3,422 square feet. The reported cost of the tech hardware in an Amazon Go store is $1 million, which is about 25 percent of the total cost of an average c-store built in 2018.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2020

    Is it ethical for resellers to raise the price of Kobe Bryant merchandise?

    My short answer is no. Retailers should not for many reasons including the fact it makes them look like vultures. However, what has already happened is people are buying at the regular and increased prices and reselling it for an even higher price. Nike definitively should not. The ramifications for its brand image would be terrible.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2020

    Are retailers ready for the coronavirus?

    I agree with Bethany that restaurants and retailers should be making sure that their policies and processes dealing with cleanliness and sanitation are being followed. We have explained to clients that retail clean is not restaurant clean. The standards are often lower due to the nature of the products they sell. The other issue both need to deal with is their staffs. At this time of year employees often come to work when they are not feeling well because it's just a cold or a little bit of the flu. I would encourage all companies to ask their employees if they are not feeling well not to come to work.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2020

    Is Trump declaring war on counterfeits or Amazon and other e-marketplaces?

    Retailers should be applying the old rule – if sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The starting point for this verification process is the cost being offered. The problem with this approach is that the retailer must want to know the goods are counterfeit. In the marketplace world where the site may be used by dishonest retailers, who is to blame? The short answer is: all parties involved.
  • Posted on: 01/22/2020

    Is a ‘hassle cost’ justified in resolving customer service issues?

    While it seems hard to believe in this day of customer focus, I am sure we have all faced this when trying to resolve an issue. For a retailer to deploy this tactic to reduce returns they would have to have done some serious thinking about the value of a customer versus the cost of resolving the issue. Can you imagine being an employee in a conference room working on weighing the elements involved? I would have to ask myself if this a company that I want to work for. For me the answer is no.

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